Tag Archives: SportsCenter

ESPN Writer Berates Towing Firm Worker: Britt McHenry

By Ellen Chlumecky

April 20, 2015

It seems like recently more people of distinction are making degrading comments on Twitter, posting inappropriate pictures on Facebook, or literally getting caught on camera saying degrading things. In the case of Britt McHenry, it was the latter.


Britt McHenry is a sports reporter who currently works for ESPN. She has served as a correspondent for various shows such as SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, NFL Live, and Baseball Tonight. As one can see from the video, she was clearly irate with the towing firm worker. While I along with many other people could understand her frustration of her car being towed, I don’t know how many people would talk to a worker that way. She stated that she would sue the place, adding a few curse words here and there.

ESPN suspended her for a week. One week. One week for being demeaning, using derogatory comments, commenting on the workers’ weight, teeth, class, and education, and being generally disrespectful to someone who was trying to do their job. While some people say that celebrities shouldn’t feel as much pressure to behave just because they’re celebrities, I believe that they should treat others as decent human beings. McHenry was furthest from treating that woman as a decent human being. Being frustrated is one thing, it’s actually using hateful words to hurt someone emotionally takes it to a truly horrible level.

She did post a Facebook apology. She said, “In an intense and stressful moment, I allowed my emotions to get the best of me and some said insulting and regrettable things. As frustrated as I was, I should always choose to be respectful and take the high road. I am so sorry for my actions and will learn from this mistake.” All of this sounds like an apology right out of a public relations management handbook.

There’s also a bunch of cover ups saying that the video was edited and that the media was quick to judge her. Mediaite.com said that it seemed too odd that the woman being yelled at had no comments to make during the entire video. They are convinced that the video must’ve been edited in which the woman’s insults were unheard as well.

Whichever the case may be, it was inappropriate for anyone whether or not they’re on a national news channel. It makes me upset that we can’t live in a world that can’t treat people with respect. No matter what profession you are or what your class is, you need to treat people with respect and decency.

ESPN throws Freeman under the Bus


The day after a Monday Night Football game, SportsCenter usually starts off by airing highlights from the game, analysis, and post game press conferences from the winning team. This was not the case this past Tuesday following a hard to watch Monday Night Football game involving the Giants and the Vikings.

SportsCenter began with a small montage of Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman getting sacked, overthrowing receivers, and analysts verbally ripping the quarterback to shreds.

ESPN focused on the inadequacies of a quarterback who has only been with the team for two weeks instead of the Vikings coaching and management that set him up for failure on a nationally televised game.

ESPN could have decided to lead SportsCenter with reaction of the New York Giants notching their first win, highlights from the three NHL hockey games from the night before (all decided by one goal), or even a preview of the World Series. 

Instead, ESPN put a dunce hat on the NFL quarterback that underperformed and has made, the once promising prospect, now the laughing stock of the league instead of the people in power that set him up for failure.

Embrace debate helping or hurting ESPN


Is it more important for a show to be defined by creditability and integrity, or by ratings and attention? That is the issue for ESPN2’s two-hour morning show, First Take, starring Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. Initially, this program was designed to be a lighter, general interest counterpart to ESPN’s Sportscenter. But the ratings never supported the format and First Take was in danger of being canceled. But then came Tim Tebow and the show went from respectable, but irreverent to a joke with high ratings.

The show’s tagline “embrace debate” has caused conflict among the ESPN networks. This show should be a flop considering the personalities of it stars. Stephen A. Smith is a loudmouth who wins arguments by talking louder than everyone else in the room. Skip Bayless is considered by many to be a joke. He takes the unpopular opinion just to get attention, not because his opinion is actually logical and correct. He uses his daily two-hour platform to openly cheer for Tebow, call LeBron James overrated and challenge athletes to “debate” him.

Last week, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman took the bait and debated Bayless. Sherman’s main adjective was ripping Bayless during their entire debate. And while Bayless-haters believe this was a win for Sherman, this was really a win for Bayless and First Take. In fact, as ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd explains, this was a “walk-off grand slam” for Bayless because Sherman gave Bayless an endless amount of free promotion and attention.

According to ESPN, First Take has increased its total viewership by 21 percent between 2011 and 2012. The big number is their target audience of males, ages 18-34, which is very attractive to advertisers. Between 2011 and 2012, First Take gained 32 percent in viewership in the male 18-34 demographic.

Given the show’s success, it has impacted viewership for SportsCenter. According to Nielsen data, Sportscenter (10-11 a.m.) led First Take in ratings by 636,000 viewers in September 2011. However, the difference between the two shows decreased dramatically as First Take offered more time to Tim Tebow when he was quarterback for the Denver Broncos. By March 2012, when Tim Tebow was traded to the New York Jets, Sportscenter only led by 182,000 viewers according to Nielson data. First Take is no longer a secondary option; it became Sportscenter’s competition.

Since that time, the morning Sportscenter has taken on a debate flair of its own. Most recently, ESPN analysts debated which win streaks between the NBA’s Miami Heat and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks is better.

First Take has certainly put a dark cloud over ESPN and its flagship program. This is ill-timed considering it will have competition later this year from Fox Sports 1, Fox’s new 24-hour sports network. The ratings are certainly increasing, however the ESPN and Sportscenter brands are losing creditability by the day. The answer is not eliminating First Take as many media writers have suggested. Instead, the morning Sportscenter must improve the quality of its show so it’s not competing with its ESPN2 counterpart. Limit the worthless debate segments and present an intelligent program that Sportscenter is capable of producing.