We've been closely following the Bruce Feldman suspension "timeout" due to his involvement in Mike Leach's autobiography. Matt had a great piece last week and things have moved fast since the story broke, as ESPN has scrambled to try to save face. Today, they got some good air cover, as the Poynter Institute, who serves as ESPN's Ombudsman, jumped in with a thinly veiled defense of ESPN's handling of the situation. The piece included feedback from only ESPN personnel and failed on many levels to have an honest conversation about the incident, the fallout, and ESPN's continued involvement with Feldman or Craig James.
AA editor, Matt Yoder, sent me this note when I asked him for his thoughts, as he can be the voice of reason whenever some of us at AA get a little riled up:
"Read the Poynter piece and all I can say is that it only leaves more questions. Without word from Feldman or Brooks, are we just supposed to believe ESPN's word passed down to Poynter that Bruce wasn't suspended? That seems baseless and does nothing to fix the credibility gap at hand. The Poynter piece is so nuanced and muddied that it really ends up saying nothing. It also never speaks of the elephant in the room - if Feldman suffered a conflict of interest, what was ESPN thinking with Craig James?"
Matt's take was one of many in disbelief that the Ombudsman piece seemed like an extension of ESPN PR and damage control. In fact, here are some tweets that caught my eye in the hours after the article went live and a takedown of Poynter's disappointing article...