Our view: ESPN, rethink your priorities

Kent Stater editors

ESPN anchor Neil Everett was clearly upset by his network’s excessive coverage of Johnny Manziel and Braxton Miller and the lack of coverage of Jason Bitsko’s death.

In a rare moment for any professional broadcaster, Everett deviated from the teleprompter’s text for just a few seconds to take a shot at SportsCenter and speak his mind about an issue in sports media coverage that hits close to home.

“Guys like Bitsko don’t get headlines,” Everett said. “Those go to Manziel not starting in Cleveland and Miller unable to play in Columbus.”

ESPN devoted less than 30 seconds to Bitsko’s death, but it didn’t seem to have a problem dedicating excessive amounts of time and commentary to Johnny Football flipping the Redskins off in a meaningless preseason game or Braxton Miller’s season-deflating shoulder injury.

Everett finally grew tired of more meaningful stories like Bitsko’s death playing second fiddle to yet another story about Manziel’s “money fingers.” Unhappy with the lopsided coverage, Everett took the brief moment to call out ESPN for giving top priority to superstar quarterbacks like Manziel and Miller and overlooking dedicated, hard-working linemen like Bitsko, who, as Everett explicitly stated, don’t usually grab all the headlines for their efforts alone.

Everett has worked for ESPN for nearly 15 years, but he was not afraid to stand up to his employer to bring to light an issue in sports coverage that often gets swept under the rug by many an experienced ESPN anchor.

The media’s coverage of trivial matters tends to overshadow coverage of news and events that really matter to people. We agree with Everett that SportsCenter needs to sort out its priorities more efficiently, and we commend Everett’s efforts to stand up to the Worldwide Leader in Sports and defend his own personal perception of what’s most important in news.

It’s always a bold move to bite the hand that feeds, but maybe Everett’s candid comments will bring about change to the way ESPN covers news.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose names are listed above.