Former ESPN Contributor Slams Company Over Bruce Feldman Controversy: “Shame On Them”
SI.com's Jeff Pearlman used to write for ESPN. ESPN, you probably know, currently finds itself in the middle of some controversy regarding the, according to them, non-suspension of college football writer Bruce Feldman, who helped former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach write a book in which leach was highly critical of ESPN analyst Craig James. (ESPN's stance was then contested by SPORTSbyBROOKS, who initially reported on the situation).
In the wake of all that, Perlman decided to share his thoughts on the Feldman matter, and it's interesting to get the perspective of someone who's actually been a part of that operation. Pearlman, it's safe to say, is no more sympathetic to ESPN's cause for having worked there.
It's not that Pearlman was unsatisfied with his time at ESPN: he said he "enjoyed the experience very much; dug [his] editors; etc." This makes sense: for all the issues one might have with ESPN, it's undeniable they employ a whole bunch of people who are good at their jobs. (People like...Bruce Feldman, for example.) That includes the news side of things. So why'd Pearlman leave, if the work environment was as good as it was? Well, the day-to-day stuff left him with no complaints, "[b]ut the company as a whole—eh, not so much."
The particular problem with the company as a whole in the Feldman case, according to Pearlman:
Craig James is an ex-jock. And the powers that be at ESPN looooove ex-jocks. And current jocks. And any jocks—as long as Chris Berman and Stu Scott can have lunch with them (and pose for photographs afterward).
Ouch. It's worth noting that Pearlman keeps using the "suspended" term when talking about Feldman's status - it's unclear whether he wrote this before ESPN released it statement, or simply didn't believe a word of the statement (as we showed earlier, he wouldn't be alone in this). Given, though, that Feldman still hasn't tweeted since before this story broke despite having "resumed his assignments," and it sure looks like the higher-ups are more interested in having James around than Feldman.
Pearlman's opinion on all this is, of course, echoed by every reporter we've seen comment on the matter. It's hard to look at this and not think Feldman got (and seemingly continues to get) a raw deal. But the added perspective of someone who's been a part of the ESPN operation only reinforces the view that one of the best in the business - whether or not he was technically suspended - got thrown under the bus. Hopefully, Feldman emerges soon.
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