In the aftermath of ESPN executives suspending Bruce Feldman for doing nothing wrong, and then lying to the national media and public about the nature of Feldman’s senseless punishment, we now have our first real world example of how the conduct by those ESPN executives has irreparably damaged Feldman’s ability to do his job in the future.
A staffer at a major college football program told me Friday that a star football player at his school, who admires Feldman’s professionalism and work ethic, was afraid to publicly support the celebrated college football journalist after his now-public mistreatment by ESPN executives.
The current NCAA student-athlete told the staffer that after learning the details from the media about ESPN’s grossly unfair treatment of Feldman during a Thursday conference call that included ESPN Vice President and Director of News Vince Doria, ESPN THE MAGAZINE Editor-in-Chief & ESPN Books Editorial Director Gary Hoenig, ESPN.com Editor-in-Chief Pat Stiegman, ESPN attorney Wendy Kemp and ESPN Executive Vice President, Production Norby Williamson, he wanted to send out a Tweet from his personal account in support of the longtime ESPN journalist.
But the student-athlete never sent out the Tweet.
The star college football player, who like ESPN THE MAGAZINE’s regular ‘Player X‘ feature shall remain nameless, told the staffer:
“I’d Tweet about Bruce but what if ESPN sees that and tries to hurt my [NFL] draft stock?”
If a top college football player is afraid to acknowledge Feldman in a Tweet for fear of ESPN damaging his own future livelihood, how many other current and former college football players, coaches, administrators and media figures are afraid to associate themselves with Feldman for fear of reprisal from ESPN?
Clearly, Feldman’s college football journalism career has now been placed in jeopardy by ESPN after company executives:
1) Shamed him in front of his ESPN colleagues and threatened his future at the company despite Feldman following the exact protocol that ESPN required in receiving clearance to participate in Mike Leach’s book project, Swing Your Sword.
2) Suspended him for doing nothing wrong.
2) After refusing comment for roughly 18 hours, lied about Feldman’s suspension to the national media and public in an official company statement - though confirmed its disciplinary action against Feldman by reporting in the same statement that Feldman had, “resumed his assignments.”
3) Unwittingly confirmed Feldman’s suspension via a high ranking ESPN executive’s Tweet, which described Feldman’s situation at the company thusly: “The game briefly stops but is not suspended. It resumes. Same thing here.”
4) Directly caused at least one top college football player to voice concern over his having any public association with Feldman.