Thank goodness for ESPN ohmbudsman Le Anne Schreiber. “What’s an ohmbudsman” you ask? Back in college an ohmbudsman was the champion of the rights of the students. When they had nowhere else to turn, he or she was their voice, their ersatz attorney, their supporter and their short-cut through beaurocratic red-tape. It happened by luck that my chosen academic advisor – Professor H. McKim Steele of Trinity College’s history department also doubled as the ohmbudman.
Le Anne Schreiber is the noble defender of the good sense, taste, maturity, and virtue of the ESPN viewer – the voice and long arm of justice of the very fams ESPN seeks to not only alienize, but stamp out. Remember – fat, drunk, stupid, buying their crap and taking their word as law – that’s how ESPN wants you. ***All bow to the Holy Church of the Professional Athlete. Heresy charges and burning at the stake if you despise steroids or think they can help your golf game!***
Le Anne wrote brilliant piece which serves as a rejoinder from all ESPN’s viewers – “Who’s Now did not belong in the sports news program “Sports Center” but rather the vapid “Entertainment Tonight.”
She also was effective in instituting an important fan-protective policy. When fans write on blogs, ESPN anchors are limited in what type of vulgar, lowest common denominator attacks they can generate in reply. When the excellent sports watchdog web-site Thebiglead.com was sharply and precisely critical of ESPN, one of their radio anchors, Colin Cowherd initiated a brutal, base and despicable business attack – he recommended listeners crash their site. Schreiber was quick to crack the whip:
“The official response from ESPN’s communication department was: “Our airwaves should not be used for this purpose. We apologize.” It is the kind of bland public statement that does little to assuage the anger and distrust of ESPN’s audience over an episode like this. I could not tell from that statement how seriously ESPN regarded the offense, so I contacted Traug Keller, senior vice president, ESPN Radio, to get a clearer idea of ESPN’s reaction.
Keller responded immediately to my request for an on-the-record statement. “We talked to Colin Cowherd, and we talked to all our radio talent, making it clear that you cannot do this,” Keller said Friday. “Our airwaves are a trust, and not to be used to hurt anyone’s business. Such attacks are off limits. Zero tolerance. I can’t say it any stronger.”
Keller said that he had not formulated a policy about such attacks on Internet sites until now because he had never imagined the possibility of them.
I appreciated Keller’s quick, forthright response.
Now that ESPN Radio has such a policy, I presume such attacks will be treated as an offense that warrants suspension.”
Thank goodness Ms. Schreiber takes her job seriously. Please stay and keep fighting not only for us, but for all that is noble, high-minded and virtuous in the game. Without you, it semms, there is no one else that can affectuate the change so badly needed.
Ms Schreiber’s archive is here. It’s outstanding reading and every sports fans should have her on speed-dial, auto-complete and bookmarked. Ms. Schreiber, thanks for being one of the good ones. Welcome to the Honor Roll. Keep showing us how to fight – you set a great example.