ESPN and “sources say”


Earlier today’s John Heyman was the first to report that the Phillies, Blue Jays and Mariners were engaged in a three-way trade that would send Cliff Lee to the Mariners, Roy Halladay to the Phillies and a slew of prospects to the Blue Jays. Heyman was also the one who broke the news that John Lackey was set to sign as a free agent with the Red Sox.

So what did ESPN do?

That’s a trick question—ESPN did what it always does. It attributed the news to the original source for a couple of seconds, then claimed the information as its own. I was watching SportsCenter tonight after the Cards-49ers game, and and Heyman weren’t even mentioned. Not once. Instead, it was either “sources” reporting or “our own [FILL IN THE NAME OF AN ESPN EMPLOYEE].

This, of course, is nothing new for a company that insists on gobbling all that rests in its path. ESPN owns sports, which means its employees must own sports, which means if its employees don’t own sports, well, ESPN will own sports, anyhow. If Heyman keeps beating them on reporting Hot Stove news, ESPN will either have him killed or hire him to a lengthy contract.

I always say this: I greatly enjoyed writing for I truly did. But the company doesn’t do journalism in the fair, traditional sense, where if you get beat on a story you step up, admit it and attribute accordingly. Sites like Deadspin have been killing ESPN for years on this type of garbage, and with good reason.

It’s 1,000 times wrong.