Mike Leach book at center of outrage over ESPN reaction

Update: ESPN now claims Feldman was never suspended.

Our friends over at the monolith that is the  World Wide Leader has embroiled itself into quite the sticky wicket. No, we’re not talking about Chris Berman’s bombastic commentary during the meaningless Home Run Derby. No, we’re not talking about the consistently vapid and self-congratulatory ESPYs.

Instead, we’re talking about ESPN’s decision to indefinitely suspend college football writer Bruce Feldman for participating in the autobiography of former Texas Tech head coach (and former Kentucky assistant) Mike Leach, even though the WWL had given Feldman permission to participate on the project.

Sports By Brooks broke the story of Feldman’s suspension. At issue is Leach’s claims in the book that ESPN hyped the story of his controversial interaction with Red Raider player Adam Jones because Jones is the son of ESPN football analyst Craig James. Even though ESPN approved Feldman’s participation in the book, the WWL did not like what the book had to say. So Feldman was told he cannot write for ESPN, tweet for ESPN, appear on television for ESPN, appear on radio for ESPN or ESPN podcasts.

The outrage across the internet concerning Feldman’s suspension has been widespread.

Stewart Mandel of SI.com tweeted, “One of the finest writers in the profession was suspended today because of a company’s own irresponsible journalism.” He also called for a boycott of ESPN.

Awful Announcing calls the debacle ESPN’s Waterloo.

CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel has changed his twitter avatar to a picture of Feldman.

Richard Deitsch, media writer for SI.com, tweeted, “Second, I’ve never heard a single person in sports journalism say one bad thing about @BFeldmanESPN. That’s why you are seeing this support.”

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports tweeted, “ESPN staffers are obviously muzzled on Bruce Feldman, but internal outrage is overwhelming. Good guy done bad”

And (thank goodness) Buzz Bissinger is weighing in:

  • Is anyone actually surprised by suspension of Bruce Feldman by ESPN. The book he co-wrote critical of king a—— Craig James.(1)
  • ESPN has so many different standards for so many different people–guidelines longer than f—— George R. Martin novel and far less sense.(1)

(1) The dashes are mine, of course. Buzz would never uses dashes to cover up profanities.

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  1. Tom says:

    Well, there goes Leach’s chances of being hired at UK. Barnhart certainly wouldn’t hire a controversial coach to lead the football Cats. Basketball, sure, but not the football team.
    Any one see any article that Joker is on the hot seat? Ain’t going to happen. He’s here until the program becomes ashes. We don’t need no stinkin’ football team.
    All the talk about the football powers pulling away from the NCAA and forming there own governing body. If Kentucky goes with them, seeing as how they are in the SEC, what happens?
    Imagine Alabama, Kentucky and others regulating themselves! They could go on and become minor league farm teams for the professional leagues. As if they aren’t already.

  2. s.smith says:

    James was a part of the SMU teams that were found to have committed numerous NCAA violations, including receiving large sums of money from school boosters, which led to the enforcement of a death penalty upon the school by the NCAA although James himself was never accused of any wrongdoing. New Car and free textbooks did not count as wrongdoing.
    James also operates his own broadcasting school, eponymously called the Craig James School of Broadcasting. Wow What Ego from a complete ass.
    James said in 1998 that the Wisconsin Badgers were “the worst team to ever play in the Rose Bowl”. Wisconsin went on to defeat #6 UCLA 38–31 in the 1999 Rose Bowl. Afterward, Badger coach Barry Alvarez fired back, “Well, I know we’re at least the second worst.”
    James’ son, Adam James, is the center of the controversy that resulted in Texas Tech suspending, and later firing, head football coach Mike Leach shortly before the 2010 Alamo Bowl. Leach allegedly had James twice stand in a shed for two hours during practice. In light of the allegations, ESPN removed Craig James from announcing the Alamo Bowl, replacing him with Bob Davie. In a lawsuit filed by Leach against Texas Tech, he alleges that Adam James “voluntarily placed himself into the electrical closet and apparently took pictures with his phone camera”. He further alleges that Craig James was angered over his son’s demotion to third string and that he “thought school chancellor Kent Hance was going to try to ‘railroad’ [him], because of a business relationship between James and Hance.” In response, Craig James released the following statement on January 14, 2010: “Since the James family is not a party to the lawsuit, we deem it inappropriate to discuss it.”
    Leach later filed suit against Craig James, and other parties, for defamation related to the publicity surrounding this incident.
    The saga continues.

  3. Mark Liptak says:

    The “Eastern Sports Programming Network” has been going downhill ever since they were bought by Disney.

    Now what’s important is “entertainment” not sports and journalism.

    As soon as Disney got them you started seeing things like made for TV movies, “Stump the Schwab”, “Around the Horn” and other lunacy.

    When ESPN first started and through maybe the early 90′s they were the greatest thing to hit sports….now? They are a joke of what they used to be.

    Mark Liptak

  4. dewayne graves says:

    Feldman was probably one of the only unbiased writers and sports commentators
    on the so called Evil, ESPN, of which we have learned does not base any story
    on facts just sources, see(tigerdroppings). What ever happen to credibility
    in writing period. I guess if you try to do things on the up and up you just
    get canned.

  5. bringFootballbacktoUK says:

    Leach was the victim of a PR hit and the wwl just gets more dirty with each new story from real press.

    New prez need to tell MB to get on the phone to Key West….now!