Jeff Pearlman

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Jemele

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Jemele Hill did nothing wrong.

I’ll say that twice: Jemele Hill did nothing wrong.

Her job is to opine on sports. She opined on sports.

What this is—what this truly is—is the continued wussification of ESPN, a place with declining ratings and a panicky PR department and a desperate need to please its daddy, the National Football League. So, after Jemele rightly explained, via Twitter, how customers could fight back against Jerry Jones by no longer purchasing his product, someone from the NFL undoubtedly called ESPN to complain. Loudly. Angrily. Threateningly.

Now, Jemele is suspended for two weeks.

This is the thing: Nobody wins here, except for Donald (Five Deferments) Trump, who can say, “See! Look at the movement I’m leading!” ESPN’s ratings will continue to sag, just because there are 1,000 other channels and nobody needs SportsCenter. Jemele is sorta stuck, because Fox Sports is a steaming pile of shit, CNNSI hasn’t existed since the Eric Gagne heyday and there aren’t a dozen other networks itching for her talents (though there probably should be. She’s excellent). Jerry Jones looks like an ass-wipe, and I’m desperately hoping the top 20 African-American Cowboys call his bullshit and kneel before the next game (This critique from Damon Young is blisteringly good).

We’re all just living in this suspended animation that is America: 2017.

I hate it.

I fucking hate it.

  • Bob Roberts

    The same companies that sponsor and advertise with the Cowboys also sponsor and advertise the NFL and ESPN itself.
    You just had an article published by CNN. If in that article you called for the boycott of companies that advertise with CNN, do you really think that that article would have been published or do you think that you would have been firmly rejected?
    Number one rule of employment is to not cost your employer money.

  • Paul C

    I agree with Jemele Hill’s points, and see nothing wrong with her statements, I don’t think it’s the content of her tweets per se that caused the (in my opinion ill-considered and craven) suspension. She was suspended because she was told in essence to “protect the shield” of ESPN, and it appears deliberately disobeyed that instruction.

    We are all making the mistake of assuming that ESPN is a “journalistic” enterprise. It’s not. It certainly employs some fine journalists, including Jemele Hill, but it’s in fact a business and entertainment enterprise, for which journalism is a rare and happy accident, to provide a fig leaf of respectability as long as it’s not too dangerous to the company’s business interests.

    Interestingly, Screamin’ A. Smith and Sarah Spain, among others, unabashedly defended her on the air. I don’t think they’re going to be suspended. Would Jemele Hill have been suspended had she editorialized on her show, rather than express herself in the “Tweeterverse”?

    • Bob Roberts

      She called for a boycott against the Cowboys and their advertisers and sponsors. These same advertisers and sponsors also spend money to advertise on ESPN and the NFL is ESPN’s top contract. No company in the world is going to sit idly by while one of their own employees is calling for actions that are going to hurt the companies bottom line.

    • TO BLACKS

      STFU, YOU NI GGER LOVING P OF F UCKING SHIT

  • TO BLACKS

    F UCKING DIRTY PAVEMENT APE NI GGER

Showtime Book
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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life