The 2014 college football season was abound with accusations of heavy pro-SEC bias on behalf of the self-proclaimed worldwide sports entertainment leader, ESPN. While our site was one of the first to point out this dastardly conflict of sports media interest, originally prior to the 2013 season, multiple other courageous second level sports media publications, including Rolling Stone Magazine, got on board last season and joined us in our quest to spread the truth [Source: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/the-worldwide-cheerleader-espn-and-the-college-football-playoff-20141028]. Despite all the corruption that we believe still exists within the tyrannical ESPN Empire, our quest to expose the truth has clearly rattled some nerves in their upper brass and major changes are being made in what could be an attempt to improve their public perception at the college football coverage level.
Much of this change may have had its primary trigger last October when ESPN’s top College Gameday broadcaster, Chris Fowler, went on a madman’s rant defending ESPN coverage of the SEC and downplaying any SEC bias, calling non-SEC fans “stupid and uninformed” for their opinion. [Source: http://bloguin.com/thestudentsection/uncategorized/chris-fowler-in-the-crosshairs-what-his-sec-rant-says-about-espn-and-college-football.html] It is clear that his rant was inspired by the growing public and social media unrest in non-SEC football fans, the voices of an uprising whose flames were being fanned by our own truth soldiers here at SEC Exposed. However, Fowler’s rant had the opposite of its intended effect. What Fowler may not have realized is that despite the ardent social media protests of so much of the non-SEC fan base, it was still a small percentage of college football followers who acknowledged or much less understood the SEC bias that was happening on a daily basis on that network. By angrily denying the presence of bias, Fowler inadvertently confirmed it. For the first time ever, many viewers outside of the deep South were starting to look differently at the constant praise of a vastly overrated conference and questioning ESPN’s motives. Despite weeks of damage control following Fowler’s rant, including other pandering broadcasters sticking up for his comments and releasing statements defending Fowler’s viewpoint, the damage had been done. And for the first time ever, our message was being validated.
Meanwhile, viewers could sense the weekly tension in Chris Fowler’s broadcasts, as his tone became more noticeably bitter as the season wore on, particularly after weekends where SEC top tier teams began to show their truly overrated colors. Unconfirmed reports even surfaced on twitter in November that witnesses allegedly saw Fowler go on a profanity-laced tirade aimed at Florida State fans following the FSU-UM game at a local Miami establishment. While that rumor may or may not have had any legitimacy to it, it was becoming increasingly clear that Fowler was taking the SEC media assault personally and his reputation was beginning to take a beating as a result.
It was clear that ESPN executives had seen enough. In February of this year, ESPN announced Chris Fowler would no longer be heading up College Gameday, as they were replacing him with Rece Davis. Of course while this abrupt move (made while Fowler was on vacation and not even immediately available for comment or so much as allowed to be the first to announce his official “goodbye”) was being portrayed as the plan all along by both ESPN brass and ultimately also by Fowler, those of us following the drama this past season knew better. It was one of many recent moves by ESPN to attain damage control. But it leads to the question… was Fowler vehemently defending the SEC all season by order of his superiors who were trying to protect their heavy financial investment in the SEC, or was he really all along doing this of his own accord in a personal state of paranoia and bipolar mania? In other words, is Fowler a emotionally imbalanced shill that drank too much of his own Kool-Aid over the past ten years, or did ESPN brass throw him under the bus to save face when all he was doing was following orders? It is a question that may never be answered. And we don’t expect Fowler to ever tell us. In an industry monopolized almost exclusively by one network, you won’t find too many sports commentators publicly biting the hands that feed them, lest they desire the unemployment line.
ESPN hasn’t stopped at Chris Fowler in their moves to fix public perception disarray. Former Notre Dame coach and evolved SEC chanter Lou Holtz departed ESPN by a “mutual agreement.”, and just this past week Mark May was demoted from ESPN’s College Football Final show and replaced with two analysts who probably are the least likely to ever become SEC shills: Joey Galloway (Ohio State grad) and Danny Kanell (Florida State grad). [Source: http://www.elevenwarriors.com/college-football/2015/06/54231/joey-galloway-one-of-three-analysts-to-replace-mark-may-on-espns-college-football-final] Of course, this move doesn’t guarantee anything, as there have been several ESPN analysts with non-SEC roots who have been more than willing to get on board the SEC-pumping bandwagon. But still this may have been the most substantial move ever made by the pro-SEC network to bring in more impartial analysts for their college football broadcasts, which in recent years have been dominated by endlessly SEC hyping drones. The move of course was being blasted all week by SEC fans on social media. Impartiality is not something that helps the undeserved overhype of the SEC and they want no part of it on their homered up network.
We suspect these recent moves on College Gameday and the College Football Final show are merely ESPN brass’ way of making things APPEAR more fair. It will likely make the televised analyses more bearable, this much we hope. It might be nice to see Ohio State win big games without being proclaimed as “SEC-like” in their speed; or to see Arizona shut down opponents without being lauded as a team with an “SEC-like” defense; or to see a few less pandering morons argue which 3 or 4 SEC teams should go into the final four team national championship playoff every week; or to get through an episode of College Gameday without analysts making 20 minute long prosecutorial arguments and cover-up conspiracies on behalf of unsubstantiated rape accusations in a desperate attempt to make the nation hate a team that keeps out-recruiting the SEC (Florida State).
But will ESPN actually just suddenly “break impartial” in their broadcasting morals? We find that hard to believe. There is no way ESPN will allow the SEC slide into mediocrity to continue without a fight, not when they have billions of dollars invested in that conference’s success and all the podium power to continue shaping public perception. This is especially clear when considering how much money that ESPN may already be LOSING (and will continue to lose if the SEC cannot get their top teams back to the pinnacle of college football) in the past year since their SEC investment, as reported here by the NY Times last month: “Rising costs at ESPN reduced operating income at Disney’s cable networks division by 9 percent in the company’s second quarter. Higher programming and production costs were connected to college football, including the introduction of the SEC Network … “ [Source: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/05/13/business/media/bill-simmons-absent-from-espns-upfront-presentation.html?referrer=]
We suspect ESPN will continue their pro-SEC campaigning. But by somewhat watering down the broadcast bias, they are likely hoping to silence the critics and win back some viewers. What they won’t stop doing, like sending their private “investigators” city by city trying to dig up criminal dirt on every rising non-SEC power (while continuing to fail to report the handfuls of crimes and arrests of SEC players occurring literally every month), might be a little less transparent to the everyday college football fan. Folks at Notre Dame are well aware of what we are referring to here…
Earlier this year ESPN sued Notre Dame for preventing their “investigators” from digging through University police records looking for dirt on Irish football players. ESPN has been carrying on that practice for quite some time apparently, but not surprisingly they have only been doing it at top programs who threatened SEC dominance, like FSU. They had not run into any opposition until they arrived at the doorstep of Notre Dame, a team that of late has resumed once again to playing among the big dogs and more recently is fresh off a bowl win over SEC West darling LSU. When Notre Dame refused ESPN access to their police records to try to dig for dirt on Irish players, ESPN sued. Fortunately in this case the judge ruled in favor of Notre Dame, stating that ESPN does NOT have such a right and that these police records are “private.” [Source: http://www.splc.org/article/2015/04/notre-dame-police-records-are-private-judge-rules-in-espn-lawsuit] While this story did gain some national sports media attention (except of course by ESPN itself, who seems more interested lately in BEING the story than reporting it), what most folks don’t realize is that these investigators are trolling nearly every non-SEC powerhouse program desperately trying to find bad press. Not ironically, reports come out nearly every week of SEC player arrests with nary a peep from ESPN. And as has been pointed out previously on our site, part of ESPN’s contract with the SEC Network calls for limited coverage of negative SEC exposure, which explains exactly why ESPN will not “dig” for SEC player dirt and simply won’t report their major off the field league problems EVER. [Source: http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2013-05-07/sec-network-espn-bias-ownership-derrick-thomas-manziel-stoops] This speaks volumes as to ESPN’s motives, and begs the question of how fine the line truly is between simple sports reporting bias and actual criminal conspiratorial slander meant to disenfranchise entire college football programs for the benefit of the SEC’s elite? And at what point the Feds should be paying attention to ESPN’s actions? Are United States Anti-Trust laws being violated by ESPN? Would the Feds be willing to take on sports media collusion and potential college sports tampering as eagerly as they were willing to tackle FIFA corruption?
ESPN’s position has had numerous college football programs outside of the SEC deeply concerned, but only in recent years have their coaches finally chosen to speak up. When Bob Stoops called out the overrated SEC several years ago, the gasps could be heard from coast to coast. But now more coaches are willing, despite the threats of ESPN investigative retaliation, to step up to say enough IS enough! Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pellini last season remarked on ESPN’s ownership of the SEC Network and their heavy investment in the success of the SEC: “I don’t think that kind of relationship is good for college football. That’s just my opinion. Anytime you have a relationship with somebody, you have a partnership, you are supposed to be neutral. It’s pretty hard to stay neutral in that situation.” [Source: http://regressing.deadspin.com/the-sec-really-does-benefit-from-media-bias-in-polls-1652415873]
To put those sentiments into a non-sports perspective, let’s take a look at news broadcasting. Everyone knows that political bias exists in the network news broadcasting world. MSNBC is known for being far too left leaning. FoxNews is known for being far too right leaning. News agencies are constantly selective as to what they want to report and how much of it in order to push their own internal political agendas. However, there is one fact that makes the ESPN situation far more egregious than the political bias seen between news agencies… ESPN has a practical monopoly over the sports entertainment world! Their affiliation with ABC and their ownership by the mega-billion dollar corporation Disney only adds to the imperialistic potential as a company with too much control over not only the sports entertainment business, but now even over the sports outcomes themselves! Coupling this with their tight affiliation with the newly formed “College Football Playoff Committee,” a committee who tried desperately until the last poll of the season to put 2-3 SEC teams in the 4 team playoff (and would’ve succeeded were it not for the ACC’s elbow-drop on the SEC East in the final week and the Mississippi frauds stumbling over each other), it becomes clear that ESPN could arguably be the most dangerous and disruptive entity in all of college sports… even more dangerous than the infamous SEC “Bagman”!
Some may argue “who cares if ESPN has bias toward the SEC, this doesn’t win games for the SEC!” This is clearly a short-sighted argument though. For the one network that has a majority of the rights for college football as well as the one network that all other media turns to for sports news and information, their control over the direction of college football is tremendous. When the biggest voice in sports entertainment is heavily peddling the importance of every SEC showdown, when they are constantly claiming that every recruit worth their salt should want play in the SEC, when they are constantly comparing every success of a non-SEC team in some way to supposed SEC attributes, and when they are reporting about the “criminal” problems in every program in the nation except those in the SEC (the league that already has more arrests in 2015 than the entire NFL: http://arrestnation.com/), it is hard to not imagine its influence on the nation’s top recruits as well as the rest of the sports media sheeple who take ESPN’s every word as gospel.
ESPN will likely continue their crusade to pump up the SEC and deface the rest of college football’s elite. And they will continue to play up every non-SEC criminal accusation, despite being a corporation made up of criminals and deviants themselves [Source: https://hashtagfacts.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/espn-a-tale-of-hypocrisy/]. But they can rest assured that we are paying attention to their every move.
And hopefully the FBI is too.