One of the biggest sports stories so far in 2009 has been the taking-down of Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED writer Selena Roberts. Whether or not you enjoyed the revelations of steroid abuse, stalking, and tipping pitches, you’ve got to admit that Roberts’ book has been worthy of the lead story on SportsCenter, in bars, and around the water cooler.
So…why won’t ESPN talk to her?
Despite the fact that Selena Roberts is possibly the biggest name in sports media at the moment (sorry, Stephen A.), the NEW YORK POST reports that “ESPN is blackballing the hottest reporter of the week because she snubbed the sports network and gave her first interviews to Bob Costas and the “TODAY” show.”
ESPN, the media equivalent of an alcoholic spouse, has a long history of being thin-skinned and vindictive at the most unexpected turns. Despite living up to their slogan as the Worldwide Leader in Sports, they still harbor an institutional us-vs.-them mentality that goes back to their infancy as in independent also-ran network. Still, banning the author of the most talked-about sports book of the year seems like a harsh move; ESPN was doing a fine job covering the story before the book came out and waiting an extra couple days for a sit-down shouldn’t have been that big of a deal. But was there something else at play? Again, the POST:
Roberts, who rejected a job offer from ESPN and joined SPORTS ILLUSTRATED a year and a half ago, is willing to appear on ESPN, but the sports network won’t put her on.
It took ESPN a year and a half, but it appears they got their revenge for getting turned down by Roberts. Again, these are the actions of an alcoholic spouse, not a major media conglomerate. Should anything happen to Roberts in the future, the authorities may want to check all the storage units in Bristol, CT, for unmarked, foul-smelling oil drums.