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Where Did ESPN Go Wrong?

I’m a guy.

Stock photo of a guy with a hoodie.

And like many guys I watch sports.

Sports, not golf. Golf is a sport in the same way bocce ball is a sport, which is to say not at all.

And as such I have spent a great many hours watching this show:

Sportscenter, Valhalla for many a sports nerd.

These men were like gods to me:

Keith Olbermann before he went a little crazy (I think it was the mustache that kept him centered) and Dan Patrick before he began to overindulge in man-makeup.

They were smart, they were funny, they made watching sports highlights fun.

As did Craig Kilborn, who would go on to set the table for Jon Stewart at The Daily Show.

And it is with great sadness that I confess that it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way about ESPN’s flagship program.

“I enjoyed Sportscenter,” Obi Wan confessed to Luke Skywalker. “Before the dark times. Before the Stuart Scott era.”

And it isn’t because I love sports any less…

I still love sports with the strength of six panda bears.

But I can no longer stand the people relaying the information to me.

It used to be Olbermann, Patrick, Tirico, Kilborn would delight me not just with the sports highlights, but with the energy they brought to their coverage.  Heck, even Charlie Steiner was more awesome than any man sporting a beard like that on national television had any right to be.

Although he would occasionally go all “Lord of the Flies” on you…

Don’t believe me?  Check out this classic clip of when someone exercised bad judgment in who they let sing the national anthem.

That was real; That was genuine.  Now we have some unholy collection of the ignorant, the arrogant and the loud.

Skip Bayless, the ignorant

Stuart Scott, the arrogant

Stephen A. Smith, the loud

And in between talking over each other they do something so ridiculous, it made me pinch myself the first time I saw it to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

You know, like the time I realized I was a pink unicorn man. It was all just a dream, or is the dream when I blog? That’s deep. You may want to think about that one a while and then treat me with deferential awe.

But alas, it wasn’t a dream at all.  They were reading tweets aloud.

Because when I turn on Sportscenter what I really want to know is how some moron in Hackensack, New Jersey feels about Tim Tebow.

I may be in the minority, but I really don’t need to know if LeBron James is setting up his fantasy football team.

Or who King James goes to for his inside NFL scoop. Seriously.

So where did it go wrong?  At what point did ESPN devolve into this horrible morass of suckitude?

I don’t have an answer.  But maybe someone out there does.  If you do, please share it with me.

Because I can’t stand the sound of my inner child crying.


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