At 7:16 p.m. ET Thursday, SportsByBrooks.com posted a story on ESPN indefinitely suspending highly-respected college football writer Bruce Feldman for his participation in Mike Leach‘s new book, Swing Your Sword.
Shortly after that story broke, both Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports.com and Richard Deitsch of SI.com received “no comments” from the network after asking for confirmation to Brooks’ story. CFT sent three different emails to ESPN seeking a confirmation/denial on the story, but those missives went unanswered. In fact, there were zero on- or off-the-record comments from the network on the situation to anyone that we are aware of even as #freebruce and “Bruce Feldman” nearly blowed up — thanks, Emmitt — Twitter, until…
At a little after 3 p.m. ET Friday, and nearly 20 hours after the story first broke, ESPN released a statement on Feldman’s status. And, apparently with a straight face and everything, claimed there was never a situation in the first place. The following is ESPN’s official statement on the uproar, although we’d strongly urge donning a pair of quality hip waders before reading:
“There was never any suspension or any other form of disciplinary action. We took the time to review his upcoming work assignments in light of the book to which he contributed and will manage any conflicts or other issues as needed. Bruce has resumed his assignments.”
Additionally, ESPN released a companion video to accompany the written statement:
Of course, all ESPN’s “statement” did was lead to additional questions, namely…
If there was never any suspension or disciplinary action taken against Feldman, why did it take ESPN and its myriad mouthpieces and platforms nearly a full day to address something that one ESPNer labeled a “danger [of Twitter]: rumor presented as fact.”
If there was never any suspension or disciplinary action taken against Feldman, why were “no comments” given to major media outlets seeking information on the reported suspension? If one of the dangers of Twitter is rumor being presented as fact, why was it allowed to sit out there and grow when there were many members of the media willing to put out the fire of false speculation?
If there was never any suspension or disciplinary action taken against Feldman, why was it necessary to note that “Bruce has resumed his assignments”?
If there was never any suspension or disciplinary action taken, why has Feldman, who has not gone a single day without tweeting at least once since before Dec. 1 of last year, gone Twitter dark since the evening of July 13?
Of course, we’ll never get any answers to these questions, or any others that have evolved from this latest black eye for the network. Instead, all we’ll get is the same thing we’ve gotten from the World Wide Leader for more than a decade when it comes to internal hypocrisy…