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The NFL Network’s conflict of interest

by on September 25, 2012

This isn’t “hard journalism” by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought the post-game coverage following the Monday Night Football officiating debacle between the Packers and Seahawks interestingly paralleled the BBC News/state interests discussion from last week’s class.

I stayed tuned into ESPN after the broadcast ended for postgame coverage, and I wasn’t disappointed with the utter disgust and outrage projected onto the overwhelmed replacement officials.  The network’s various analysts were just lambasting all parties involved — the league, commissioner Roger Goodell, the owners, the locked out officials — for degrading the NFL product, and it was completely warranted.  The sports-centric population of Twitter had pretty much exploded into an outraged fervor by this point, too.

Soon thereafter, I switched over to the NFL Network’s coverage of the game (which is owned and operated by the league and is generally superior to that of ESPN) to find, unsurprisingly, a wildly different scene.  The NFLN analysts weren’t quite ignoring the controversy at hand, but were most definitely trying to downplay its significance.  I don’t recall hearing a single opinion critical of the replacement refs or the NFL as whole being voiced during the program.  Instead, focus was placed the technique and decisions of the players involved on that final play.

The coverage was a total farce.

It was obvious that the game analysts (particularly Andrew Siciliano, that post-game host) were tip-toeing around the underlying issues that were being discussed with vigor over on ESPN (ESPN is certainly not owned by the NFL, but they are close business partners).  While watching, I couldn’t help but think that through their forced (and likely league-mandated) “objectivity” the NFL Network was, in fact, being completely subjective.  I just couldn’t believe the lack of credibility behind their analysis.

Did anyone else who was up to watch notice?


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  1. I didn’t watch this, but I do believe it was a very controversial issue last night, and this morning on ESPN. Its clear that the officials are making horribe calls aleft and right, but until the ‘professional referees’, for a lack of a better expression, come back, we will continue to see more of this.

    I would liken the situation that Dan mentioned about the NFL Network ignoring a controversial issue to a conglomerate like Rupert Murdoch, who we wall know, owns Fox News. And Fox News, is primarily good at beefing up the coverage to make the Republican party look great, while trivializing or providing hardly any coverage to the Democratic Party. There is a clearly homogenization of news value in this case and in the NFL Network case. The NFL obviously;y wants to look good. Its easy to see that, especially if you’ve been following the drama surrounding the concussion lawsuit and the appeals that were overturned a few weeks ago that allowed Saints LB, Jonathan Vilma, among others to return to league activities.

    We see this issue all throughout news media, and it comes as no surprise to me that it has creeped into the billion dollar industry that is the National Football League.

  2. nocturneblaze permalink

    I don’t watch sports, but I find it interesting just how much anger has been voiced by fans of many sports. With the NHL lockdown, and this new NFL drama, fans are getting very upset. And Considering these athletes get millions of dollars from their fans, they deserve to see a good game and what they paid for.

    But this outrage is a relatively new concept I think, at least in terms of social media. People didn’t used to have Twitter and Facebook for their public outcries, and there weren’t many personal bloggers gaining attention.

    But now anyone can have an opinion. It’s doubtful a bunch of people on FB or Twitter will change the mind of the NFL, but it will have a heavy impact, if anything, especially if the fans soon decide to completely stop funding these games.

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