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Hey ESPN, while you’re issuing apologies...

January 9, 2013

Like always, this week has been one of highs and lows for the world of sports.
Highest on the list in Mississippi would be Ole Miss, which is coming off a Compass Bowl victory in head coach Hugh Freeze’s first season with the Rebels.
At the very top of the national list is Alabama, which reclaimed its rightful spot atop national polls after demolishing Notre Dame in the BCS Title game on Monday night.
I realize there is a weekend of NFL playoffs ahead, but the college season’s end, the voting in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame and ESPN force me to pen this mid-week analysis of the sporting world.
ESPN, by far, represents the lowest of the lows for sports this week.
It has little to do with announcer Brent Musburger’s much understood moment of boredom during Monday night’s title game where he commented on Alabama Quarterback A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend Katherine Webb’s beauty. However, that incident does play a role in my rant.
On Tuesday, ESPN apologized for Musburger’s comments, telling Webb that he “went too far.”
Webb doesn’t seem the least bit fazed by the comments, other than the tens of thousands of additional twitter followers the incident has gotten her in the past 72 hours.
Instead of asking “how dare ESPN call a woman beautiful on national television?,” football fans should be asking the network “why on Earth was the camera pointed in the direction of a member of the crowd long enough to make such a comment?”
Here’s your answer.
The game was so boring by the end of the first quarter that the ESPN announcers were looking for anything, attractive or not, to point the camera at to take their attention off of the debacle that was transpiring on the field.
I don’t know much about the dozen teams Notre Dame “played” before hooking up with Alabama, but there must not have been too much to the offenses of those schools.
Notre Dame defenders looked as if they were used to players falling after a mere two-handed touch on the calf as the runner made his way by with the football.
Perhaps Notre Dame played a dozen highly-ranked high school teams this year. I don’t really know, but after seeing that game I can tell you that there is definitely something rank with the ranking system in college football.
Instead of issuing apologies to the beauty queen, ESPN should be apologizing to the nation for subjecting audience members to the most lopsided and uncompetitive 60 minutes of football in the history of title games.
The fact that Notre Dame even appeared in the same Top 10 standings as Alabama was absurd enough, but ESPN’s actions during the game were even worse.
By panning the audience for celebrities in the first half, ESPN all but admitted the mistake had been made.
ESPN should apologize to the game’s sponsors who all lost money after fans tuned out at halftime. They should apologize to Webb’s other half, McCarron who played a great season and a great game that will be marred for years with the statements from nay-sayers like, “I wonder how he would have competed against a real team.”
Alabama and Nick Saban are owed an apology for the unnecessary time, physical conditioning and heartache they put into preparing for the game.
They could have all put on an additional 20 pounds during Christmas and still could have outdone any of Notre Dame’s defenders.
I realize that ESPN is not completely at fault here.
The polls and the ranking systems are done separate of the network, but it is the network that insisted upon profiting from this sham, so it must take the heat.
ESPN should be filling its web space with calls to reform the ranking system to eliminate the obvious bias which kept more competitive teams out of the BCS Title Game.
Instead, we must hear about Miss Webb.
I can almost understand this seeing as how she played a bigger role in the game than any of Notre Dame’s players, but ESPN chooses to continue in legitimizing the flawed ranking system which led to the original camera spin away from McCarron on the field to his girlfriend and mother in the stands.
It was also no surprise this week that ESPN “analysts” were drooling at the chance to vote Major League Baseball’s most scandalized players into the Hall of Fame.
Roger Clemons, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire were all up this year, and we got to hear all about how they were “the greatest players to ever play their positions, no matter the PEDs. So they deserve Hall consideration.”
ESPN self-righteously publishes every name that is leaked from the infamous list of 2003 positive steroid tests, but when it comes time for the HOF, they are so quick to forget the betrayal to the fans and begin championing for disgraced and unapologetic players like Clemons and Sosa.
Much to the network’s disdain, no players were elected to the HOF in 2013, leaving ESPN with nothing to do but resort to victimizing the cheaters by claiming they were “denied” the HOF.
ESPN thinks that the HOF should lower its standards in order to allow steroid users into the exclusive club. This is the same network that reveled in Notre Dame’s No. 1 ranking prior to Monday.
The NHL Players Union and the owners of that sport seem to have reached an agreement that will result in some sort of season. The NBA looks like it might have a Lakerless playoffs in 2013, and the Super Bowl has yet to be played.
If you don’t feel like ESPN owes you a personal apology this week, you’ll likely be asking for one soon enough.

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