ESPN’s deterioration continues as the network announced Tuesday that it will cancel The Sports Reporters, one of the longest running shows on ESPN.
The Sports Reporters laid the foundation for the myriad debate and opinion shows that occupy modern sports television. Unlike today’s debate shows that measure a debate’s worth by volume, The Sports Reporters allowed for nuance and intelligent discourse.
The Sports Reporters was a show of substance, its modern competitors are shows comprised of hot air.
The show was a staple of ESPN’s Sunday morning lineup and trustworthy hosts like Dick Schapp and John Saunders facilitated a conversation that informed the viewer instead of shouting at them.
The show had people on who had earned their opinion – they weren’t talking heads. Mike Lupica, John Feinstein, Bill Rhoden, Mitch Albom, and Tony Kornheiser were among the many well-respected journalists that were regulars at various points during the show’s 25+ year run.
These writers put to shame modern ESPN personalities like Stephen A. Smith and Jamelle Hill. Their opinions were formed by decades of experience, not by what will trend on Twitter or garner the highest ratings.
Instead of making room for important, substantive shows like The Sports Reporters and Outside the Lines, ESPN bombards their viewers with promotions of garbage shows like First Take and His & Hers.
This is just another example of ESPN stooping to the lowest common denominator and they wonder why their ratings are in the tank.