Scott’s Shots’ David Scott began his Friday entry with harsh words for the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo and the paper’s handling of the latest Mitchell Report rumors, and followed with equally pointed criticism for the WWL’s handling of what might otherwise be one of the year’s biggest scandals.
What is most perplexing is how long it has taken the general sports consumer to understand the magnitude of the Reggie Bush scandal. We’re talking about a Heisman Trophy winner and NFL star who was very openly (and/or very stupidly) being paid for his services at USC, a school that can only be described as an institution without much “institutional control.”
It has every dirty element you can think of (okay, Kim Kardashian seems to come after the USC boondoggle) and enough NCAA violations to fill a three ring binder. Games will almost certainly forfeited, reputations are being ruined and somehow, all we hear about from ESPN are Mitchell Report non-reports and Spygate spatter.
Yahoo! has OWNED the BUSH story from its break through to this point (including today, where the NCAA might actually have to make a bold statement and come down on one of the most sacred programs of the money-grubbing organization.
But no matter how much dirt emerges, no matter how guilty USC, Pete Carroll and Bush are being portrayed as, the story has failed to capture the nation’s attention and we can only think of one reason:
Because ESPN has decided to downplay almost every aspect of the story creating a blatant lack of SportsCenter, ETicket or E:60 presence. The Bush shenanigans have gone largely underreported – other than at Yahoo! and a couple of the LA-area papers – and ESPN seems to be fine with laying low.
The visceral reaction is to wonder whether ESPN’s entertainment-side reliance on USC being a Top 5 program is figuring in to the editorial-side decisions. Yahoo! – at least at this point in its existence – is not quite as cozy with the NCAA as ESPN and Disney have to be. The Y! is also trying to establish itself and carve out an investigative niche (see Yahoo!’s steroids reporting as well), so they tend to be a bit scrappier, even as they are out-manned at every level and every position by ESPN’s multi-pronged empire of editors, writers, producers, gnomes and researchers.
Maybe by the time Bush has to return his Heisman, USC is on probation and Carroll is canned, ESPN will have caught up to the Y! guys.