July 15, 2011

ESPN Suspends Writer for Leach Book: ESPN has indefinitely suspended college football writer Bruce Feldman for contributing to Mike Leach's autobiography Swing Your Sword, SportsByBrooks reports. After being fired by Texas Tech following a dispute with his player Adam James, the son of ESPN analyst Craig James, Leach has sued ESPN and a public relations firm hired by Craig James for libel and slander. Though Feldman got ESPN's permission beforehand to work on the project and has not used any of his ESPN platforms to promote it, he was punished in a conference call Thursday, prompting a furious response from other sportswriters.

posted by BornIcon to general at 02:47 PM - 11 comments

ESPN suspends employee for reporting.

posted by yerfatma at 10:19 AM on July 15, 2011

Wow, there are some pretty amazing comments in that SportsByBrooks link.

posted by NoMich at 10:52 AM on July 15, 2011

So, Feldman helped Leach write his autobiography, and that's a firing offense because . . .

I'm missing something.

posted by bperk at 10:52 AM on July 15, 2011

Here's the best summary so far.

"I read the book on the plane Thursday night, and unlike every other piece of evidence cited by ESPN in their coverage of Leach's firing from Texas Tech, Leach's claims are documented. It's all right there in a series of emails included in an appendix, and in the sworn testimony collected from depositions. Like a good reporter or litigator, Leach builds his case, a case heard on CBSSports.com, CNNSI.com, SBNation.com, and a hundred other sites. One of those sites not listed is ESPN.com."

posted by yerfatma at 10:53 AM on July 15, 2011

This dovetails nicely with our recent conversation about how ESPN has lost its compass. Anyone figure out what Feldman did wrong?

posted by rcade at 02:59 PM on July 15, 2011

Other than played nice with Mike Leach?

posted by NoMich at 03:08 PM on July 15, 2011

And with ESPN's consent.

Lawsuit anyone?

posted by BornIcon at 03:13 PM on July 15, 2011

Now ESPN has apparently issued the following statement:

There was never any suspension or any other form of disciplinary action. We took the time to review his upcoming work assignments in light of the book to which he contributed and will manage any conflicts or other issues as needed. Bruce has resumed his assignments.

As others have pointed out, why does one "resume" assignments if he/she was never suspended in the first place, and why did it take ESPN 18+ hours to respond to comment?

posted by holden at 03:46 PM on July 15, 2011

To paraphrase what I said in an earlier post: ESPN is not a "journalism organization." It's freaking entertainment, and that's all.

However, given the state of journalism in general, I might need to rethink that. Getting your panties bunched up because someone does not agree with you or says something different is kind of how most "journalism" works today.

posted by graymatters at 04:40 PM on July 15, 2011

Sad that influence peddling by Craig James and ESPN continues to cause harm to all involved in this situation. No winners here, only losers - including the James family, ESPN, Leach, and the Texas Tech football program.

Coach Leach was pretty decent at what he did; if Adam James didn't get playing time it's because he didn't deserve it. There appears to be a whole lot of evidence pointing to Adam being a marginally talented player who didn't work at his game but yet felt entitled.

James and ESPN remind me of the neighborhood kid who takes his ball home in the middle of a pickup game because he isn't getting enough touches.

posted by cixelsyd at 05:47 PM on July 15, 2011

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