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Fox Sports vs. ESPN Or The Non-Story That Was A Story

ESPN wouldn't be protecting their boy, would they?

As we all know by now, ESPN felt Favregate was a non-story. They even went so far as to circulate an internal memo telling staffers as much, and ordering them not to report on it, as Steffen detailed here.

Then, when Brett Favre Almighty held his press conference on Wednesday to somewhat (lamely) deny he had done anything wrong, ESPN decided the issue finally warranted coverage. The story that the so-called Worldwide Leader (in arrogant bullshit, if you ask me) ran with was a cobbled together mash-up of crap. It tries to compensate for the failure to cover a relevant story that they were, at this point, three days behind on and totally slants in Favre’s direction.

And just as quickly as Brett went from “total BS” to “OK, I talked to Matt Millen,” ESPN went from “This is not a story, do not report it,” to… well, let’s throw it to ProFootballTalk, where the latest ESPN memo on the situation was printed.

This story is now HOT.

We had not reported it because it was unsubtantiated [sic].

Today, however, Favre addressed the issue in a public forum so we will go with it.

Use this lead-in:

On Sunday, Fox Sports reported that ex-Packers quarterback Brett Favre had been in contact with the Detroit Lions before their Week 2 game with the Packers, educating the Lions coaches on Green Bay’s offensive schemes.

The Lions, by the way, lost that game 48-25.

Later that day, Favre denied the report in a text message to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.

Today at Jets camp, Favre addressed that report in his weekly press conference….


OK, so I guess the situation is substantiated now that King Brett said something, huh? Or, are you giving Prince Favre a pass because the Packers won the game? Or is this just an admission that Jay Glazer has better sources than your guys do, since he was able to substantiate the story without showing up at the Favre press conference?

The whole thing reeks of sour grapes on ESPN’s part, or maybe cronyism, I can’t decide. Either they are protecting their boy, Brett, or they are just pissed they got beat on a story by a competitor and decided to ignore it in hopes it would go away. Maybe both.

Could it be, that ESPN is trying to stay on Brett’s good side because they have him slated to be an NFL studio analyst in 2009?

I, and most Packers fans, have no love loss for ESPN. But I’m not the only one questioning how they handled Favregate, especially after exhaustively writing a story every time Brett took a dump this past summer – remember “Favre’s Stool Solid, Ready For a Trade”?

More from Florio and the gang at ProFootballTalk:

We shouldn’t be, given the glimpse we received on Tuesday of the malleable journalistic ethics that Bristol employs.  But we assumed that, with so many people now aware of ESPN’s shell game regarding the decision to ignore Jay Glazer’s story, ESPN would play it straight.


Written with surgical precision aimed undoubtedly at avoiding the key admissions Favre made during his Wednesday press conference, the item crafted by “ESPN.com news services” strongly suggests that Favre denied everything that Glazer reported.

And further:

Even if, in ESPN’s view, the only news that emerged from Wednesday’s press conference is that Favre denied Glazer’s report, we still don’t understand why it’s suddenly such a big story.  They ignored the report because they claimed reliable sources told them it wasn’t true.  But Favre previously denied the report to Peter King of SI.com.  Why is Favre’s denial a story more than two days later?

And where was Mort in the interim?  Did Favre, who left Mort a voice message regarding his decision to retire, not issue the same flat denial to him?  If Favre did, why wasn’t Mort talking about it during Monday Night Countdown?

Good questions. What kind of clown show are you asshats running over there? Are you journalists, or are you watching out for some other interests?

You can’t have it both ways, ESPN, and your level of arrogance and disrespect for your audience have reached critical mass.


Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. wslc October 24, 2008

    Amen. The thing is, you can dismiss this by saying “it’s just sports.” But they are journalists. ESPN is a news network. Their practices reflect what’s probably happening at other networks and newspapers. They are obligated to present the news without bias. In the big picture, we deserve the right to know what’s really happening in the sporting world and beyond.