Read today that three ESPN commentators, Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso have deals with Nike that call for them to speak at company events. This news comes in the heels of Erin Andrews being blasted by many (myself included) for endorsing shoes and other products.
Seriously, seriously pathetic.
I don’t care how many times ESPN says, “They’re professionals—there’s no conflict!” I don’t care how many times the “talent” (a pathetic misuse of English) swear, “Hey, we’re unbiased! We call ’em as we see ’em.” This is, and always has been, a glaring and undeniable and pathetic conflict of interest that should not—and cannot—be tolerated/accepted by ESPN, the network that wants its people to become celebrities themselves.
When, during one of the bowl games, Andrews noted how players needed to switch out of their Nikes, it was likely an unbiased, matter-of-fact comment. But because she’s literally paid by Reebok, we don’t know. And that’s the problem—perception, which overpowers reality by 100,000 percent.
Furthermore, if any of these people looked into the corporate workings of the shoe companies—paying laborers 7 cents per hour to slave away in an Asian industrial sweatshop, I sort of doubt they’d be so quick to smile for the cameras.