Is ESPN Going to Cover the Erin Andrews Story?

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By Paul M. Banks

Erin Andrews is the most recognizable on-air personality for the most powerful entertainment network on Earth. Due to her combination or looks, knowledge, personality, looks, plum story assignments, intelligence and looks, she’s become possibly ESPN’s biggest rock star. And now that she’s been victimized, her star is set to rise way beyond the stratospheric level it currently resides at.

ESPN has been called many things: the four-letter, Eastern Seaboard Programming Network, the Boo-Yah Network. But the most appropriate nicknames are “The Evil Empire” or “The Mothership.” Because they’re the 400 lb gorilla in the room of sports media; actually, they’re so powerful that the Disney-owned concern makes 400 lb sports media gorillas look like 4 ounce gorillas. If you’re living in a cave and haven’t heard the Erin Andrews saga by now, here’s the gist of it

Some creepy, pathetic weirdo taped EA changing in her hotel room and then posted/distributed the video online. Its now been pulled off the internet and most places claiming to host it actually give the user malware, a Trojan horse or some other computer virus when they download it. I usually think that hackers are the lowest form of primordial ooze life has to offer, but on this one I give them a high-five. Because Andrews’ privacy has been violated and her image tarnished, and those who add to this injustice (by watching the video) compound the problem by receiving stolen property. Both the producers and watchers of the video are committing illegal acts, and I sincerely hope Erin Andrews is able to recover some form of compensation for the humiliation that she has suffered.
Any web page with a picture or mention of Erin Andrews is blogosphere gold. Her internet cult following makes web traffic flock to anything EA related. This goofy YouTube tribute video has been viewed well over two million times. As awful as this situation seems for her now, in the end she’ll be fine. If there’s anything America loves, it’s an underdog story. Look at every politician who has risen to high office: every one has a story of overcoming adversity in their biography.

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ESPN produces a full roster of personalities that have engaged in controversial (and sometimes harassing) behavior relating to sex, including:

-Chris “Mr. Family Values” Berman and his penchant for “making it rain” in strip club V.I.P. rooms.

-Sean Salisbury emailing a female co-worker a picture of his…”little friend.”  The part of his body that seems to make his decisions.

-Harold Reynolds, fired for supposedly giving “an inappropriate hug” to an intern at a Boston Market. And if there’s anything defining sexy in this world, it’s a Boston Market hug…especially one that inspired the name of a sports blog.

-Mike Tirico and his lurid tales that helped sell books

None of these incidents were reported at all by ESPN (for obvious reasons). So if the four-letter network ignores or under-reports this story, it won’t exactly set precedent. But the Andrews story is much bigger than all of them combined. And the demand for information on it is too high to keep ESPN from covering it. If they’re truly “the worldwide leader” than they need to keep the public updated on the story that the world is demanding to know about- even if it revolves around one of their stars.

Of course, this incident is completely different from the four I just mentioned in that here, the ESPN personality is the victim, not the “victimizer.” It mostly resembles another incident in which the journalist was the one begin harassed, not doing the harassing. erin-andrews

The popular blog Kissing Suzy Kolber got its name from the night a drunk-of-his-ass Joe Namath tried to pressure sideline reporter Suzy Kolber into kissing him during a NFL game carried by the network. The duo calling the game for the Bristol boys that night repeatedly said how “happy” Namath was. What an often “happy guy” he truly is. Obviously happy=drunk and horny in that context, but it was a perfect example of how the Disney-owned sports media empire “Disniefied” an “adult situation.”  So that’s what I think the network will do here.

They’ll probably try to minimize a situation that the world wide web buzzes about and try to find some way to give a G or PG rated account of a NC-17 situation. Given the corner they’re backed into- probably the best thing they can do.

Tune in this weekend for more ESPN criticism. A friend of mine who actually works for the evil empire asked me to DVR the Espys for him. I’m going to have him over for dinner Sunday night, and for the first time ever, watch the Espys! Lots of sites do anti-ESPN material. But I’ll be blogging my vitriol with a member of the network actually beside me.

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