Since we've moved to the night shift here at the Banner, I've taken to spending my mornings (OK, afternoons -- I don't get up 'til 12 or so) watching ESPN and ESPN2. I'm a sportswriter, so I call it research. My fiancée calls that a load of bull.
But that's not the point. I try to catch anywhere from an hour to four hours. (You can't be too prepared.) I need to catch the highlights of the night before, what's going on in the pennant races, who's going to be the Chiefs' starter, etc. I want sports news, and I want lots of it.
So imagine my anger this morning when I turned it on and began getting coverage of the Michael Vick case from every possible angle.
"No matter," I thought. "This, too, shall pass. I'll just go back to bed."
So I did, and slept another three hours.
Then when I got up again, IT WAS STILL ON!
I switched from ESPN, to ESPN 2, then back to ESPN. Not only where they showing coverage of this same tired, played out story, they were showing exactly the same thing at exactly the same time.
Sorry, boys. You don't need two networks for that.
So I left it on, thinking it would pass soon enough. It didn't. It was a Michael Vick dogfighting bonanza.
The following are just a few of the angles I saw covered: How does this affect the Falcons on the field? How does this affect the Falcons financially? How long will Vick likely have to spend in prison? Will he have to do prison time? How long will his suspension be? Will he play football again? Will the Falcons pursue his signing bonus? How much will they seek? How much will they get? How do whites and blacks in Atlanta differ in how they view this? How do people in Newport News, Va., view this? How is this like the Rodney King beating? (Huh?) How did the league office take Vick's apology?
The list continues, but here's the real point. This isn't sports news -- at least not directly. I tune in to ESPN to see game highlights, not this. If I want this, I'll watch CourtTV or that crazy woman Nancy Grace.
All told, in about three hours, I saw about five minutes of actual sports coverage. That's sickening.
Here's my advice to ESPN: let it go. The Vick case can be covered adequately in about five minutes on each episode of SportsCenter. After that, go back to what you do best, and cover sports.