Thursday, July 3, 2008
ESPN's Delicate Balance
It is going to be a very interesting Friday night for the ESPN gang in Daytona.
Following the action on the track for the 8PM Nationwide Series race will not be a problem. Handling the action off the track might be a different story.
It was ESPN's Outside the Lines and the ESPNEWS Network that Thursday first showed Mauricia Grant to the world on television. The same network that paid for exclusive rights to broadcast the Nationwide Series later used a rain delay in the afternoon to almost painfully play "the soundbite" for NASCAR fans.
Viewers who had tuned-in expecting to see Marcos Ambrose and company practicing instead heard references to male organs and the "N word." As NASCAR TV goes, it was quite a moment.
Now, with Grant's words and face in rotation on ESPNEWS, a whole lot of sports fans are going to be exposed to a very different view of NASCAR than they get from race highlights and winner interviews.
The challenge for ESPN is to package this issue respectfully into the one hour NASCAR Countdown show that starts at 7PM. Hosted by Allen Bestwick, this program has been outstanding for the network this season. Bestwick has handled a lot of delicate topics, and this should be one he organizes well before air time.
Here is what ESPNEWS was running on Thursday, complete with a professional approach and a very good script. Former Morning Express with Robin Meade sports anchor Will Selva handled this introduction and once again ESPNEWS came away looking good.
This post is going to serve to handle your comments specifically about Grant's interview on Outside The Lines, ESPNEWS and the video on the ESPN.com website. Put your comments in a TV or media-related perspective please, or they will be deleted.
What was your reaction to this video and how did you think ESPN handled the issue on Thursday?
There will be a new post up for comments about NASCAR Countdown and the Nationwide Series race at 6PM on Friday.
The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.