So let me start by saying two things.
First, I'm supposed to be writing a player profile on Hakeem Nicks for Footballguys.com.
Second, I'm about to go all College Football on you for a minute, something I won't do much here at CHTV.
This Craig James/Mike Leach thing has just reached the point where it's making me ill. Apologies to David Dodds, Joe Bryant and Jason Woods at FBGs but I have to rant.
Tonight Bruce Feldman—one of the best college football writers out there—was suspended by the World Wide Leader (can I put some sort of :eyeroll: smilie here?).
What does that have to do with the price of tea in China (or Leach, Texas Tech and Craig James)? Well, Feldman worked on Leach's just released book Swing Your Sword which, in part details his flaming exit from the Texas Tech program.
It was one of the uglier exits I've seen in college football in quite a while.
You can catch our thoughts on this on this week's Hard Count but basically Leach was accused of mistreating Adam James, son of Craig James:ESPN analyst. James went a little 'helicopter parent' on Leach and pretty much used his national pulpit to lob bombs at Leach even after the video which started it (of Adam 'locked' in a utility shed) was debunked.
In all this, it never occurred to ESPN that maybe—I dunno, having one of your analysts comment repeatedly on an issue he had a personal interest in might be, shall we say a complete and utter conflict of interest.
Let me be clear, as I was on the show: Mike Leach was gone at some point. Texas Tech was going to axe him down the road. James was just the fulcrum.
That said, James never should have commented on it, should have known better and ESPN should have done a better job of trying to be slightly more evenhanded.
They sure as Hell shouldn't have suspended Feldman for his work on the book—work he hasn't touted or done press for might I add—which they gave him permission to work on.
By all accounts, when the whole trouble started, Feldman was already working on the book of Leach's coaching career. When Leach turned the lawyers loose on several parties involved, he (Feldman) reportedly made it clear he would only work on the book if the boss man told him ok, which they did.
All was fine until the book hit and now one of the best writers on college football is benched.
This is not only unconscionable but it's gutless. This story—which ESPN made plenty of press with despite a huge conflict of interest—is like a lie which forces you to tell bigger lies so that the first lie doesn't fall apart.
Aaron and I talked about this last night, the need to be first, not right. The need to get the story by any means necessary and if toes are stepped on (as long as they aren't LeBron's, Jeter's or Brady's) so be it.
I don't know I even blame Craig James at this point. Sure he went out of his mind over what happened but ESPN is the one grossly overreacting now. ESPN is the one who is punishing a man for what they told him he could do.
It's like Behnke asked to borrow my car and I said sure. Then the next day he told me that he might need to haul some heavy stuff with it and it might get damaged and I said, no problem. And then the moment he drives away from me with it, I call the cops and report it stolen.
It's insanity (and frankly I wouldn't put it past me, but that's another story).
We've come to the point where being the news is part of reporting the news. It's been like this in many ways since Sportscenter hit the airwaves and you tuned in to see Berman, Dan Patrick and Keith Olberman as much as the highlights.
However, it's now bled into reporting and we're more the poorer for it.
Shame on you ESPN.
FREE BRUCE FELDMAN.
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