Saturday, February 07, 2009

Van Pelt Suspension

As I'm waiting for the WVU-Providence game to get started, I came across the news that Scott Van Pelt has been suspended via Deadspin. The reason is for an outburst directed at MLB commissioner Bud Selig last week and his rather large salary.

Of the personalities on ESPN radio, Van Pelt is by far my favorite. The same is true on the television side of things. Apparently he felt compelled to contact Selig on his own to make an apology. And if it was bad enough he thought he should apologize on his own, then he probably deserved some type of suspension. But what bothered me about this post is the close ties between ESPN execs and Selig.
Selig does have close relationships with many of ESPN's top execs ( they are currently locked in an 8-year, $2.4 billion broadcast deal from 2005 for Sunday Night Baseball and have other contracts with MLB) and the initial story was that Selig himself heard the remarks and was personally offended by them, but that hasn't been confirmed.
When you get too close with those you are charged with reporting on, the validity of what you report has to come into question. For that reason, I have to question where the line is drawn on critiques of Selig? Or execs of other professional sports. Or for that matter, anyone at the NCAA. I know sports are just a distraction from life, but I just don't like the idea of censorship. In any form, it ruins the quality of reporting and give those in power a sense of being above the law.

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