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luv
11-27-2008, 05:39 PM
http://msn.foxsports.com/cfb/story/8853534

The story ESPN doesn't want you to know

by Jason Whitlock
Updated: November 26, 2008, 3:21 PM EST

This was going to be your run-of-the-mill, I-told-you-so column gloating about my Ball State Cardinals running the regular-season table and climbing to No. 15 in the BCS poll.

I predicted all of this in August, and many of you justifiably thought I was simply mouthing off about my favorite football team in hopes of shining light on my long forgotten, never-remembered, mediocre playing days at Ball State and hamming it up in hopes of landing an invite to Dave Letterman's "Late Show."

Ball State QB Nate Davis won't win the Heisman ... but whose fault is that? (Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Look, there are people with tape of Western Michigan's Joel Smeenge waltzing by me in 1987 and 1988. I have no interest in drawing attention to my playing career. And as much as I love and support my fellow BSU alum, Letterman, the "Late Show" doesn't quite stack up to sharing Oprah's stage. I've been to the mountain top.

My goal as a journalist/columnist is to be right about issues others don't see coming or don't have the courage/intellect to address.

Ball State football in 2008 provided a perfect storm. And the more I thought about this column and tracked my Cardinals throughout the season, the more perfect this storm became.

The column became bigger than an I-told-you-so moment. If I wrote a column every time I was right about something, I'd spend my entire career penning columns lampooning Charlie Weis' collapses. That would get old ... after four years or so.

Ball State's football season perfectly illustrated my problem with ESPN and why I believe the World Wide Leader is the most evil and destructive force in the sports world. It has driven and hastened the destruction of authentic, independent, democratic, courageous sports journalism.

ESPN is the enemy of the truth, and all who believe a pursuit of the truth is the lifeblood of a genuinely free society must stand against the Wal-Mart-ization of sports journalism.

I reached this conclusion when trying to figure out why Ball State quarterback Nate Davis isn't one of the top-five Heisman Trophy candidates and Ball State coach Brady Hoke isn't the front-runner for national coach of the year.

Do not laugh. I'm not on a high from Tuesday night's 45-22 thumping of Western Michigan, which secured Ball State's undefeated regular season and placed my Cardinals in the MAC Championship game. I'm not an overzealous fan. I was cold and rational in August when I told you the Cardinals had the schedule, personnel and maturity to run the table.

And I'm cold and rational now when I tell you that Nate Davis is the best player in college football and Hoke has turned in 2008's best coaching performance. I love Ball State. I'm not willing to lie for Ball State.

If it was 1985 and Sports Illustrated and print journalism were still the institutions driving the conversation in the sports world, a Ball State football alum and a late-night talk-show host wouldn't be the media people telling you about Davis and Hoke.

Believe it or not, before ESPN purchased the majority of relevant sports programming and seduced most of the creative, independent-thinking, connected sports writers to join its evil empire, there was this magical time when substance and the little guy actually had a voice in the sports world.

There was a time when writers would champion guys such as Gordon Lockbaum (fifth in 1986 and third in 1988) and Joe Dudek (ninth in 1985) for the Heisman Trophy. It's difficult to believe now, but in 1982 the 10 top vote-getters were all actually really, really good college football players: Herschel Walker, John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Anthony Carter, David Rimington, Todd Blackledge, Tom Ramsey, Tony Eason, Dan Marino and Mike Rozier.

Yes, back before one television enterprise monopolized the sports world, you actually could put together a serious run at the Heisman even if you weren't the starting quarterback of the top-ranked team Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musberger just anointed.

Since 2000, here are your Heisman Trophy winners: Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Carson Palmer, Jason White, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Troy Smith and Tim Tebow.

Do the 10 guys I named from 1982 form a better group than the eight winners from the new millennium, and if so why?

The conversation about the Heisman Trophy and all things in sports has been dumbed down by the World Wide Leader.

This year the network pretty much decided you had to play quarterback in the Big 12 to be in consideration for the Heisman Trophy. At different times throughout the season, Chase Daniel, Sam Bradford, Graham Harrell and Colt McCoy have been declared the leading candidates to win college sports' most prestigious individual award.

When Oklahoma embarrassed Texas Tech, Bradford shot past Harrell. Here's what's frustrating. I live in Big 12 country. I follow the league and have watched them all play regularly. Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree is the best football player in the Big 12.

Here's what's more frustrating. Not one of the Big 12's quarterbacks is in the same physical ballpark as Ball State's Nate Davis. It's not close. They can't match his arm, instincts, touch, accuracy, presence, ability to move in the pocket, out of the pocket or make plays when things break down.

They can't match his resume. Getting Ball State to 12-0 under the best circumstances is far more difficult than getting Oklahoma to 11-1. I know Ball State's schedule isn't as difficult as Oklahoma's. I also know Bradford is surrounded by far more talent than Davis.

Look, if the sports world didn't operate under the control of a sports-media dictatorship, I wouldn't have to provide you the context. A powerful, unbiased, independent journalist would've traveled to Ball State during the summer and talked with the man who recruited Tom Brady to Michigan (Brady Hoke) and the man who coached Tom Brady at Michigan (Ball State offensive coordinator Stan Parrish).

Hoke and Parrish can put Nate Davis in context more effectively than I can.

If a team goes 12-0 in the MAC and only ESPN's there to see it, does it make a sound? (Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Nate Davis has the tools to be better than Tom Brady. Hoke and Parrish will tell you that, and they absolutely adore Tom Brady.

If you watch Nate Davis play, he looks like the second coming of Brett Favre.

Now, ESPN2 has broadcast Ball State's last four games. The first game I believe Lou Holtz and Mark May provided the color commentary. It was their first real look at Davis, and they were appropriately complimentary and a bit guarded. The second game was against Miami of Ohio and a non-descript B team called the game.

The last two games were against Central Michigan and Western Michigan, two top-40-caliber squads who provided the Cardinals legitimate tests. Ray Bentley, an all-time great at CMU, a former NFL linebacker and a passionate follower of MAC football, was the color commentator.

Unfortunately, ESPN did not require Bentley to leave his Central Michigan pom poms at home. Nor did the network force Bentley to disclose all pertinent information, such as the fact that his son is a walk-on member of the CMU football team and that the Ball State coaching staff declined to offer Bentley's kid a scholarship despite Bentley's request.

If the viewers knew all the relevant information coloring Ray's commentary, then they probably would've understood why Bentley spent the entire Ball State-CMU broadcast pretending that CMU's outstanding MAC quarterback, Dan Lefevour, was on the same level as Ball State's once-in-a-lifetime passer.

As a journalist, it's important that I disclose to you that I love Ball State. When I have a bias, I let you know it in hopes that you will read my commentary in context. I'm hoping most of you reading this realize or remember that I worked at ESPN for many years and parted company (was fired) with the network three years ago primarily after Mike Lupica and "Sports Reporters" producer Joe Valerio made it clear that I would not be allowed to talk about Barry Bonds and steroids in a way they found disagreeable. (There's more to the story and you can Google and find all of the additional background rather easily.)

ESPN is so financially tied to the organizations it covers and so devoid of basic journalistic ethics that it cannot properly analyze the sports world. ESPN just bought the BCS television package. It has a vested interest in promoting all things BCS.

If you're going to televise multiple Big 12 games in primetime on ABC and ESPN, you have every reason to promote the myth that the majority of Heisman Trophy candidates play in the Big 12.

Let me tell you what passes for courage and independent thinking at ESPN. Chris Fowler dropped Ball State out of his AP top-25 ballot last week after the Cardinals beat a then-9-2 Central Michigan team on the road.

I'm not someone who believes Ball State belongs in a BCS bowl game. Any team — not just a mid-major — needs a top-25 victory on its resume before you even begin the BCS argument. We don't have it. Right now, we've earned the right to be ranked — in my opinion — anywhere from No. 18 to 23. If we finish 14-0, I'll be satisfied with a ranking between No. 10 and 15.

What Fowler has done is ridiculous and reeks of the kind of simple-minded arrogance that permeates ESPN. Fowler has had his ass kissed for too many years. He travels around the country during football season and everywhere he goes, there's an Army of BCS sports information directors waiting to kiss his ass and tell him how great "GameDay" is.

He has never been a professional journalist a day in his life. He's a TV personality. He knows what someone else has told him. I'm not 100 percent sure, but I'd suspect he hasn't worn a jock since junior high school.

This is the combination that is killing the sports media. No journalism background, no real athletic experience and no backbone. No clue. Fowler wouldn't make a competent blogger.

"GameDay" and Fowler are unlikely to ever visit Muncie, Ind. ESPN2 televises midweek MAC games in November. Fowler must primarily worry about his reception at BCS institutions. You would not believe how many alleged "journalists" and "media personalities" spend much of their time fretting about whether an SID, a coach or a player likes them. It's an embarrassing obsession among the media.

Fowler knows little about football and nothing about Ball State. His celebrity status justifies his AP vote.

He can't fathom the difficulty of going undefeated in any conference, especially one that is traditionally as evenly matched as the Mid-American Conference.

Brady Hoke built the Ball State football team around two players, Nate Davis and receiver Dante Love. In the fourth week of the season, in the middle of the school's most important game of the season, an Indiana University football player nearly paralyzed Dante Love with a legal and fair hit.

Love lay stretched out on the field motionless for more than 20 minutes. I knew the season was over. Love's career was over. He was Robin to Davis' Batman. Seventy percent of Ball State's offensive playbook was predicated on getting the ball to Love or pretending to give the ball to Love. He returned kickoffs, was our No. 2 tailback and quarterback. He was going to catch 120 passes. NFL scouts loved him.

Hoke and his team adjusted on the fly. Hoke orchestrates the defense. For two years, Davis, Love, Stan Parrish and the offense carried the football.

Brady Hoke and the defense elevated their production and performance from the moment paramedics carted Love off the field. While the offense struggled to score points without Love, the defense kept the opposition out of the end zone and created turnovers.

Ball State is the most disciplined, well-coached team in college football. Check the stats. The Cardinals almost never get penalized. We're the least flagged team in the nation. We're in the top 20 in the country in turnover margin.

Someone like Chris Fowler can't grasp how that helps you win football games. No penalties, no turnovers and Nate Davis are how Ball State would beat the ACC or Big East champions, teams that will play in BCS bowl games.

When you have a great quarterback and a coach who has matured over six years into one of the best in the business, anything is possible, even a school like Ball State being in the BCS discussion.

This story needs to be told. It's an awesome tale with lots of gory details. Hoke is at a university where the administration works pretty much in direct opposition to the success of the football program.

Our school president, Jo Ann Gora, wants to be the face of the university until the moment she lands a job at an elite East Coast university. She stars in the TV commercials aired on ESPN2. Three years ago she delighted in paying the women's basketball coach more money than Brady Hoke, a Ball State alum with very deep roots at the school.

At one time, President Gora had the ideal, liberal sports resume: A female women's basketball coach (Tracy Roller) was the highest paid coach at the school, an angry, spoiled, militant, high-profile black man was the men's basketball coach (Ronny Thompson) and the football coach and his staff were the lowest paid in the conference and didn't have offices.

Roller had a self-admitted mental breakdown and quit shortly after inking her new contract. Thompson claimed Gora's athletic department was racist and quit.

Hoke built one of the nation's best teams, is the MAC's eighth-highest-paid coach and still doesn't have his own office.

Stories like Hoke's and Davis' used to define my profession and enrich our enjoyment of sports. Now we're fed a steady diet of Donovan McNabb didn't know games could end in a tie and fake Red Sox press conferences.

Sports media is dying by suicide and ESPN is Dr. Jack Kevorkian. You're dying, too. ESPN just hasn't told you yet.

unothadeal
11-27-2008, 05:44 PM
So now you're sleeping with Whitlock?

luv
11-27-2008, 05:46 PM
So now you're sleeping with Whitlock?

C'mon. I sleep with everyone I quote. The ones who write the articles I post have paid me.

'Hamas' Jenkins
11-27-2008, 05:48 PM
That was a hell of a rant, very accurate, but he also should have disclosed his departure from ESPN when talking about biases.

RandilKC
11-27-2008, 05:50 PM
2300 fucking words?

Whitlock is a windbag.

Ari Chi3fs
11-27-2008, 05:54 PM
Wow. Whitlock is spewing venom in this article. Wow, you can feel his hate for ESPN. Bitter much?

Skip Towne
11-27-2008, 05:55 PM
I gather ESPN fired fat boy.

Stewie
11-27-2008, 05:56 PM
Any time someone skewers that POS ESPN, it works for me. This was obviously written before he got any of his momma's sweet tater pie and he was grumpy.

milkman
11-27-2008, 05:58 PM
That was a hell of a rant, very accurate, but he also should have disclosed his departure from ESPN when talking about biases.

I gather ESPN fired fat boy.

He does disclose his firing in the article.

As a journalist, it's important that I disclose to you that I love Ball State. When I have a bias, I let you know it in hopes that you will read my commentary in context. I'm hoping most of you reading this realize or remember that I worked at ESPN for many years and parted company (was fired)

Mecca
11-27-2008, 06:07 PM
2300 fucking words?

Whitlock is a windbag.

Really..so how is what he's saying wrong here?

RandilKC
11-27-2008, 06:09 PM
Really..so how is what he's saying wrong here?

I agree with him to a certain extent but jesus christ, 2300 fucking words.

luv
11-27-2008, 06:11 PM
I agree with him to a certain extent but jesus christ, 2300 fucking words.

Adds to the effect that he was venting.

Deberg_1990
11-27-2008, 06:17 PM
So ESPN is now on the same level of evil as Microsoft and Wal Mart??

kstater
11-27-2008, 06:19 PM
Sour Grapes and Homerism at its finest.

DenverDanChiefsFan
11-27-2008, 06:26 PM
Does anyone have the cliff notes version? I quit after the 1st paragraph.

My attention span isn't as good when I have been drinking.

milkman
11-27-2008, 06:29 PM
Does anyone have the cliff notes version? I quit after the 1st paragraph.

My attention span isn't as good when I have been drinking.

Nate Davis should be a Heisman candidate.
Brady Hoke should be the coach of the year.
ESPN and all the sportswriters that sold out to ESPN suck.

dirk digler
11-27-2008, 06:30 PM
Is this Ball State QB as good as Jwhit says he is?

milkman
11-27-2008, 06:31 PM
Is this Ball State QB as good as Jwhit says he is?

I finally saw him or the first time last week, so it isn't much to go on, but he did look pretty damn good.

Mecca
11-27-2008, 06:32 PM
Is this Ball State QB as good as Jwhit says he is?

As a college player? yea he's really good....

But cmon now when he points out something like Chris Fowler not putting an undefeated team in his top 25, that's an issue. Apparently Utah and Boise have no place being ranked either under that thinking.

dirk digler
11-27-2008, 06:33 PM
I finally saw him or the first time last week, so it isn't much to go on, but he did look pretty damn good.

As a college player? yea he's really good....

But cmon now when he points out something like Chris Fowler not putting an undefeated team in his top 25, that's an issue. Apparently Utah and Boise have no place being ranked either under that thinking.

I just read a piece from a couple of weeks ago suggesting this guy could be the one of first QB's taken in the draft next year.

Possibility with the Chiefs if Stafford is gone?

Mecca
11-27-2008, 06:34 PM
He's not going to go THAT high unless something strange happens.

dirk digler
11-27-2008, 06:35 PM
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/78227-dont-laugh-ball-states-nate-davis-could-be-top-qb-in-the-2009-nfl-draft-class


Don't Laugh: Ball State's Nate Davis Could Be Top QB in the 2009 NFL Draft Class

No, I'm not kidding!

Nate Davis, QB of the 9-0, No. 17 Ball State Cardinals, could be one of the first QBs taken in the 2009 NFL Draft!
While many college football fans may be unaware of this fact, the MAC (Mid-American Conference) is known for producing some pretty good NFL-caliber quarterbacks in recent years.

If Davis, who is a junior, decides to turn pro after this season, many experts project him to be around the third-best QB prospect in the 2009 NFL Draft, behind only Georgia's senior QB Matthew Stafford and Florida's Tim Tebow, also a junior.

Overall, next year's class isn't very deep or strong at the quarterback position, so it would be a bit surprising if Davis doesn't declare himself eligible for the 2009 NFL Draft.

The nation as a whole may not have been aware of how good Davis and his Ball State Cardinals are, but their appearance on ESPN2 on Wednesday night in a nationally broadcast game surely changed that for those who watched.

dirk digler
11-27-2008, 06:38 PM
He's not going to go THAT high unless something strange happens.

Just watched some videos on him he does have an impressive arm and is mobile and has good size

Agent V
11-27-2008, 06:57 PM
What Fowler has done is ridiculous and reeks of the kind of simple-minded arrogance that permeates ESPN. Fowler has had his ass kissed for too many years. He travels around the country during football season and everywhere he goes, there's an Army of BCS sports information directors waiting to kiss his ass and tell him how great "GameDay" is.

He has never been a professional journalist a day in his life. He's a TV personality. He knows what someone else has told him. I'm not 100 percent sure, but I'd suspect he hasn't worn a jock since junior high school.
QFT.

Thig Lyfe
11-27-2008, 07:07 PM
So ESPN is now on the same level of evil as Microsoft and Wal Mart??

Almost.

chiefs1111
11-27-2008, 07:08 PM
He's not going to go THAT high unless something strange happens.

where do you think he will go??

DJJasonp
11-27-2008, 07:38 PM
Kudos for Whit taking shots at the East Coast Sports Network.

ANyone with the guts to take on ESPN has my support.

If the NFL didnt have a salary cap (and 2 other networks covering it) - they would destroy that league much the same as they have the NBA (the Lebron and Kobe league) and the MLB (yankees and Red Sox League).

If I have to explain "destroyed"...then you havent been paying attention.

I seriously dont watch any highlight or news show by that POS network anymore.

come to think of it - they've had a hand in destroying the NHL as well (highlights IF they have the time).

ESPN has gone the way of Cable News networks....where made-up stories (who is the coach of the year after week 4???) and then "expert" pundits are brought in to argue for or against.

It's sad really.

Makes you understand why Ocho Cinco and TO, etc.....all do what they do.....because if they didnt....they'd be Marvin Harrison (and have millions less in endorsements, much less camera/interview time, etc. etc.)

bango
11-27-2008, 08:09 PM
I agree with him to a certain extent but jesus christ, 2300 ****ing words.

Maybe they pay him per letter.

EyePod
11-27-2008, 09:22 PM
Kudos for Whit taking shots at the East Coast Sports Network.

ANyone with the guts to take on ESPN has my support.

If the NFL didnt have a salary cap (and 2 other networks covering it) - they would destroy that league much the same as they have the NBA (the Lebron and Kobe league) and the MLB (yankees and Red Sox League).

If I have to explain "destroyed"...then you havent been paying attention.

I seriously dont watch any highlight or news show by that POS network anymore.

come to think of it - they've had a hand in destroying the NHL as well (highlights IF they have the time).

ESPN has gone the way of Cable News networks....where made-up stories (who is the coach of the year after week 4???) and then "expert" pundits are brought in to argue for or against.

It's sad really.

Makes you understand why Ocho Cinco and TO, etc.....all do what they do.....because if they didnt....they'd be Marvin Harrison (and have millions less in endorsements, much less camera/interview time, etc. etc.)

Well Harrison is a millionare and he's won a Super Bowl. TO and Chad haven't done that. SB means more in my book.

'Hamas' Jenkins
11-27-2008, 09:31 PM
He does disclose his firing in the article.

Probably a good idea that I took a nap right after reading this, as I totally overlooked that part despite reading the entire article.

I still think that he's totally on the mark here.

And Claythan, there is nothing wrong with prodigious writing. Hell, Bill Simmons regularly churns out 4-6000 word columns for ESPN.

FWIW, if you want to hear more about ESPN fucktardery, read about ESPN censoring Simmons because he had a porn star in a fantasy basketball league of his.

'Hamas' Jenkins
11-27-2008, 09:36 PM
I just read a piece from a couple of weeks ago suggesting this guy could be the one of first QB's taken in the draft next year.

Possibility with the Chiefs if Stafford is gone?

That would be a hellacious reach.

Fruit Ninja
11-27-2008, 09:55 PM
I dont even watch espn at all anymore unless there is a game on i want to watch. Espn is freaking horrible now days. well, i lie, i watch PTI once every 2 weeks or so.

how many times do you see Yankee and Red Sox games on throughout the year. They force that shit down your throat. I just gave up on them as a tv channel. Espn.com isnt half bad as you can go directly to the scores and pick out what team highlights you want to watch.

Deberg_1990
11-27-2008, 10:43 PM
ESPN has gone the way of Cable News networks....where made-up stories (who is the coach of the year after week 4???) and then "expert" pundits are brought in to argue for or against.



They had a story on the front page of their website the other day:


"Where will LeBron land?" or something like that. Hes not even a free agent until 2010.

Unbelievable.

They do this sort of crap all the time.

Mecca
11-27-2008, 10:46 PM
ESPN stresses the entertainment part of their name these days.....Hockey is a sport yet they don't show it..I figure a sports network would you know show sports?

Now every guy on Sportscenter or ESPN news thinks he's a comedian doing highlights. It's all about big name stars and big market teams being promoted, big markets drive big ratings.

Deberg_1990
11-27-2008, 10:47 PM
ESPN stresses the entertainment part of their name these days.....Hockey is a sport yet they don't show it..I figure a sports network would you know show sports?

Now every guy on Sportscenter or ESPN news thinks he's a comedian doing highlights. It's all about big name stars and big market teams being promoted, big markets drive big ratings.


They are owned by Disney now correct?? Hmmmm....that could explain alot.

dtebbe
11-27-2008, 11:36 PM
This is why I haven't watched Sportscenter for years now. ESPN sucks balls. And don't even get me started on captain combover.

DT

Bob Dole
11-28-2008, 06:31 AM
ESPN is for people who don't have the attention span to read and/or comprehend a 2000+ word article.

MahiMike
11-28-2008, 07:11 AM
So ESPN is now on the same level of evil as Microsoft and Wal Mart??

Yes, I agree. They've transformed how we watch sports. The stories on McNabb and Favre are out of control and just quick examples of how the media treats the players. I feel sorry for the kids trying to come up today. If there's any dirt to be found, they will. They are athletes - not politicians.

blaise
11-28-2008, 07:57 AM
I seldom watch ESPN, except for live sporting events. I can't stand the way they try and take credit for every story that breaks. If FOX sports or Yahoo breaks a story ESPN, an hour later, will say "Chris Mortensen confirms that..." to give the appearance that they broke the story. It's very shady.
They fire Limbaugh for saying Donovan McNabb is overrated because he's black, and yet when Michael Irvin worked for ESPN I heard him sit right next to Dan Patrick and say Chris Hovan was overrated because he's white with no reaction. (and I'm not saying either is right, just that there's hypocrisy).
They put on guys like Skip Bayless and Jay Mariotti, whose opinions are so obviously contrived half the time it's ridiculous. They make statments just to try and stir stuff up, and many times it contradicts beliefs they supposedly had the prior month.
I once heard a soundbyte from John Kruk from a radio show in Detroit or Minneapolis or somehwere. They asked him about a playoff prediction he made around the All Star break where he said their team wouldn't make the playoffs. He said that he did think they would make the playoffs but ESPN producers told him he had to pick another team because they wanted there to be an argument on the set.
The whole network is so over-produced and shady and fake. Deadspin also ran a story last year about a supposed contest ESPN had where college football fans were supposed to send in "zany fan tapes". Someone from ESPN let it out that some of the tapes they were showing were actually done by ESPN staffers on ESPN time and made to appear like they were from regular people.

Short Leash Hootie
11-28-2008, 08:47 AM
As for Mariotti and Bayless...

I hate them both because they think they are bigger than the sports they cover.

Dumb. Both of them.

StcChief
11-28-2008, 09:22 AM
ESPN is for people who don't have the attention span to read and/or comprehend a 2000+ word article.exactly.
ESPN is a POS. Truly about "entertainment" not sports reporting.