I'll get more into Tyrell Johnson and such tomorrow. . .I like the pick more and more the longer I look at it, by the way. . .but right now, I would like to make just one simple declaration:
I am through with ESPN. That's all there is to it.
Not only am I through with their family of television networks. . .but I'm through with
-ESPN the Magazine (which shouldn't be a terrible loss. . .ESPN the Magazine is to sports journalism what MTV is to music)
And pretty much everything else with the ESPN name and logo attached to it. Now, you might be saying to yourself, "But Gonzo, you run a sports-related website. . .how can you POSSIBLY survive without ESPN?" You know what? There are a LOT of other sports websites out there, including The Sports Network, which you can find a feed for right over there in the right-hand sidebar. I think I'll somehow get by.
Why would I do such a thing? Because I've finally grown weary of this entire conglomerate looking down its collective nose at certain teams. . .and, in the case of Minnesota, certain states.
This afternoon during the broadcast of the 2008 NFL Draft, I made the mistake of occasionally flipping back and forth between the far superior NFL Network coverage and the usual ESPN coverage. . .and by "usual," I mean "awful." I didn't bother tuning in at 17, where the Vikings were originally slated to pick in the first round, because they obviously no longer had that pick. But when I flipped back on another occasion, there it was, just as sure as I called it this afternoon in the Draft Open Thread.
Once again, everyone was subject to the riveting footage of the Vikings missing their selection in the 2003 Draft. And once again, all of the idiots at ESPN's Draft desk let themselves have a nice, long chuckle at the expense of the Minnesota Vikings. Har har har, nyuk nyuk nyuk. See, like I've said every year, there's a minor part of the story that ESPN never manages to bring up. So since they won't do it, let's do a quick episode of Where Are They Now: 2003 Draft Edition.
Byron Leftwich - The player that Baltimore was attempting to trade up with Minnesota for when they decided to screw the Vikings over and not honor their end of a trade that had been agreed to by the two teams. As a result, Jacksonville jumped in and selected Leftwich. Since being drafted, Leftwich has regressed to the point where he couldn't hold the starting job in Atlanta, got cut, and is now unemployed.
Kyle Boller - See, the thing that everybody forgets is that because the Ravens felt compelled to screw Minnesota over on their trade, later that afternoon the Ravens traded a future first-round pick away in order to move back into the first round and select Kyle Boller. Let me repeat that. . .the Baltimore Ravens spent not one, but two first-round draft choices for the privilege of drafting Kyle Boller. Can anyone detail to me how that's worked out for the Ravens so far?
Kevin Williams - Oh, and the guy drafted by Minnesota that day? He's only one of the two or three best players in the National Football League at his position. But you'll never catch Chris "I've Been Doing the Same Schtick for Twenty-Five Years When It Stopped Being Funny After Ten" Berman or any of the other dopes at ESPN mentioning that, that's for damn sure.
So yes, we know that ESPN's draft crew hates the Minnesota Vikings. . .oh, and that ESPN's Draft coverage sucks. But you knew that already. Hell, I've been saying that for as long as I've been running this site.
But, apparently, it's moved on to their website, as they recently ran this wonderful little hit piece by something named Jemele Hill. Some of the "highlights," as it were. . .
For the record, Allen and his new team addressed his checkered past head-on at Allen's first news conference as a Viking. But before then, Allen said he'd quit drinking -- although nothing I read about Allen mentioned any professional help in doing so.
Wow. . .Hill makes it sound like the Vikings signed Jared Allen a couple of weeks after he got bombed out of his mind, led police on a 100+ MPH chase down the interstate, and got cut from his former team.
Oh, and for the record, Allen showed more contrition at his introductory press conference than Koren Robinson has shown in two years. Allen is sorry that he did what he did. . .Robinson's sorry that he got caught.
And since when do people need "professional help" to quit drinking? Is Allen's sobriety any less sincere because he didn't spend ungodly amounts of money to have some stranger tell him that he shouldn't drink any more? I know that if I got a DUI in my line of work. . .something that could prevent me from getting promoted, re-enlisting, or could possibly even get me demoted. . .I wouldn't need "professional help" to tell me not to get fitshaced any more, that's for sure.
And the hits, they keep on coming. . .
This isn't to say the Vikings should have kept Robinson. He had his chance, blew it and deserved his outcome. But by signing Allen the Vikings prove a familiar truism in sports: Principles only apply when someone can't produce.
Is a little basic freaking research too much to ask here? The season prior to Koren Robinson's incident, he produced just fine, thanks. . .particularly for a guy that missed a good portion of the season due to suspension. He was named to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner, scored TDs rushing, receiving, and on returns, and was slated to take over the role of #1 receiver in Brad Childress' offense. THEN he blew it.
So, the Vikings did what pretty much every team does. . .they rewarded a player when he produced, and cut him when he screwed up. But Hill fails to point this out, presumably because she doesn't have a damn clue what in the blue hell she's talking about. Most of the folks at ESPN fall into the same category when it comes to Minnesota sports. . .and therein lies the problem.
See, the folks at ESPN clearly have their favorite football teams. . .they love them some Patriots, they love them some Colts, they love them some Cowboys, and they sure as hell love themselves some Packers. And if you're favorite NFL team isn't one of those four teams, they could just as well not exist, because to ESPN they simply don't matter. If they do happen to get a mention on ESPN, it's probably only because they played against one of those four teams.
Don't get me wrong, they do this with every sport. . .the people at ESPN can't stand the Twins, they can't stand the Timberwolves, and they can't stand the Wild. (I mean, really, how can you hate a hockey team from Minnesota?) If the Vikings do manage to win the Super Bowl any time in the near future, ESPN will most certainly find a way to not mention it or give it as little coverage as possible.
Until ESPN can gain a little perspective on stuff like this, about all I can do is say "screw them." The only time I'll be doing anything even remotely ESPN related in the next year or so is on Opening Day. . .because, hey, my love for the Vikings outweighs my hatred for ESPN. . .but you can damn sure bet I'll be watching with the sound muted so I don't have to hear their announcing idiots tell me about the alleged greatness of the Green Bay Packers for three hours.
And, with that ESPN is dead to me. I've come not to praise ESPN, but to bury them, and bury them I have. They will not be missed.