ESPN Confirms Interview Questions ‘Suggested’

Richard Deitsch of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED obtained a carefully-worded statement today from ESPN Executive Editor John Walsh in response to my report last night that ESPN management provided scripted questions for ESPN radio hosts and asked those same hosts not to use the word “dominate” while inteviewing Jim Miller on Tuesday. (Miller is co-author of the recently-released, ESPN-based book Those Guys Have All The Fun.)

ESPN Responds To SbB Report That It Scripted Questions For Radio Host

Walsh statement:

“In advance of the interviews, we identified areas for questions that would be interesting to our audience, consistent with the main themes of the book and not disparaging to our colleagues. Any live interview can go in any number of directions.”‬

Deitsch did ask Walsh to respond to my specific charge that ESPN management asked ESPN radio hosts that the word “dominate” not be used during any exchange with Miller - a charge to which Walsh did not respond in his statement.

As for how common it is for ESPN management to script questions and try to embargo certain words from being said by on-air talent, I was told by a longtime ESPN radio producer today that this is the first instance he knew of it happening.

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Unscripted: Dan Patrick Mocks ESPN Management

Yesterday I reported that ESPN management attempted to script questions that ESPN radio hosts asked Those Guys Have All The Fun co-author Jim Miller during three interviews about the ESPN-centric book on Tuesday.

Former longtime ESPN on-air talents Dan Patrick and Rich Eisen talked about the unprecedented practice on Patrick’s nationally syndicated FOX Sports Radio and Direct TV show on Friday.

Dan Patrick: “Did you see the report from Sports by Brooks that the mothership (ESPN) had the (ESPN book) author (Jim Miller) on and they had scripted questions to ask him?

Rich Eisen: “No. No! On which show?

Patrick: “Mike & Mike and ..

Eisen:  “The magical van peezy (Scott Van Pelt)? I heard he had a very good interview with him.

Patrick:  “They had recommended questions for the author. How silly is that?!

Eisen: “When he goes on next week with (Bill) Simmons I imagine that won’t be happening.”

Patrick: “Simmons wants to be anti-ESPN while being all things ESPN. … From what I’m told, there were suggested questions that you may want to ..

Eisen: “The horse is out of the barn with that book.

Patrick: “I know, it’s silly.

Eisen: “700 pages worth!

Patrick: “I know, it is silly. That’s what Sports by Brooks is reporting and this is dead solid here.

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