As most of the freedom loving world probably knows by now, Texas Tech coach Bob Knight made physical contact with a player on Monday night by tapping him on his chin to force him to look Knight in the face while he was "instructing" him on the finer points of college basketball. Naturally, ESPN took the incident and went into full on coverage mode giving us multiple angles, replays, analysis and five minutes leading off SportsCenter last night which included highlights of Texas Tech vs Gardner Webb(nevermind that #1 Florida and #2 North Carolina were also in action). Now, I found the act itself to be a non-issue despite Knight's reputation and aside from the fact I have vehemently disliked him as long as I can remember. In fact this is de facto opinion of about 80% of the nation on this issue despite the fact Pat Forde was on ESPN last night advocating a 1 game suspension. Now, I was not planning on blogging this because as you may have noticed there is actual basketball being played, so I will defer to the always excellent Dan Wetzel who takes the opportunity to rap ESPN upside it's bloated head. He points out the wild hypocrisy in ESPN ignoring Michigan's Lloyd Carr who earlier this week stormed out of an ESPN on ABC interview for the upcoming game this week letting F-bombs fly. Nor would they show other coaches, and there will be other coaches, do it. Wetzel nails it on the head and closes it with this:
Yes, Knight should know better and should know the world has changed. But this act is hardly worth this kind of over-the-top coverage. Not when college athletics has serious problems – academic fraud, rampant cheating, widespread profiteering.
For a while "SportsCenter" – the overwhelmingly most powerful force in sports media – lost its way with a silly parade of sorry would-be standup comics as anchors. Now it has backed off that slightly and gone straight tabloid.
Daily coverage of Barry Bonds. Daily coverage of Terrell Owens. Daily coverage of whatever outrageous character it can drum up. "Up next on Cold Pizza, a clinical psychologist gives a diagnosis of Bob Knight." (No joke).
One standard here, one there. Some get exposed, some get protected. No consistent news judgment. No sense of perspective. Just a toe-the-company-line ombudsman on its website.
Yeah, Bob Knight is in the media grinder now, the full force of the World Wide Leader flipping out over a flipped chin.
It's fine if ESPN thinks he deserves it. But if so, he sure isn't the only one. And that's what the network isn't telling you.
Well said. ESPN has become an entertainment outlet pure and simple. As an extension of that the news must fit the criteria of being entertaining and having Bob Knight make contact with a player fits that description. As for Knight, ESPN has a very odd relationship with the contrversial coach. On one hand they hold him up as an example of a coach "out of control" and blow up incidents like this to reinforce that idea thus creating news. On the other hand they had a show run on their networks about Knight holding open tryouts for a spot on the Texas Tech team. Obviously they had high hopes an incident like this would occur on the series, I guess since it didn't they are trying to make up for it now.