Don’t trust ESPN

A lot of you probably read that headline and figured, “Oh great, another whiny blog post from a West Coast hippie about East Coast bias and how nobody cares about how good the Earthquakes are…”

No. This has nothing to do with East Coast bias. This is about journalistic integrity and accuracy, which ESPN threw away at the expense of pageviews and Twitter updates long ago.

Why am I so peeved with the Worldwide Leader, besides the fact that I can’t even watch SportsCenter for more than five minutes straight anymore without quickly flipping around to see what’s on all the league-specific cable networks (especially the MLB Network, which is outstanding)? I wrote a little JaMarcus Russell post this week. After John Clayton reported that the Raiders were definitely going to cut Russell, I wrote how it wouldn’t shock me if Mike Singletary, as Sabez would say, “kicked the tires.”

It was standard bloggerific speculation, the type of thing I figured I’d write to look really, really smart when/if it happened. I wasn’t REPORTING that the Niners were interested, and nobody who read the post would have assumed that I had any of that speculation on good authority. Like I said, bloggerific.

Then, Adam Schefter, a guy who reports on the same league on the same monolith network as Clayton, reports a couple days later that the Raiders are NOT going to cut Russell, that he’ll take part in this week’s minicamp.

This isn’t Yahoo Sports or AOL Fanhouse reporting something counter to what ESPN’s sources were saying. This was another ESPN reporter, throwing out another “report” that was exactly the opposite of what his coworker just published that same week.

So the only solution isn’t to complain or wonder what can be done to save ESPN from becoming a less reliable version of TMZ Sports, it’s to just ignore what they say altogether. And not just the “OMG the world must stop turning on its axis because the Red Sox are traveling to New York on a bus” crap, but all the “reports” they feed us not in hopes of informing, but moving the needle.

Ignore John Clayton, Adam Schefter, Sal Paolantonio, Ed Werder, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkijian, Marc Stein, Ric Bucher, Chris Berman, Linda Cohn, John Buccigross, Mike Tirico, Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, Scoop “My Name Couldn’t Be More Inappropriate” Jackson … oh hell, just ignore everyone you see on this page.

How are us bloggers supposed to speculate if we don’t even know what the facts are? The men and women typing away in their basements must unite! Ignore ESPN’s reportage if you want to enjoy any legitimacy at all. If you don’t care about that, then by all means take whatever Rachel Nichols says as gospel.

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