Dear ESPN …

Stan and Neil: Make them stop, por favor.
Stan and Neil: Make them stop, por favor.

Dear ESPN:

It’s me—Jeff Pearlman. I’ve written for your website and I’ve appeared on many of your shows. I’m a longtime admirer and fan, and even when we disagreed, well, I’ve always come back.

I’m starting to waver.

I relocated from New York to Southern California six months ago. Upon arriving, I joined the nearby 24 Hour Fitness. It’s a lovely place, with (relatively) clean locker rooms and a basketball court and a pool and tons of equipment. The one drawback, though, is access to a mere four television networks while working out. One is Fox News—no way in hell. One is MSNBC—equal no way. One is a local affiliate with bad sitcoms. And one is—thankfully—ESPN.

This made me somewhat happy. I could work out, watch the highlights. OK. But then I came to learn of something quite horrible: As a late-night workout guy, I would be subjected to the late-night SportsCenter. And being subjected to the late-night SportsCenter means being subjected to (dear God) Neil Everett and Stan Verrett.

A most heinous day of reckoning it is …

To be clear, I believe both Neil and Stan are likely nice people with good intentions. But, ESPN, they are just brutal. Untalented? No. Uninformed? Certainly not. What irks me—and pretty much everyone I know who watches the duo—is the nonstop, eternal, tack-to-the-temple devotion to humor and quips and puns and cheap laughs. I mean, they can’t go five seconds without uttering a non-joke joke; some inside nonsense about a car or a bird or a prom date. It’s as if one took Chris Berman at his worst, mixed in a little Keith Olbermann at his worst, turned the speed up from 33 to 72 and tossed in a shitload of sugar and Cherry Coke. It’s nonstop, it’s grating, it’s fucking awful television.

Again, I don’t want anyone to lose a job. I just want them to stop. Please, please, please make them stop.

Because I really can’t watch Hannity.