It seems strange that we haven't come outright and said it yet, although certainly some of the previous updates have overtly or covertly referred to it. "It" being the increasingly undeniably decrepit state of ESPN. The channels, the website, the "personalities", it's all become so horrific that even coming out and saying it is already gauche, already something that's been said for years.
That said, they still deserve a nice, large, extra-foamy Middle Foam Finger.
Hey ESPN, up yours.
What precipitated this, you might ask? The specific impulse behind this update is the most recent column by ESPN.com's Senior National Columnist, Gene Wojciechowski, in which he makes the utterly flawless argument that we shouldn't care if Floyd Landis tested positive because we didn't care about Floyd Landis two weeks ago.
No, I'm not making a staw man here, he really seems to believe that since nobody cared about Floyd Landis or cycling last month, that nobody should care about the possibility of Landis having doped now. He then makes a similar argument about Justin Gaitlin, another athlete in a sport that doesn't rate according to Wojciechowski's stunning Law of Sports Proportionality, a logical Klein bottle that hypothesizes that we shouldn't cheer or boo athletes who escape the (relative) obscurity of their sport because their sport is too obscure.
It's less stupid (although it's that too) and more a mindbending exercise in how ESPN operates. To try and summarize, Wojciechowski is complaining, on ESPN, about stories that have broken, on ESPN, being given disproportionate attention, on ESPN, because these sports are not something that people care about, on ESPN.
This is far worse than Pat Forde's excreable column that tried to create some sort of weird "Right Way" manifesto based on Dirk Diggler's success in the playoffs because Wojciechowski's column highlights the larger issue with ESPN, that being that they have grown beyond sports broadcasting and have become some sort of odious sports-media octopus.
ESPN, more than endorsements or possibly even actual results on the field of play, has become the kingmaker of modern sports. Like MTV before them, the focus has slowly shifted away from actual music and is smugly centered on sports culture and ESPN's self-perceived role as some sort of jock-strap zeitgeist. And again like MTV, ESPN has managed to make the transition from "plucky underdog doing something new" to "cross-media cultural cul-de-sac that would fellate itself if it could".
Again, we're lurching into "Been Said Before, Been Said Better" territory. Still, we have to get our shots in, while the body's still warm.