Michael Hiestand of USA TODAY confirms our suspicions about the now-missing Chris Berman videos: ESPN told YouTube to take them down.
“How do you get that kind of toothpaste back in the tube? ESPN’s Josh Krulewitz says ESPN, arguing the Berman videos are owned by ESPN, asked YouTube.com to remove the videos — which happened. What about other websites? Says Krulewitz: “We’re in frequent contact with YouTube because they’re the table-setters and the others feed off them.”
Those “others” include the ever-industrious gang led by DEADSPIN’s Will “Banned by ESPN!” Leitch. The Gawker media site is currently hosting the videos, and it’s safe to assume that they will now live a long and productive life thanks to the miracle of .flv files .
We will also be watching to see if ESPN challenges Gawker about hosting the funny sad moving pictures. We doubt it, since Nick Denton & Co. are lawyered-up. And we Bristol probably doesn’t have the stomach to drag something like that into court anyway. All it would do is accentuate Berman’s boorish off-air behavior. But such a confrontation would be a public relations coup for Gawker if it were to happen.
We do find it interesting that ESPN waited a few days to demand the videos be taken down, knowing full well that in doing so, they will be perpetually available to the public. It’s one more example of why mainstream media types (including some at ESPN) are whispering to us that the suits in Central Conn. secretly don’t mind a little egg white getting flung onto Berman’s combover.