When basketball star LeBron James was ready to announce where he was going to play basketball next year, he suggested to ESPN that he do it in an hour long special they could air called “The Decision”. I wonder what other profound names they fed to the pigs to see what got shit back out: “A Complete Waste of 60 Minutes”, “Insult to Our Intelligence”, “The LeBron James Dancing Bear Variety Hour”, “Can You Believe The Shit They Put on TV” or “’What Else is on Theater’ Starring The Who Gives a Rat’s Ass Players”.
Since it took LeBron 3 seconds to say he was going to Miami, they only had 59 minutes and 57 seconds of air time to fill with sneaker commercials and prattle from the network’s legion of talking bobbleheads.
This fiasco was LeBron’s idea and I understand why ESPN said yes. James is a singular talent and the organization he chose to play for instantly became the favorite to win the NBA championship next year. They knew basketball fans all over the world would watch. That means high ratings, which translates into money which sets the suits in their ivory towers all aquiver and leaves them sweating bourbon back into their glass of ice. In the end “The Decision” was nothing more than an ode to narcissism and it left a bad taste in every sports fan’s mouth.
I’m surprised that no one at ESPN has suggested making The Decision a weekly show. For example: This week on The Decision Shaquille O’Neal decides which team to beg for a contract allowing him one more year of non-production for which he will get paid more money than some small countries have in reserve. Don’t miss next week when the Cincinnati Bengals decide to thumb their nose at the wrath of God and sign Terrell Owens for a year.
ESPN has recently compounded their affront to journalism by spending an entire day reporting AS A FACT that Brett Favre had told the Minnesota Vikings that he was retiring from the NFL. The next day we find out it was nothing more than a rumor which Brett eventually denied by saying “I have not made a final decision because I’m a prima donna drama queen who milks TV time like a farmer’s cool, morning hand on a cow’s teats.” I’m paraphrasing but that’s what I heard.
I watched and listened to some of the coverage because it was inescapable if you’re a sports fan. ESPN tied our hands and feet to an uncomfortable vinyl-covered kitchen chair using coarse horse-hair rope and held us hostage. ESPN was definitely not reporting it as a rumor. They were acting as if it were a foregone conclusion. The only reason to report it this way is the same reason they aired “The Decision”: ratings.
So while ESPN has always been about making money like any network is, lately they have become the French whores of the sports world, selling themselves for little more than a baguette and a verse of the Marseillaise.