Woj and ESPN, Burying a Story Again
How the race to be first made the Worldwide Leader aim for last
This site is into those times when a dog doesn’t bark. Here, we like those instances when what should happen simply doesn’t, in such a way that’s highly revealing of the game and its players.
Yesterday was such a moment, and a protracted one at that. ESPN couldn’t discuss the biggest news of the week, for nearly the entire day. Fans around the country were visiting the website and turning on the TV, looking to the outlet of record for commentary on this story. For hours, they found nothing.
I was getting pinged by Bristol area codes from people marveling at the silly omertà within their ranks. ESPNers wondered what had become of their company. You can’t even talk about the biggest story? And out of consideration for an NBA executive most fans don’t give a shit about, if they’ve heard of him at all?
Here’s what they were referring to: On Monday, at the Worldwide Leader, you couldn’t discuss Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant because of Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks. Or at least, for hours, nobody dared try.
ESPN was always a flawed place, but this was another level, a sign that the entire operation had stopped making sense. You cultivate sources to get the big story, not ignore the big story because you’ve cultivated sources. Of course, on this one, all roads lead back to Adrian Wojnarowski, the chief ESPN NBA newsbreaker. On Monday, he would break no news and yet, on Monday, ESPN’s news would look totally broken.
How, and just why, did this happen?