The Best and Worst Of ESPN

Don White@Patriot CallContributor IApril 6, 2009

The Best and Worst of ESPN


By Don White of


It’s difficult to talk about the worst of ESPN because there have been so many “bests". 

One must remember that nothing was really that great until ESPN came along – not even ABC’s Monday Night Football with Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford, O. J. Simpson, Don Meredith, Alex Karras, Fred Williamson, John Madden, Al Michaels, Dan Dierdorf, Lynn Swann, et al.

The highest in journalistic and television excellence came on the scene later with the advent of ESPN that eclipsed the old networks because it was far better in content, expertise, comprehensiveness and viewership and attractiveness.

When I think about it I say, what competition?  ESPN just blew them all away. But that was then. Today, there are many TV networks that compete on equal footing with ESPN in some little ways. But none can compete overall, especially in MLB coverage.

Look, who can beat the big-game announcing and color of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver? Behind the scenes you have people like Tim Kurchin, Steve Phillips, Peter Gammons, and Buster Olney. They’re up there with Red Barber and Mel Allen in my book.

Everything was going along fine with my favorite sports two-some, Mike and Mike, when Greenberg threw Golic a curve. It was November 7 or 8, 2007 when Greeny got up close and personal with Golic.

He knew better. There’s a cardinal rule held by trial attorneys and TV and radio announcers. You never cut your partner up with an embarrassing question without covering with him first.

You never ask anything in court or on TV that you don’t know how the interviewee or witness will answer. Yeah, I know about all that journalism stuff where you want to reveal hard news. I have my degree. But this is your partner, right? It’s a no-no! Here’s how it went [stunk].

Greenberg: You were a player in the National Football League for Nine Years?

Golic: Yep.

Greenberg: And you were clean. You didn’t use steroids.

Golic: No, no. I did try steroids. For about six weeks in an offseason. Yeah. When I had blown my shoulder out. I actually didn’t do it for six weeks. I did it for a few weeks and stopped because it had kind of a bad effect as I was lifting.

Greenberg: Okay. Let’s say for the sake of this discussion you did not.

The blog “Awful Announcing” asked: “Was this common knowledge? I’d never heard this before. If it wasn’t, it seems like a pretty nonchalant way to drop that information on the listening/viewing public. Also, what is this bad effect that he mentioned? Check out the comments and story at the link below.

I’m sure there are many excuses, but it was the low spot for me in ESPN’s reporting and not in keeping with the usual high standards of reporting I came to expect from ESPN.

When Greeny realized what he had done he quickly ended the conversation and later cut off a caller who wanted more clarification.