Mistaken Identity

August 23, 2017

by Dan Ward

Have we lost our ever-loving minds?

When I first read that ESPN pulled a broadcaster from covering an upcoming University of Virginia football game in a decision tied to the events in Charlottesville, my reaction was “he must have said something horrible.”

Nope.  He didn’t say anything.

The broadcaster was pulled from the ESPN assignment “simply because of the coincidence of his name.”

Given his Chinese heritage, few would confuse ESPN’s Robert Lee with the Confederate General who died nearly 150 years ago.  But rather than trust in the intelligence of its viewers, ESPN pulled Lee from the game. To avoid what may have caused a few moments of discomfort, ESPN touched on a controversy that has it and its communications team on their heels.

In the wake of Charlottesville, we should certainly remind ourselves that what we say matters, that we should think before we speak, and that we should be mindful of the impact of our words.

But avoiding conversation is not the answer.  ESPN says it regrets that “who calls play by play for a football game has become an issue.”  They should regret making it an issue.

Woe is the Tweeter

August 5, 2009

by Roger Pynn

The tweetisphere is all up in arms because ESPN has limited the tweeting of its employees, but should it be?

According to The Times the guidelines prohibit ESPNers from having their own sports-related blogs and Web sites, and if they are going to be part of online conversations about sports they need to seek approval from their supervisors first. As well, it prohibits them from discussing ESPN policies and procedures re how items are “reported, written, edited for produced,” the Times story said.

From some of the comments I saw today, you’d think ESPN had just torn up the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but I’m sitting here trying to figure out why people can’t just see that what they say reflects on them as a professional as well as a person.

I am the majority owner of my business. I have two minority partners and a number of employees and an even greater number of clients. All of them should be able to expect me to use good judgment in my conversations … online or otherwise.

We’re developing a set of guidelines for our company and while they will probably tell our people not to talk about company policies, this will be one policy they are more than welcome to discuss … as long as they do it in good taste.

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