Just a few months into her position as ESPN’s 2nd ombudsman, Le Anne Schreiber won the respect of much of the blogosphere for her willingness to chastise Colin Cowherd. Now, as she ends her two year tenure as George Solomon’s successor, Schreiber endeavors to “find the taproot of discontent from which the whole blooming variety of complaints emerge.”
If arrogance were indeed the taproot, the message to ESPN from fans would be simple: “Get over yourselves, it’s not all about you.” And the solution would be as simple as ESPN asking the loudest and most self-smitten of its many personalities to tone it down.
In a previous column, I wrote, “The endlessly swirling synergy of events programming continuously reinforced by pre- and post-event shows, by preseason and postseason shows, by news shows that cover those events and by opinion shows that derive their topics from those events is a business model both extremely effective and extremely transparent.”
I would like to revise that statement by deleting “extremely effective.” We now know that any business model based on the assumption the rich can get endlessly richer is bound to implode.
That is why, when searching for the taproot of discontent within those 30,000 messages, I settled upon the excesses of coverage that provoke fans to send me their virtual shouts of “MAKE IT STOP. PLEASE. IT’S TOO MUCH.” Those viewers are sounding a potentially empire-saving alarm.
What’s the one last message I want to leave ESPN? I guess it would have to be: Don’t be so predictable. Subtext: Stop trying to make the publicity-rich ever richer. Spread the wealth around before fans turn on ESPN the way investors have turned on bankers.