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Stop Blaming 1st Take For Everything That is Wrong in Sports Media

skip bayless tiger woods disgrace

When I was a kid I use to love Scooby-Doo. They had several different variations of Scooby-Doo cartoons, but probably the one I like the best was “A Pup Named Scooby-Doo”.

It was just the younger version of the characters, but it is funny and well-written. Since I was a kid, I related better to it.

There was a character on the show called “Red Herring”

I was a kid, I didn’t know the literal meaning of “Red Herring” at the time, I just knew on every show they would blame him for whatever was going wrong, but they were always wrong.

When I got older, it made a lot more sense what they were doing and the complexities of it. Considering it was a kid show, they doubled down on the irony of a Red Herring, actually being a kid with red hair, named Red Herring.

When it comes to sports media, 1st Take is the quintessential Red Herring. Any time something happens that the people don’t like in our industry they blame 1st take, Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless.

I understand it is an easy shot to take. It is a shot that people will retweet and share. Ironically, it is the same type of “hot take” people say they hate.

ESPN is getting rid of Grantland and that has people up in arms, because talented people are being “reassigned” and possibly buried. I understand that, I liked Grantland and haven’t watch 1st Take in years (ever since they banned Jalen Rose).

But, they are mutually exclusive.

Grantland is gone because Bill Simmons is gone and it wasn’t making any money. ESPN has a mandate to slash salaries and expenses, that is why 300 people were laid off last week.

The reason Skip, Stephen A. and others like them are in no danger of losing their jobs is because YOU are watching them. You might be complaining, but your eyes are on the television.

Numbers don’t lie (via Awful Announcing).

ESPN2’s daily show viewership averages for the week:

“Mike & Mike in the Morning” (ESPN2, Oct. 19-23): 358,000 (190,000 adults 18-49)
“First Take” (ESPN2, Oct. 19-23): 486,000 (307,000 adults 18-49)
“His & Hers” (ESPN2, Oct. 19-23): 356,000 (244,000 adults 18-49)
“Sportsnation” (ESPN2, Oct. 19-23): 173,000 (107,000 adults 18-49)
“College Football Live” (ESPN2, Oct. 19-20): 248,000 (166,000 adults 18-49)
“Baseball Tonight (live)” (ESPN2, Oct. 19-21): 166,000 (83,000 adults 18-49)
“ESPN FC” (ESPN2, Oct. 19-20): 134,000 (101,000 adults 18-49)
“Fantasy Show” (ESPN2, Oct. 25): 299,000 (198,000 adults 18-49)
“Outside the Lines” (ESPN2, Oct. 19): 357,000 (221,000 adults 18-49)

First Take is the flagship program on ESPN2.

I remember speaking to a mentor of mine and I was telling him how hard people were coming at me about certain stories, but at the end of the day those stories were the biggest ones on the site.

He said something very simply to me, that I’ll always remember.

“People hate on what they love the most.”

Social media is filled with liars, point-blank. It is easy to call out ESPN for some of their other programming because like a Red Herring it is the obvious move.  It isn’t thinking out of the box, it is groupthink.  People should be asking themselves, why young, creative journalists aren’t getting opportunities not just at ESPN, but every mainstream media corporation in America?  People should be asking themselves why in 2015 the industry is still 90% white and 90% male?  These are HARD questions that need to be asked, not just Tweets, because this goes alot deeper than Grantland and making Skip Bayless’ fault.

Don’t blame the supplier, blame the user. Don’t blame clickbait, when you are steady clicking. Don’t blame TMZ when you are constantly refreshing for your Odom updates. Don’t blame the Kardashians. Don’t blame Jay Z. Don’t say you hate the way media is now, but help trend Zola worldwide and put on TIME magazine.

How about supporting the people, shows and sites that you claim people should be paying attention to more than the people you say are bringing down the industry?

Your hypocrisy is showing.

I have a clean conscience being critical of certain things because I know I am not contributing to what I say I don’t like.

Can you say the same?



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