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Calling Colin Cowherd on the Carpet

A short while ago, I encouraged my readers to follow the course of action first laid out over at The M Zone; namely, writing to E.S.P.N. ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber at the "feedback" link available here.

Schreiber recently took over the ombudsman role from George Solomon, who wrote the following on the occasion of his departure from that post:

ESPN commentators, including some of the network's biggest stars on TV and radio, might be more thoughtful and less outrageous and loud in their opinions. I've always believed just because someone has the title of commentator or columnist, it doesn't mean he or she should not be held to the same journalistic standards of fairness and accuracy as everyone else on the ESPN team.

In the hope that Solomon's statement that on-air talent ought to meet a high standard represents his successor's view, as well, I sent the following e-mail to Schreiber earlier this afternoon:
Dear Ms. Schreiber:

I hope you are doing well. Permit me to begin by welcoming you to your new post as E.S.P.N.'s ombudsman; I regret that the start of your tenure in that position is liable to be a bit turbulent, as attested to by e-mails such as this one, but I thank you in advance for your time and attention to this matter.

As you most likely are aware by this point, Colin Cowherd used the forum provided to him by the Worldwide Leader in Sports to incite a deliberate effort to crash a sports weblog during yesterday's broadcast. Based upon his on-air comments, Mr. Cowherd evidently provoked this pointless act of petty vandalism because he found the site annoying and thought it would be funny to take it out of commission.

This was not Mr. Cowherd's first run-in with webloggers. A year ago, he used material from another weblog on his show without proper attribution. Although it appears that his initial failure to cite his sources occurred because of an honest mistake, he reacted childishly and irresponsibly when this oversight was brought to his attention. This produced a deluge of e-mails to your predecessor, George Solomon, with the ultimate result that Mr. Cowherd was compelled to apologize on the air and give proper credit to the actual author of the material he appropriated.

I do not know whether that incident created in Mr. Cowherd an enduring disdain for sports webloggers, but, whatever his motivation may have been, his action on Thursday again demonstrated an immature disregard for consequences and a callous abuse of the influence he wields by virtue of being a public voice representing your network.

I cannot imagine that E.S.P.N. wishes to have itself portrayed in this manner to the listening, viewing, and reading public. As I write this, the weblog upon which Mr. Cowherd instigated this senseless attack is still down, losing readership and possibly advertising revenue as a direct and proximate result of the deliberate action of an on-air personality taking advantage of his privileged position at E.S.P.N. To make matters much worse, Mr. Cowherd indicated during Thursday's broadcast that he intends to make this a recurring feature of his program.

Like many other sports fans, I operate a weblog devoted to my favorite team. While my readership is smaller than Mr. Cowherd's audience, and while I am not backed by the resources of the Worldwide Leader in Sports, I am proud of the work that I do and I believe my readers consider it a worthwhile complement to their enjoyment of athletics.

Were it within my power to shut down every radio transmitter carrying Colin Cowherd's signal during his broadcast, I would not do it. I would not do it because such an action would be morally wrong, meanspirited, sophomoric, and potentially legally problematic. While I might not enjoy Mr. Cowherd's antics, I have the option of switching the radio to another station . . . which I often do when Mr. Cowherd comes on the air, and which I will encourage my fellow sports fans to do, as well.

Shouldn't the person E.S.P.N. puts forward daily as a prominent voice of the network adhere to the same standards of simple decency and respect? If Colin Cowherd does not care for sports weblogs, he has the option not to read them. To launch deliberate and tangible assaults upon weblogs as part of his program, however, is reprehensible.

E.S.P.N.'s reaction to Mr. Cowherd's latest inexcusable action will say much about the regard in which the Worldwide Leader holds the constituency it purports to serve. The network's failure to address and rectify this situation would speak volumes about the perspective taken by the powers that be in Bristol and inaction on E.S.P.N.'s part will be taken as an endorsement of Mr. Cowherd's behavior.

I, as well as many other sports fans around the country, attentively await E.S.P.N.'s response.


T. Kyle King
Dawg Sports

I would encourage you to contact Schreiber, as well. Once again, she may be reached here.

Go 'Dawgs!