There are many things that last for about a minute. Writing a check. Riding the elevator. Marrying Kim Kardashian.
Okay, maybe that last one might be just a bit of an exaggeration. But I wish I was lying when I told you this: Thanks to Deadspin’s crack numbers staff (or is it a number of staffers on crack?), we know exactly how much time ESPN is devoting on “SportsCenter” to the trial of former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, which officially started on June 11, and could very well be finished by the end of the week.
For the week starting June 8 and ending June 14 – again, with the Sandusky trial starting right smack dab in the middle of that timeframe – a mere 45 seconds was spent informing “SportsCenter” viewers about the trial.
Or nearly double as much time as Armen Keteyian’s “exclusive” CBS interview of Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary. Remember that charade?
It’s pretty much a given that the NBA playoffs and finals are going to be ESPN’s bread and butter for the month of June. We know this. We also know that ESPN and ABC broadcasting these very NBA playoff and Finals games may have a little something to do with the exorbitant amount of time “SportsCenter” is devoting to the NBA. (Putting it in perspective: the ratio of NBA to NHL coverage on “SportsCenter” during that same period is 9:1; it bears noting since the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup during that week.)
As Deadspin’s Patrick Burns writes: “SportsCenter is supposed to be a news program. But when the Sandusky case is leading off primetime network news, and you are spending 15 minutes dissecting LeBron James’s ‘clutch factor,’ something has gone horribly wrong.” Burns also notes that the content of that 45-second “SportsCenter” report on the Sandusky trial was only that it “was set to begin… Beyond that? No live reports. No daily recap of the events from the trial. Nothing.”
A far cry from last November, when Joe Paterno was fired as Penn State’s head coach and riots broke out on PSU’s campus. ESPN knows that its main demographic would be more interested in news vans flipping over in Happy Valley than the depiction of graphic details of Sandusky’s many disgusting exploits at his trial. On that front, I can see why ESPN isn’t giving the trial wall-to-wall coverage.
But 45 seconds, with no updates whatsoever? That’s an aberration. Why even have the initial 45-second report that the trial “was set to begin” when you’re not going to follow through with daily updates of the trial on “SportsCenter” in the first place?
In ESPN’s defense, they have been posting updates about the trial on their YouTube channel. But restricting coverage to their website is the equivalent of treating the story as a ninth-class citizen.
Does ESPN believe that those interested in the trial can get the information online, while they’d opt to hold roundtable discussions on whether LeBron James will finally win a championship on “SportsCenter”? I thought that’s what shows like “Around The Horn” was for.
At any rate, if you’re a genuine sports news program, you should deliver all the news, not just news that ESPN thinks its viewers would be interested in. Less than a minute of “SportsCenter” news on the Sandusky trial, before it even started, mind you, is a major dissservice on the Worldwide Leader’s part.
If I had my druthers, the sports news department over there would be shaken.
You know, like a snow globe.