To follow up on Wednesday’s piece, I believe sports media in general is in trouble. It is bad enough that the content on these platforms is boring. And many like me believe there is too much talk on social issues, politics, and non-sports related topics on sports talk shows of late.
There is no denying people who have no business in sport want to change the game. But there is no reason those like Black Lives Matter, or US President Donald Trump, get as much attention as they do. Those things you would expect from outlets like Huffington Post, Vice, and TMZ, not Sportsnet, TSN, or ESPN. When I see Kate Beirness on TV, I don’t want her to sound like Joy Behr.
Former Blue Jays catcher Gregg Zaun is one of the best commentators in the business. Earlier this month he was fired by Sportsnet for allegations of sexual harassment. The loss of Zaun means one less commentator who tells it like it is. Despite his critics, Zaun has been great at talking about the state of the Blue Jays in a way the average Joe can understand. I am starting to believe his firing was less about sexual harassment and more about political correctness. This to me is dangerous. It is one thing to use your position to exploit someone, but if people can get others fired simply because they don’t like what you say, that’s a red flag.
On the other side, Ken Campbell of the Hockey News posted on Twitter that the CBC should not have assigned analyst Cassie Campbell-Pascall to call the Oilers-Flames game in Calgary. He claims there was an apparent “conflict of interest” as Cassie is married to Flames’ Assistant General Manager Brad Pascall. Boy, did that set things off. Based on the reaction, you would have thought the tweet came from Donald Trump. Campbell has since deleted the post but here’s a snapshot of what he said. I am guessing Campbell is realizing no one gives a damn about conflict of interest, perceived or real, unless it involves Trump. And Cassie is not Donald.
Controversies like these are a way of getting people’s attention. But it will only last as long as minor penalty. Then you will have listeners and viewers shouting at the radio or television saying What the F***!
Recently, there have been cuts at local CTV stations and newspapers. Readers and viewers have depended on these outlets to get to know how their sports teams are doing. A lot are not what you would say “major league” sports but they are an important part of the community. Now, that has all but been eliminated and people are now resorting to getting their sports from (guess where?) the sports channels and major newspapers. Simply put, small town papers and stations are the ones paying for the poor content in big markets. It would be like if Maple Leafs finish last, no one will blame management that did poorly in acquiring players, it will be the ushers and ticket takers that end up losing their jobs.
I’m in the media business as well as the sports business. I should know a thing or two when it comes to what people like and expect to see and hear on a sports show. I don’t expect everyone to agree with what I say (including this piece here). But what you will hear from me is about sports and I am not going to waste your time talking about on another athlete who chose to kneel during the American national anthem. It is time to get sports media back to talking sports.