ESPN SportsGuy Bill Simmons had arranged to have Half-Brother Senator Barack Obama on his podcast last Friday.
For some reason, the WWL pulled the plug.
"At the last minute, network executives killed a podcast with the senator that was scheduled for Friday with host Bill Simmons. "
Certainly, some of our lesser evolved readers will question why ESPN would provide a platform for politics. At face value, that seems like a fair question.
ESPN had both Kerry and Bush on their network last go round, so clearly the precedence has been set. Additionally, the Half Brother was a bit of a playground hoops legend growing up; so a sports connection is not out of the realm of interest.
"Griped one source, "They landed the hottest politician in 50 years, and they couldn't even see the interview through? This is insanity."
Yes, the wasted opportunity does beg some unavoidable questions. Motive?
"It's of interest that ESPN president George Bodenheimer has supported Republican Sen. John McCain's presidential bid with a donation of $1,000."
Of course, ESPN had a quick answer for this.
"But ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz told us: "It's absolutely not an issue about any one candidate. Our position is that when they're down to the final two candidates, we'll look for options to interview each accordingly. Fans don't expect political coverage on our air."
So, when ESPN can focus more on McCain, they will provide coverage. Additionally, if fans don't expect political coverage on the WWL....why provide it?
This is an alarming development. ESPN has made it's fortune marketing itself on the backs of the Negro athlete. The most recognizeable personalities on both the network and the website are Negro (Stu, Steven A., Scoop). Clearly, this shunning of Half-Brother Barry sends a signal as to the true interests of the network.
Perhaps the most disheartening revelation in all this:
"It's not the first time the sports network has canceled an appearance by the Democratic front-runner. According to a campaign source, a television interview set up with host Stu Scott was canceled by higher-ups as well. "
That's right. An ESPN higher up deprived us of the chance to witness history. A chance to be a part of an unprecedented event.
We can only wait and see. But we have a suspicion that ESPN won't interfere with a Rece Davis - John McCain interview.
Cancelling on Obama once might be taken simply as a meaningless event. Cancelling a second time is clearly a slap in the face directed as a full frontal assault on not only the Campaign for Change, but, on all of Negro America. A double pronged attacked, finding its mark on both Obama and Scott. A clear indication that ESPN does not condone a Negro Presidential candidate. And a clearer indication that ESPN will not allow Scott to expand his broadcasting credentials, possibly out of fear that he will leave the network behind and take his talents on into the broader news broadcasting spectrum.
One day, maybe not in our lifetime...but one day, we will see a Negro sportscaster conduct a political interview with a Negro Presidential candidate on a sports network.
Yes, we can change.