Protecting the Shield: Why ESPN Can't be Trusted to Cover the NFL (Truthout)

This excerpt is from an article published at Truthout.

Protecting the Shield: Why ESPN Can't Be Trusted to Cover the NFL
Sunday, 27 September 2015                       
By Michael Corcoran, Truthout | News Analysis

The National Football League (NFL) is not merely a sports league that helps entertain the US public. While football is just a game, the NFL is a major institutional power that uses billions of tax dollars to subsidize its owners, tries to weaken unions in courts and is potentially complicit in an increasingly disturbing mental health crisis among its workforce. In light of this, the league warrants close scrutiny and investigation from the media.

The organization that should be the most important watchdog of the league is ESPN, which as the largest sports media company in the world has the resources and reach to truly serve as a check on the league's power. Unfortunately, ESPN is too compromised to be trusted in this role. Its NFL broadcasts are worth billions, and an examination of its coverage shows that ESPN's priorities are not investigating the league, but protecting it.

In early September, Judge Richard Berman nullified the NFL's four-game suspension of famed quarterback Tom Brady. The suspension, affirmed by the league's commissioner, Roger Goodell, was for Brady's alleged role in the "Deflategate" scandal - arguably one of the most ridiculous cases in the history of US jurisprudence.

The judge ruled against the NFL on September 3 for not giving Brady a fair hearing in his appeal, and for punishing him for a rule that doesn't exist: alleged "general awareness" of an alleged equipment violation (deflating air out of a football). In two brutal hearings in open court (August 12 and August 19), Berman ripped the NFL's lack of due process and its "independent" report, aimed at rubber-stamping Goodell's "own brand of industrial justice," as Berman called it.

Read the rest at Truthout