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Leach’s book nets writer an ESPN suspension

Swing Your Sword

On Monday, Mike Leach released his new book Swing Your Sword, which in part details his acrimonious departure from Texas Tech in December of 2009.

The firing was due in part to Leach’s alleged mistreatment of Adam James, the son of Craig James, the ESPN college football analyst who moonlights as a Chinook in the Texas Air National Guard; obviously, the James Gang plays a prominent role in Leach’s book, with the coach mincing no words when it comes to anyone involved in his firing.

Unfortunately, there’s apparently some collateral damage stemming from the book.  Just as unfortunate, said collateral damage doesn’t involve Craig James.

ESPN the Magazine‘s Bruce Feldman, one of the most professional individuals you’ll ever run across in the business, was involved in assisting with/the editing of Leach’s biographical account, an arrangement that had been agreed upon prior to Leach’s firing.  And, according to, Feldman has been indefinitely suspended by ESPN due to his participation in the book — after he’d already received permission from the network and his bosses to do work on the book.

From Brooks:

Well before Mike Leach was terminated by Texas Tech in late 2009, Feldman had agreed in principle to assist the coach in compiling material for a Leach biography. That biography, in which Feldman was mostly charged with recording Leach’s first-person account of his life, was released this week with the title, Swing Your Sword.

Because of Leach’s acrimonious departure from Texas Tech, which allegedly stemmed from complaints about the coach’s alleged treatment of the son of ESPN college football analyst Craig James, Feldman’s participation in Swing Your Sword was not initially assured. Multiple management and editorial sources at ESPN have told me in recent months that Feldman would only participate in the Leach book project upon  direct approval from ESPN management – which Feldman indeed received.

We have reached out to ESPN requesting both a confirmation/denial and their side of the story, but we’ve yet to hear back from the WWL.  All that does, in light of Brooks’ report, is leave many, many questions unanswered.  Such as…

So, ESPN, after giving him permission, indefinitely suspends not only one of that website’s best writers but one of the best in the college game, period, but still employs the man who allegedly launched a smear campaign against Leach that ultimately ended in the coach’s firing?  So, Leach sued ESPN as well Spaeth Communications (Smears ‘R Us) in November of 2010 for libel and slander as Feldman was working on the book; was still reportedly given approval after the suit was filed to continue working on the book; and yet the book’s release pushed them over the edge?  So, the allegations made in Leach’s lawsuit…

“ESPN published and failed to retract false and damaging statements based on information it obtained in large part from Craig James… who ESPN knew to be hostile to Leach.”

“[The case also concerns] the false, misleading and defamatory campaign against Leach by Spaeth Communications, a public relations firm hired by Craig James for the purpose of creating public opinion hostile to Leach.”

…didn’t prompt ESPN to to indefinitely suspend Feldman or bar him from working on the book eight months ago, but the release of the book three days ago did?

I guess, though, when you’ve been wallowing in hypocrisy for well over a decade, you get used to the stench.

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19 Responses to “Leach’s book nets writer an ESPN suspension”
  1. mdnittlion says: Jul 14, 2011 10:16 PM

    Man if half of that is true and I was Craig James, I’d fly to Vegas right away and hit the blackjack tables, cause it seems like he’s on a winning streak currently.

    My heart goes out to Feldman on this one poor guy.

  2. richatthelake says: Jul 15, 2011 12:20 AM

    What’s the deal with ESPN & Craig James? Does he know where the bodies are buried or something equally nasty?

    Bumping a superior college football writer like Feldmen to preserve James’ standing within this organization is a friggin’ tragedy.

    Feldmen will be missed. James is a hack, a hack with an entitled baby boy incapable of making his own way in life. The both of them are pathetic.

  3. whatswiththehate says: Jul 15, 2011 12:20 AM

    “ESPN published and failed to retract false and damaging statements.”

    What else is new about those at ESPN. All you have to do is remove Leach’s name and replace it with any name of a person or college that isn’t in good standings with someone at ESPN and that quote could easily apply to them.

    I’ve stated many times, ESPN killed sports media, as we knew it, years ago but it isn’t finished with it’s distruction. This is what power in the wrong hand causes.

  4. honkerdawg says: Jul 15, 2011 12:24 AM

    Have to agree about ESPN being hypocrital. They like and support who they like. ESPN should stand for Entertainment and Sports Pandering Network, they are an extention of the good ole boy club employing those ex-players who agree with them and turn a blind eye when they screwup. Craig James is a clown and should be fired for what he did, as others should also, but ESPN looks the other way when it comes to certain ex-jocks but then comes down on others who don’t get enough ratings for the network. ESPN has come a long way…too bad it’s in the wrong direction.

  5. rascalmanny says: Jul 15, 2011 4:02 AM

    You guys have GOT to listen to Leach’s interview done yesterday with 104.5 the zone in Nashville.

    Podcast link…

    I sure wish the VOLS had hired him.

  6. mike2347 says: Jul 15, 2011 6:07 AM

    ESPN is sueing TOSU, not because they won’t turn over e-mails.It’s due to the BTN taking a small chunk of change out of their pockets.The best thing for all would be to start more conference networks,band together and kick these clowns to the curb.Losing cfb and cbb would bring them down a few notches.

  7. myopinionisrighterthanyours says: Jul 15, 2011 8:26 AM

    I hope Feldman sues the pants off ESPN. And where is ESPN’s ombudsman in all of this???

  8. scoops1 says: Jul 15, 2011 9:50 AM

    this is a netwrok that gave Harold Reynolds his pink slip….one of the best Analysts the network has ever employedd….

    but has kept on guys like Howard Bryant

  9. daysportstv says: Jul 15, 2011 10:45 AM

    While I agree with everything said about ESPN and how this just proves they are a complete joke, I have to say that the case against Howard Bryant was dropped. It was a case of cops in a small Massachusetts town seeing a black man with a white woman and overreacting.

    BUT yes ESPN is a complete joke and I hope Feldman has a lawsuit and wins big.

  10. burntorangehorn says: Jul 15, 2011 11:04 AM

    ESPN is horrible. They should’ve fired Craig James as soon as the real story came to light, but instead they let him get away with using the network’s pull and resources to railroad Leach.

    James is just a joke, and I refuse to watch a single game he calls. If more of you would do the same, and speak up about it to ESPN, maybe they’d actually do something about it.

  11. geetee52 says: Jul 15, 2011 11:10 AM

    It’s difficult to even look at Craig James anymore without thinking about all the issues surrounding his son at Tech…no matter whether you side with Leach or the James family.

    The firing/controversy after the ’09 season is getting close to 2 years past. The story hasn’t died down and doesn’t seem like it will for the foreseeable future. At minimum, it is a distraction to a significant number of viewers. At worst, it is a detriment to ESPN’s credibility for (at least) the appearance of interfering with an issue they should keep their nose out of. If it turns out that what appears to be an outright injustice placed on Bruce Feldman is left to play out, it will no doubt mean the network will have to fork over big $$$ for their arrogance.

    Leach is not a particularly likeable character, but neither is Craig James.

    It would be nice to hear someone from ESPN comment on why it doesn’t matter to them what the viewers think…or the impact it has had and will continue to have with the viewers.

    ESPN’s silence on the matter is sure to make this an even bigger story for those who are interested during the upcoming season.

  12. waynefontes says: Jul 15, 2011 1:16 PM

    It’s funny – we all have our schools, we all have our differences in college football but we can all agree on one thing – ESPN sucks.

  13. Deb says: Jul 15, 2011 2:05 PM

    myopinionisrighterthanyours says:

    I hope Feldman sues the pants off ESPN. And where is ESPN’s ombudsman in all of this???
    At a bar somewhere with Sean Salisbury comparing wee wee shots on their cell phones.

  14. Deb says: Jul 15, 2011 2:08 PM

    Since I’m a one-sport fan, the NFL Network means I rarely watch ESPN anymore except for the MNF pregame show and documentaries. If only we could get an NCAA equivalent to Total Access …

  15. weswelkerspornstash says: Jul 15, 2011 3:59 PM

    It’s been so long since I watched anything on ESPN. I didn’t know they were relevant….. Are the still showing poker reruns?It’s all about NFLN and internet.

    Goodluck Feldman

  16. pdmjr says: Jul 15, 2011 9:48 PM

    God I hate ESPN, I’m sick of Chris Berman aka FN Boomer.

    Their arrogance makes me puke.

    Go fuck yourself ESPN

  17. paulbrownsrevenge says: Jul 15, 2011 11:51 PM

    I seriously think if some big money people wanted to get involved in sports news, the head of the snake at ESPN could be removed. So many people are tired of the bias approach to coverage. They have a stranglehold on sports media, and I think its time for some legit competition.

  18. burntorangehorn says: Jul 16, 2011 10:14 AM

    weswelker–yes, ESPN is still relevant. Unfortunately it’s the main place to find the best spectator sport out there: college football.

  19. dkhhuey says: Jul 17, 2011 10:19 PM

    Wow – ESPN is all full of themselves aren’t they! I rarely watch them anymore because pretty much every single announcer is just horrible and they’ve become more like TMZ than a sports network. If I do turn it on, it is just for their game broadcast and that’s with the sound muted. What a wasteland they’ve become.

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