It’s seriously time to put Howard Eskin out to pasture… or at least a pasture farther out there than the 10 p.m. news on FOX, a broadcast that is saved only by Lucy Noland and her spectacular friends.
We all have favorites, let’s be honest. Any person in a field even remotely related to media who tells you their coverage isn’t colored, at least a bit, by favorites, sources and enemies is lying to you. But Eskin has always taken it to another level. For years it manifested itself in almost comical defense of Andy Reid and the Eagles. Now it’s most apparent in his “coverage” of the Sixers, most recently when he was the only person on the planet who found fault with the Sixers in their trade with the Kings.
Anyway, over the last few days I’ve had the misfortune of inadvertently catching several of Sports Bloviator Emeritus Eskin’s local media appearances, first on FOX over the weekend, and then today on WIP as I tuned in to see if Josh Innes would address the fact that his Afternoon show is in serious jeopardy of continuing in its current form because his partner doesn’t like him. And it’s obvious that Eskin, as reader (@theshyduck) put it, has become a self-parody.
First there was Eskin’s aforementioned ripping into the Sixers for what was widely interpreted as a GREAT TRADE– a reflexive response to decry everything the team does. Then, on Sunday morning, he ranted on FOX about NBA players and their lack of loyalty when opting out of deals and re-signing with their current team so they can get more money (as if Eskin would never negotiate a higher salary)– a take so scorching and so old-timey that it seemed like it belonged on Weekend Update. And today, this jarring 180 regarding first Jonathan Papelbon, with whom Eskin has a huge thing, and then Donovan McNabb, who was recently arrested in Arizona for his second DUI.
Eskin first told Innes and Jody Mac that he had some damning off-the-record info about Papelbon that he wouldn’t share… but continued anyway:
Eskin: “He does whatever he wants. He’s poisoned other players in the locker room. He poisoned Cliff Lee [about Lee telling Sandberg he does things his way because Papelbon started it]. He poisoned Cole Hamels, who was a terrific guy.”
Innes: How can you poison grown men?
Eskin: “He had been there. Hamels won a World Series, but he’s only won one. It’s like anything in the locker room, when this guy gets away with it, the next guy can get away with it. So, [Papelbon] does things he gets way with it, and other players say if he can do it I can get away with the same thing.”
So there you go. His big scoop on Papelbon appears to be that Papelbon is a huge dick. More at
11 10, Lucy.
There’s no argument from me on Papelbon being a dick, but Eskin stepped into that conversation accusing Papelbon of what sounded like a crime, when in fact it seemed to be nothing more than him being a bad clubhouse presence.
Meanwhile, when the subject of McNabb’s second DUI – an actual crime – came up, Eskin dismissed its severity, openly encourage FOX to cut him some slack, and then admitted to his own DUI some years ago:
“You know, it’s too bad. He’s actually better on the air now because he’ll speak his mind – which I wish he would’ve done here and people would’ve loved him – but he got moved up in the broadcast teams… he got moved up for this year… so I don’t want FOX to do anything to him because I’d like to see him become successful. But you can’t do that, especially in Arizona. Those cops are brutal.”
So, just to recap: Papelbon– bad, bad person who needs to go away for being an entitled millionaire, because Eskin hates him. McNabb– guy caught a rough break from overzealous cops for drinking and driving and endangering the lives of others, again, but should be given yet another chance at his job, at which he’s shitty, because he goes way back with Eskin.
Howard then went on to make light of the time he was pulled over after leaving a bar – admittedly intoxicated to some degree – where he had been celebrating a playoff win with Sixers front offices execs, apparently many years ago.
Go away, Howard. You’re not important anymore.