In a stunning development, SportsbyBrooks breaks news that ESPN has suspended one of its writers, Bruce Feldman. If you haven’t followed the story, you’re wondering if Bruce violated one of ESPN’s journalistic protocols. Or did he commit plagiarism? Or did he fail to source a quote? Or was he insubordinate to his bosses? Apparently none of these.
According to SportsbyBrooks, Feldman committed the sin of writing the biography of former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. In it, Leach criticized ESPN for its coverage of his firing. Leach wasn’t happy how the network also covered the controversy involving the treatment of son of ESPN college football analyst Craig James. Feldman wasn’t totally assured of writing the book due to his association with ESPN, but he got his bosses’ blessing.
But after the book was released this week, ESPN brass wasn’t happy. And despite Feldman not promoting the book on his Twitter account, on ESPN.com or any ESPN platform, he was suspended indefinitely and cannot post on Twitter, or anything associated with ESPN.
Feldman has received plenty of support from fellow writers on Twitter through a #freebruce hashtag. In addition, both Sports Illustrated and CBSSports.com sought comment and none is forthcoming. And you add to the fact that ESPN staffers have been told to keep quiet shows you how the Alleged Worldwide Leader is acting on this matter.
ESPN has chosen some strange battles to fight and this is one of them. The reaction to Feldman’s suspension has been 100% in favor of him. Now, we don’t have ESPN’s side of this story and many writers and bloggers are waiting for a statement. Whether it comes in the near future is anyone’s guess.
My favorite tweet reacting to the suspension comes from Dan Wolken, sports columnist for the online newspaper, The Daily:
ESPN has employed multiple plagiarists and they draw the line at Bruce Feldman? Nice work, WWL
Of course, that makes reference to noted plagiarist Mike Barnicle whose debut for Grantland this week falls under scrutiny.
Feldman joined ESPN.com in 1994 and helped to shape what the site has become today. He’s been one of the best writers on its staff and been seen on various ESPN programming through the years.
This reaction by ESPN makes it look like a paranoid behemoth. Here’s hoping the support for Feldman will be seen by ESPN and the decision is reversed very soon.