That there is San Antonio Spur and National Champion Ryan Arcidiacono, who will never be featured on SportsCenter again, bringing the heat against the farce that was ESPN and their human-interest, social change LeBronSYs last night.
Villanova was up for four awards – best team, best coach, best play, best game – and won none. Fine. Game 7 of the NBA Finals was winning best game all along. Best team was, and probably shouldn’t, go to a college team. Best coach? You can make a strong case for Jay Wright winning the National Championship by beating powerhouses Kansas and North Carolina, and absolutely trouncing Iowa, Miami and Oklahoma along the way, without an NBA draft pick on his roster.
But best play was a near lock for Kris Jenkins’ shot to win the National Championship… and it went to Aaron Rodgers for a lucky Week 12 pass? Maybe Arch is onto something. Or, probably:
But still, if there was ever a disingenuous network that purports to honor and embrace all facets of its chosen subject matter, it’s ESPN. Ohhh look how diverse we are. We have WNBA athletes on the stage! High school athletes. Soccer and swimming. We love sports! All of them. And athletes! All shapes and sizes! Black, white, hispanic, one-legged, blind and dead! We respect everything about these great games… well, only if they include a story that we can mold into a package that will make you cry or if they have a broadcast rights deal with the ESPN family of networks.
I made the mistake of putting ESPN all day yesterday (I usually don’t), and they spent roughly three hours dipping in and out of SEC media day, where Nick Saban is treated like an actual king. Meanwhile, the National Champions who won maybe the greatest National Championship game ever on inarguably the greatest shot in NCAA basketball history (go fuck yourself, Laettner) were sitting in the audience for ESPN’s marquee event and – I think – they were shown once, while they were getting jobbed for the best play award. I wonder how much more face time Jay would’ve received if ESPN still carried Big East games. Me thinks a lot. This is exactly how ESPN is the king-maker in sports. They just brush you aside unless they can profit off you. Had Duke won the National Championship like that, ESPN President John Skipper would’ve literally blown Coach K live on-stage as part of the newly minted Monica Lewinsky award celebrating great achievements in dick sucking. He probably would’ve tapped Maya Angelou and ABC’s Ginger Zee to hand
job out the award and clean up the mess. [I looked it up and realized Maya Angelou is dead– even better! Skipper could’ve gotten himself a twofer and turned it into a retrospective.]
And this isn’t just my Villanova bias. The same critique applies to other non-ESPN fare. I don’t believe I saw one hockey player in the crowd (NBC has those rights), or anything remotely related to golf (NBC, CBS, FOX).
What’s more, unless I blacked out inside some weird tear in the space-time continuum, I’m fairly certain they didn’t even show the announcements for best game or coach. We just got Good Morning America Tweets, probably because every segment in the human interest production disguised as a sports awards show ran long:
TYRONN LUE– really?
Oh and look there’s a hockey player!
There are, however, two things ESPN deserves some praise for: Honoring Turner’s Craig Sager was a selfless move, even if their decision to cross party lines played into the moment. And they also get some points for allowing John Cena to lift the curtain on sports with some nasty and biting jokes aimed at the biggest and brightest. I actually thought Cena was pretty good, even if his barbs fell flat in a room full of uptight athletes acting like they were attending a memorial service for our fine country. Here’s his open: Continue Reading