Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Two Faces Of ESPN On Display

The lines are being drawn in the ESPN sand quicker than you can say "performance-enhancing steroid." A short time after ESPN the Magazine writer Shaun Assael delivered a blindside to NASCAR on the eve of The Chase, hard feelings and angry words have been flying around the ESPN world and it is not pretty.

Back on Thursday, it was Assael and ESPN who launched a well-coordinated media assault on Craftsman Truck Series driver and NASCAR veteran Ron Hornaday. In addition to the Internet content which was crafted to suggest performance-enhancement and downplay a 2005 timeline, Assael's steroid scandal was also the lead story on NASCAR Now .

Assael is one face of ESPN. This group of ESPN writers and reporters skips back-and-forth between sports as assigned. Their goal is to bring back from each assignment what ESPN calls "content" that can work for the company in several different types of media. This "steroid scandal" is a perfect example.

The Hornaday story was reported exclusively on three national cable TV networks. ESPN, ESPNEWS and ESPN2 all had the story on various TV shows. It was then placed on one of the largest Internet sports sites in the world,

It migrated to one of NASCAR's top Internet fan sites at Remember, this is a website that ESPN now owns. The Internet exposure featured video from ESPN specifically created to feature the Hornaday story.

Finally, Hornaday's name and the word "steroids" were scrolled across the ESPN bottom-line "ticker" on multiple ESPN TV networks endlessly.

Make no mistake. This was an effort that involved hundreds of ESPN employees of all kinds in various departments. It was planned and executed in a well-organized fashion that appeared effortless. We all know the reason why. It had been done many times before to others in the sports world.

On Friday, rain wiped-out the Sprint Cup qualifying from Loudon. ESPN's three top NASCAR announcers took to the air with two hours of live TV to fill and lots of resources from which to draw. Finally, fans would get some information about this Hornaday steroid issue from the people who bring the races to the fans.

It was Dr. Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree who were seated in the ESPN Infield Pit Studio watching the rain fall. This is the very atmosphere in which Punch thrives. Not only as a reporter, but for this story Punch would be able to address the issues from a medical perspective. What a great bonus for viewers.

In the second segment of the show, Punch addressed the issue that had been the lead story on NASCAR Now, was still at the top of the NASCAR webpage and had generated headlines around the world.

"Ron Hornaday will not be disciplined by NASCAR for the testosterone use for a medical condition, a thyroid condition," said Punch. This sentence took eight seconds.

Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree were silent. None of the ESPN pit reporters or on-site journalists appeared. Punch moved-on to host numerous drivers in the pit studio and introduce others being interviewed by pit reporters Jamie Little and Shannon Spake. Hornaday was not among them in the two hour program.

This is the other face of ESPN. The goal of the ESPN crew in the field is to follow a script. That is now to endlessly hype The Chase races for which ESPN paid hundreds of millions of dollars. That script was followed on Friday to the letter, despite the weather. That script did not include Hornaday.

It was left to Lead Reporter Marty Smith and host Nicole Manske to try and walk the fine line between the sleaze and innuendo of Assael's report and the reality of an angry NASCAR garage in Loudon. It was 5PM and once again time for NASCAR Now.

If you look up the term "deer in the headlights," you should find Smith looking just like he did on this TV program. After Manske handled a quick Chase preview, she opened the second segment of the show with a "soundbite" from Hornaday and then introduced Smith on-scene in Loudon.

"He has nothing to hide and he's not going to apologize," said Smith of Hornaday. "The fact of the matter is the man was very sick a couple of years ago and he had to take dire circumstances in order to figure out a way to feel better."

Smith introduced footage of a Hornaday press conference on Friday in Loudon. Hornaday immediately introduced a topic with his words that ESPN had failed to mention. That topic is deception. Click here for the link to the Jade Gurrs website that addresses this issue.

Assael had made contact with Hornaday and arranged an interview at his home under the guise of creating an ESPN story about Hornaday's pursuit of another Craftsman Truck Series title. Assael had lied to Hornaday, plain and simple.

Hornaday is a tough old-school driver and he related that Assael "took him out back to look at the beautiful lake" and got him alone. Only then did Assael confront Hornaday with the real reason for his visit. He wanted to know if Hornaday had every taken steroids.

"Yes, but you didn't have to take me out back," said Hornaday. "My family knows what I do and I have nothing to hide." These words did not seem to translate to the Assael story on (click here). That says Hornaday admitted steroid use only "when shown records from The Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center."

NASCAR Now continued with Marty Smith introducing more "soundbites" from driver-after-driver relating to the serious medical issue that Hornaday was trying to solve. "To a man, everyone said they do not feel like this was a performance-enhancing situation," said Smith to wrap things up.

"There are a lot of different health reasons that you would have to use steroids for," said Hornaday's Truck Series owner Kevin Harvick. "Synthroid is actually a form of steroids that is prescribed to him now to take care of his thyroid. If he does not take that now, he pretty much dies." Leave it to Harvick to present a truly sobering reminder of the reality of Graves Disease.

Manske and Smith presented a very different view of the issues raised on Thursday by Assael. They documented the first person response from Hornaday, they offered views from many parties associated with the sport and they refuted any allegation of performance-enhancement. There was only one thing missing. His name was Shaun Assael.

The first face of ESPN has perfected the hit-and-smear style of sports journalism that is currently thriving in society even as ESPN's second face promises more hardcore sports coverage of NASCAR and Monday Night Football during ESPN broadcasts.

The end result for NASCAR is going to be painful. No longer is the casual atmosphere and the open communication going to exist between the sport and the media. Tony Stewart's 2007 comment about ESPN reporters "sticking daggers" in the backs of the drivers could not be more on target where Assael walking into Ron Hornaday's house is concerned.

Hornaday was just another friendly NASCAR driver played for a sucker by an ESPN reporter and then made to pay dearly in the public eye.

Click here for just one example of what this single story can do to a repuation.

What Assael does not understand is that his actions have impacted the overall trust of both NASCAR and many fans of anything connected with ESPN. Punch, Petree and Jarrett may take to the air on Sunday for the Cup race as scheduled, but it will no longer be the same. The fans and those in the sport will now be on-guard. Waiting for ESPN's next sucker punch.

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. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.


Anonymous said...

I don't think Hornaday's story totally matches up, but if he says he has nothing to hide, then I have no problem with the ESPN coverage so far. Personally, I would rather know all this and judge for myself rather than have it all be kept off-the-air. I think ESPN has put out a legitimate story and covered it reasonably fairly. Let's not forget that this guy's story is he thought he had life-threatening illness, but he didn't seek out a doctor and instead found a clinic of dubious reputation to prescribe him steroids and testosterone. It's a little fishy even if you believe Horanday's side of the story fully.

Daly Planet Editor said...

As opposed to what? That he wanted to bulk-up to help the pit crew?

That is my problem with the story. What did he need to do three years ago while he was in a healthcare crisis?

People are idiots all the time, it certainly does not mean that a huge media organization like ESPN drives this story across the nation and the world IMHO.

Find me one person other than Assael or the ESPN medical expert who can say Hornaday was doing this for performance-enhancement.

Please, have them email me. I think the damage Assael has done by lying his way into Hornaday's home is going to be far worse than the damage any steroid rumors are going to do to Hornaday.

If the NASCAR drivers and owners close-off ESPN, this sport will be stuck in neutral between races.


Sophia said...


With my constant disenchantment with ESPN this year, my losing interests in this sport with the top 5 or "CHASE" driver focus, COT problems, and now this...honestly....who wants to watch this race on ESPU?

I think I will check online or here during the race. And watch SPEED higlights.

I hope to God TWIN addresses this on Monday.

You know, ESPN loves the gotcha game...and their station is the only place to watch NASCAR for most all fans.

They've treated the sport shabbily with their channel roulette games with the NW series..and ignoring practice, quals and putrid coverage.

THEN a stunt like is SO TIME for NASCAR to cancel the ESPN Contract.

Think Brian France even cares about this? Too busy enjoying the money from the deal.

It all makes me sick.

Just when you think ESPN can't get worse, they do.



HE DID seek out doctors who overLOOKED the problem. TWICE.

First doc said gastro intestinal problems. Ron was still sick.

Second doc took out his appendix? Ron was still sick.

Ron was in between a rock and a hard place. THEN after he lost 40 lbs, Harvick INSISTED he see another doctor. THEN, that astute doc could tell by LOOKING at Hornadays eyes he had the classic symptoms of Graves? That's hardly shrugging off doctors. More like fed up with their ignorance.

A clinic of dubious reputation? Two procedures have NOT fixed you? Imagine being in his shoes. It's not like he IGNORED MEDICAL ADVICE. His serious illness was IGNORED.

A good endocrinologist would've picked this up in one visit and a batch of test...Sophia says as she types with a lump in her throat.

I have thyroid issues that show up NORMAL on tests but it can get inflamed on it's own. If it stays like that, time for an ultrasound. One time, my endocrinologist had the intern come in to feel my throat due to the unusual nature. But he did follow up.

Heck, nobody even thought to LOOK at Ron's throat??? But Ron had the bulging eyes effect (ala Barbara Bush has)

I love know it alls that think health problems can be diagnosed in a few visits and a batch of tests. Be thankful to God your health and body is so perfect.

The human body is a complex beast. Many times the cause of problems will never be found (like looking for a needle in a haystack)

Thankfully for Ron, better late than never for a dx and the fix.

Anonymous said...

This makes me so sick. When I received the link to Jade's blog and read exactly *how* this "story" was obtained my blood boiled.

Grandpa is a good man and definitely didn't deserve this. Heck, even a driver I can't stand I wouldn't wish this sleazy journalism on.

I'm just glad that he did find out what was going on with him and he's getting the proper treatment now.

Dot said...

The way ESPU has reported this steroid story breaks my heart. Ron Hornaday does not deserve this treatment. How dare that so called reporter ambush him like that.

How impressive of Ron to race as well as he did while being ill. And to continue to do so. I'm glad he has Kevin & DeLana on his side.

What I want to happen is for the drivers to give limited interviews to ESPU reporters. On and off the track. One or two word answers without elaborating. Before the race, after a crash and post race. If no one talks to them in depth, maybe they'll get the hint. They can't be trusted. If the drivers want us to know something, tell it to someone they trust (JD,invite them here) and report it elsewhere.

And, why didn't Jerry do a report on this like someone mentioned on the prior post? He is a doctor. Good grief. I guess the truth would've hurt their big story.

Why is NASCAR allowing this shoddy treatment of our sport? Certainly, they have some power to stop this kind of crap. What does the casual fan think of this? We know they aren't reading between the lines, because they don't know what we true fans do. They must think ESPU is the gospel.

My only hope is that this kind of reporting doesn't taint the good ones at ESPU. DJ, AP, Marty Smith and Ed Hinton to name a few. They have too much class to be involved with ESPU. Too bad when you stand too close to crap, it gets on you too.

BTW, did anyone notice the reporter's name starts with Ass...

Sophia said...

I still remember how genuinely grateful Ron was towards the Harvicks at the Truck awards show speech. He referenced to it this morning.

I remembered at the time wondering what the story was behind that statement. Now I know.

Glad he is still here to tell the story.

The Loose Wheel said...

Remove the title of NASCAR driver or "athlete" from Ron's name and NO ONE makes a fuss out of this, but because ESPN has, in my eyes, lost all its class and respect for ANY sport, they slander it and twist it to fit their agenda.

He had a medical condition, he sought and got help. He has not lied about it, or attempted to cover any of it up. I imagine it was simply a don't ask, don't tell situation among the garage area. Much like the media has not grilled Mikey Waltrip about his marriage and the fact his wife has been no where to be found this season in any regard.

Leave the man alone, he explained it perfectly in my eyes, NASCAR has left it at that and we should to.

Glad Ron got the help he needed, wish him all the best in the future. Hopefully ESPN will let this go as it SHOULD be done.

Anonymous said...

I said it before, if AB, Rusty, DJ and Andy Petree don't stand up like Marty they will lose my trust and respect. They owe it to the sport to stop ESPN from this kind of yellow journalism at lest when it comes to NASCAR. King Brian are you listening? This will NOT sell tickets.

Anonymous said...


Let's make one point clear... The Hornaday story was not a worldwide story. If you really think people around the world care about NASCAR Trucks, well then you are not well informed.

Also, ESPN's pit reporters are just that... reporters. And a reporters job is to be an unbiased journalist. If doing one's job as a journalist is to report the facts, then I applaud them. The fact that you call that "sucker punching", well, again, you are misinformed.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

My disdain for ESPN continues.

Once upon a time, they were tops in the sports field - a class act that pleased millions of viewers.

Now, they are in the same class as those supermarket tabloids at your local checkstand.

I will continue boycotting all the ESPN programs - yes, I miss the racing, but I refuse to support an organization that is so sleazy and sloppy.

Anonymous said...

What some people are also failing to adress is this: testosterone and HGH, ARE NOT, repeat, ARE NOT anabolic steroids. These two substances are naturally occurring hormones in the human body and are prescribed for a slew of medical issues. Anabolic steroids on the other hand are most often obtained illicitly for the purpose of performance enhancing. ESPN has totally dropped the ball on this one and lowered themselves to tabloid status

Anonymous said...

According to Rons side of the story he sought out MANY doctors - none who could find any thing wrong. Not unusual for thyroid problems ( it took 4 years 5 months from the onset of my Hashimotos symptoms to be correctly diagnosed) to be missed or ignored. In a last ditch try to avoid more quacks Ron chose a clinic.

Deception is the key word here. Assel used deception ( fraud) to get into Rons home. To "get" him.

Technically Ron is still on steroids ( as am I & millions) called Synthroid for medical use.

If anything it shows the depths of despair patients have to go thru to get a real diagnosis. And care.

There are many clinics - Cleveland Clinic Mayo, Palm Beach - just cuz it says clinic makes it neither good bad or indifferent.

Since what he did was NOT against
NA$CAR rules at the time, he is not being punished. Period.

This is a non story to everyone except the 4 letter network, their followers, & assorted anons.

4letters loves the "sting" hopefully they get stung by more than just me. I will watch nothing but the races, NFL if the Cowboys play, or MLB games if the NY Yankees are on. Thats it!!!!

NA$CAR - DUMP 4 letters NOW!!

Anonymous said...

Also, ESPN's pit reporters are just that... reporters. And a reporters job is to be an unbiased journalist. If doing one's job as a journalist is to report the facts, then I applaud them. The fact that you call that "sucker punching", well, again, you are misinformed.


Where's the other side?

Wouldn't a responsible journalist tell the whole story with equal emphasis, instead of lying his way into an interview, where he could surprise the subject?

That action alone tells you what this "reporter" wanted. He didn't want to tell a fair story--he clearly wanted to "get" Hornaday.

Anonymous said...

Mark McCarter quoted Dale, Jr. in his story about ESPN Thursday on Funny stuff. Accurate, too, in my opinion. I'll cut and paste here if no one minds.

"Should they or shouldn't they? I don't think it's right or wrong. I don't think right or wrong comes into play. It's really about class," Earnhardt said, "or the lack of it."

Clear, concise and to the point.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 6:56AM,

With all due respect, you are completely mistaken. This story was immediately picked-up because of the words "steroids and NASCAR" and was published globally.

In addition, the website is one of the most accessed sites from around the world for sports fans. Don't get fooled, this was a planned roll-out of "gotcha" content to achieve an agenda and it worked like a charm for ESPN.

Note: No political references please, return and re-post if your comment was deleted. We want to know what you think.


Anonymous said...

One thing I find disgusting about E$PN’s reporting about this is …..back when (2002-2004) Hornaday used the testosterone, it was not illegal to do so. I didn’t hear E$PN report on that. Also, aren’t “scoops” scrutinized by upper management before being released? It isn’t just one idiot, but a whole pack of them.
Just another super asinine reporting job by E$PN.

Anonymous said...

I will add my $.02 worth. I am one that generally stays away from doctors unless all else fails. I have really bad reactions to most drugs and they do more harm than good. I tend to treat myself for most of my ailments. I am a migraine sufferer and also have bad allergies. I believe in preventative medicine using herbal remedies. Maybe that is what Ron Hornaday was doing. I don't have any life threatening diseases so I cannot compare to that. My experience was fall of 2007, I had a terrible left ear infection that was causing hearing problems. It was completely irritating and painful. I went to the health food store and saw a doctor and took the drugs prescribed and that did not work. I then decided to go to my local GNC and one of the employees there had the same thing happen to him except he was hospitalized for 10 days with it. I was not hospitalized. He suggested some herbs and taking double or triple doses for a week or longer and that knocked it out.

I think that the whole news/sports reporting industry just wants to get stories that bring ratings and not necessarily the truth and maintain integrity. It would be interesting what would happen to the industry if integrity and no smear campaigns were promoted what would happen.

Again, just my $.02 worth. Hope that it made sense.

Anonymous said...

JD...interesting points, all.

Methinks the "chickens are coming home to roost", though. I'm sure somewhere in the corporate memory at Bristol, there are those who remember how ESPN was all but shut out of the NASCAR garage area during the first round of TV contracts. It's unfortunate that Ron Hornaday (a stand up guy if ever there was one, IMO) was in the middle of this attempt to make a mountain out of this "chicken squeeze".

Audio recorders are so small these days that it's probably not a bad thing to record your side as well as the reporter's side of an interview. Think the garage area is crowded now? Watch what happens when the teams start to document their own side of "hauler chats" with their own video crew--they're doing it with audio recorders more often than not. It's regrettable that the relationship between reporters and those they report on get strained because of a reporter's betrayal of trust--Assael's actions are not just a betrayal; they are a perfect illustration of bias per se. That will make the job of the ESPN beat reporters all but impossible.

"by their fruits you shall know them"

rb218 said...

Count me as another who is disgusted with how some to most of ESPN's "journalists" have sunk to the level of sensationalism that they have. The way this reporter (I don't even want to type his name) pulled his bait-and-switch to get his "scoop" shows the lack of respect that he has for everyone and everything except his precious story, including himself in my opinion. Now, I have to admit that this story hits home more that most because I have a sister that has to take Synthroid, and I know how sick she has been at times. I hope this story fades into the past and is just a really bad memory soon.

But I admittedly wonder, how many drivers have been thoroughly ticked off by someone from ESPN (question they asked or a story that was run) in the past couple of seasons? I can think of five right off the top of my head.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sophia said...

Another quote comes to mind by MLK..when Dj and Andy allegedly sat SILENT in the booth Friday while Punch gave an 8 second explanation that NASCAR cleared Hornaday.

Something about "In the end, we will not remember the voices of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." I woula thought on tv something else could have been added to the ESPN exlanation.

Can you IMAGINE the boys on SPEED, who TRULY LOVE THIS SPORT, (no matter how silly some of you may find them or their antics) not speaking up for Grandpa?

Me either.

I LOVE the truck races and hope they are on SPEED today.

Geeze said...

I wouldn't expect anyone who get's a paycheck from ESPN to defend Ron. Silence maybe, but no defense.

Speed on the other hand, had Carl Edwards and Joe Menzer from on Tradin Paint.

Carl defended Ron to to the hilt, and said that no more should be heard of this. Joe disagreed and said that what needs to said is that Ron should be a hero for getting treatment for his illness, not a villian.

I don't know if i'd go that far, but it just shows who you work for makes a difference in what you say.

Dot said...

@ Anon 6:56,

I don't know how worldwide AOL is, but there was a headline about Ron under the Sports section.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

I was truly disgusted by the story, especially when you find out how it unfolded. I turned off Nascar Now when Nicole went to the doctor saying how what Ron took would give him heightened and sharpened reflexes and vision (not a direct quote. Give me a break. Implying it was done for those reasons.

I have deleted the practices on ESPN. I just have no desire to watch. I am not saying "hide" the negative stories. But ESPN seems to report them with "tabloid" enthusiasm.

I just read a recap of the press conference with Tony and Dale JR railing on ESPN for the playing and replaying of Tony's incident over the radio at the end of last week's race. Wow, I think ESPN is in major trouble with the drivers. If it is payback, as someone earlier posted, ESPN will come up the loser. Sure explains the testiness of some of the drivers when interviewed.

As a side note. Many years ago my mother was gaining weight and looking all puffed up and just not seeming like herself. I had a sabbatical and had taken my parents and son on a trip. While in Denver my Mom needed to see a doctor. He chocked it up to menopause, she was mid fifties, and did nothing for her. When we returned home I took her to my MD, who took the time to run a complete thyroid panel. Low and behold, thyroid disease. She has been on Synthroid since with no problems and just turned 80.

Daly Planet Editor said...

The rules for posting comments are located on the right side of the main page. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see the posting rule where if the reader's opinion differs than the one offered up as yourself, it will be deleted. There have been plenty of posts follow perfectly within your rules, but get deleted.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 1:26PM,

All you have to do is take a moment to drop me an email if there is ever an issue about a comment on a topic.

Over the last 20 months, thousands of fans have exchanged views and voiced opinions on broad-reaching topics within the sport on this site.

Your opinion is always welcome, but not when it involves hate speech or tells another what to do or think. Simply re-phrasing a comment is all it takes to be heard. Thank you for returning.


Sophia said...

WC Dianne

Thyroid problems are often the MOST overlooked glandular disorders. You need more than the TSH test sometimes..and in women, it's chalked up to stress, menopause, eating too much, blah, blah, blah. There was a thing on Discovery health where a woman had Cushings disease (too much adrenal steroid in her body) Gained a ton of weight just in her stomach and nobody tested?

She got her medical records from a couple years before and her cortisol levels were like 70 and normal is 19. !! but nobody noticed!! Had she not gotten her records...she would not be here and she will always look pregnant due to the disorder affecting her abdomen. Glad you mom got help.:)

TPaint was not listed on my tv but I turned on SPEED just in time to see JR saying good bye darn it. But I am glad Carl came to Ron's defense.

It's sad how many humans are UNAWARE of natural steroids in the body. It's adding to them to make yourself look like a freak (some body builders/wrestlers) that's dangerous and illegal.

Many of you men might be very low in testosterone someday..and that ALONE can make you feel like total hell..o. If your free circulating testosterone was low, and nobody checked, and you found a supplement to help? or a medicine for it, apparently some of you see that as smoking crack/doing heroin.

Anyway, JD, it's going to be most difficult to turn on ESPN after this story. Your racing blog will be busy for sure this weekend. It's the best site on the net for racing info anyway. I am ready to bring the car in the house for MRN radio. :) Only place to get it.

Also to all in the path of the storm, thinking of you and hope you are safe. We have one poster from Houston I remember but I don't remember the name. I read power could be off for WEEKS in Galveston and areas.

Bevo, I hope it doesn't make it up to your area.

Anonymous said...

This blog is hilarious. Any time there is any story in the news media that is negative to a NASCAR personality, this blog calls it sleazy journalism. I'm sure you'll be quick to post disagreement, but the perception sometimes is that you only approve of fawning profiles and hero-worhship from journalists covering NASCAR. Let me clue you in: NASCAR may have a big advantage over other sports because they are family owned and have a huge media division... but NASCAR can't control the news coverage of it and I think it makes you look like a baby when you cry foul every time a journalist doesn't tow the company line. Sometimes (read: always) it's like this blog is opposed to scrutiny.

Jessica said...

JD, this is kind of like the log that broke the camel's back with ESPN coverage this year. Its almost like they don't get the fact that when they treat the drivers as a source for salacious stories they not only offend the garage, they piss off fans. My question is this- what can we do? How can fans make their feelings on these issues known in a manner that ESPN won't ignore?

At this point, nothing short of an apology by ESPN, during the parade laps on Sunday, will do. Let me be clear on this, its not the facts of the story (which are lame and absent the sexing up they got not even worth printing) its how they got this story (lying)and the innuendo for which Ron and the fans deserve an apology. Something like this-

"ESPN would like to apologize for a story which we ran earlier this week which suggested that a driver in the truck series took performance enhancing steroids. Not only was this story obtained under false pretenses but it was flat-out false. We apologize to to the driver, his family and to the fans."

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 1:35PM,

Your post is beyond hilarious. The entire issue at hand is not Hornaday and steroid treatment, it is the journalism standards and the "gotcha" TV approach that ESPN uses on many shows.

Do you remember Miguel Tejada? Did you see the smear job ESPN did to Joe Paterno and Penn State football? The list goes on and on.

This has NOTHING to do with Hornaday or steroids. You have missed the ENTIRE point of the column and the topic in general.

If ESPN had waited one additional day on a story that was over two years old they could have showed Hornaday's reaction, his medical documentation and NASCAR's official comment on the situation.

Instead, they rushed to publish, televise and export this "content" while it still had some controversial "legs" and would be picked-up by news organizations and Internet sites around the world.

Hornaday, Assael and steroids are just the current symptoms of the overall ESPN disease. This smear-and-run approach is going to cost ESPN everything in the end and it is not going to be pretty.


Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane:

Anon 1:35. It is not the story we don't want to hear, but the way they tell it. It is so very blatantly "tabloid" in nature. It isn't only the stories it is also the way questions are phrased to the drivers during trackside interviews. During the race, do the race. If there are stories to be told, tell them, factually. It is really no different that the news media these days. Some how we've lost the journalistic approach to report the story and tell the facts. Then let the viewer make up their mind. They all seem to be looking for the "gotcha" moment. Sad

Ps..I have decided to watch the race tomorrow on HotPass. I just have no desire to watch ABC/ESPN. Totally have ruined my enthusiasm for the sport. One more time....race fans want to see RACING...that is the story...and all the cars, not just twelve, or even JR who is my driver. Mind boggling they don't get it.

Sophia said...

What I want to know is, is this guy a common reporter for ESPN? I never heard of him but I tend to avoid ESPN, especially these days and never go to their site unless I hear there is a story there I want to read (The Jr story for example)

And I do find it ironic his last name begins with Ass...

I do not know who Miguel, JD...but I am familiar with the "gotcha approach."

It's just ESPN has done this so much that they have turned into E.T. Many Years ago, I liked watching Entertainment Tonight to see certain I never watch as it's one salacious story after another. Like the National Enquirer..sure they may get the story but it's the way they go about it... They ALSO make leaps and print falsehoods and then "pretend they never said it." Kinda like ESPN.

If ESPN has done this type of thing before, and are "known for it" I am surprised ANY body lets them interview them....unless it's somebody like Marty Smith or now, Ed Hinton.

Even with my own look at this story, I would LOVE to hear what Hinton has to say...has he written on this story yet?

I'd be curious if this gives all the drivers a bad attitude this weekend when interviewed.

God help the first ESPN reporter if certain drivers wreck and get a mic shoved in their face. Let's face it, ESPN is not know for properly wording questions in a bad moment. :)

Sophia said...


I posted as you did..wish I could've been pithy as you...about the PHRASING of questions.

THAT is what is so annoying with ESPN.

THe old saying it's not what you say but HOW you say it?

Just like sadly, we can not hear tones of voice, eye contact, tongue-in-cheek, foot in mouth on this blog.


Daly Planet Editor said...

With what is going-on behind the scenes at ESPN the Magazine and right now where NASCAR is concerned, you are more likely to see an ESPN veteran NASCAR reporter booked for assault and battery than to read his version of the Hornaday story.

Imagine working for years in the sport and then have some "ESPN reporters" come bopping-in just looking to create some scandal or get some headlines for their own glory.

All those personal relationships and behind the scenes sources ruined because some "steroid specialist" decided to out Hornaday before he had a chance to hold his Friday press conference and shine the light of day on the reality of the situation.

Trust is getting ugly. My lines in the sand reference was chosen for a reason.


Anonymous said...

ESPN and some of the other sports news stations is just like the other magazine stations; they hear something, report on it before they have the full story. My local paper didn't even report the story; they do cover a lot of NASCAR news. I hope after this weekend that all this will be forgotten and Ron can get his reputation back. I was glad that both Harvick and NASCAR jump on this immediately and straightened it out. I do hope that ESPN will not publish this in their magazine. Maybe the ESPN reporter needs to be but on probation like some of the other stations have done for improper reporting

PammH said...

ESPN reporters (outside of Marty imo) will be getting the freeze-out big time! Tony & Jr. coming out & saying the network is showing no class is priceless! And they weren't even talking about the Hornaday thing..

Anonymous said...

Krista started the show with a fair even recap of the Ron Hornaday story.
Also repeated none of his championships were won during the period.

And then moved on. What a class report, not tabloid junk.

Good job Speed. The facts just the facts mam .

Sophia said...


I echo your sentiments on the new post at the top of the page. :)

Where is Joe Friday when you need him.

*sigh* :)

Vince said...

Ok, I've finally had my fill of ESPN and all their hype and in your face journalism. ESPN as been blocked from my tv. Sorry all you good ESPN folks, like Marty, Dr. P, AB, DJ, Andy, Nicole and the rest. But I've had my fill of ESPN's lack of ethics. Until ESPN issues Ron an apology and sends their so called reporters to an Ethics 101 class, I'm getting my Nascar news else where. MRN and PRN will be on for the races.

This one is the straw that broke my back. ESPN you've lost another long time viewer. I urge the rest of you who have had enough of ESPN's style of journalism, to vote with your remote! That's the only thing that will get their attention.

MY two cents.......

tom in dayton said...

Mr. D.:
I don't know if you've read Assael's follow-up article on ESPN's website, but IMHO it compounds the felony of the first article.
This morning I received an email from a close associate, a die-hard Truck series fan, who wanted more info on Hornaday and this issue. He's on a two year assignment at his firm's office in St. Petersburg - formerly known as Leningrad...

Anonymous said...

I think you should all find somewhere else to be on Sunday.

Do you really think that the the ESPN that uncovers the "crap" and the ESPN that covers the race are the same people. Do you think that the ESPN that covers the race is told of the other stuff before hand? Puh-lease!

The amazing thing about this great age that we live in is that we have an on/off button and a channel changer and alternate outlets to get our information.

This blog, while effective, is a small drop of water in the big pond of information. Stop complaining just here and write to ESPN as well. Use trackpass, DIRECTV, and MRN. Or, better yet, go outside and play with your kids or your friends and watch the highlights on the news/internet later.

ESPN is not going away. Love it/Leave it/Live With It. The rest of the world is watching anyway!

majorshouse said...

I think that ESPN shold be totally ashamed of their gross negligence in how they are getting stories these days and like most of the others that post here, I have lost all respect for them and where is NASCAR in all of this and surely they should be considering voiding their contract.
The oly person with ESPN that still has any credibility for me is Ed Hinton.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I hit publish - I meant preview so heres the edited post:

After reading and searching for other sources, including the full video conference I am amending my earlier post. Not only will we ( Hubby is madder than me but its getting the car detailed) will no longer watch any content on ESPN save the races proper,(until they screw up each race then off it goes) & Cowboys games ( see previous condition)proper.

He ( the Hubby) canceled his espn magazine subscription & we have removed our profiles & bookmarks for that 4letter abomination,canceled all DVR presets for everything , also no more of the radio for 4 letters either.

Nice job of alienating fans, 4 letters. NA$CAR dump E$PN NOW!!!

Anonymous said...

@dot--*giggle* about the "reporters" name. Yes Kev and Dee love Grandpa. Grandpa let Kev sleep on his couch when he first came out to NC so he feels that he owes Grandpa a lot. And as Dee has always said Grandpa can drive for them forever. He never has to worry.

@sophia--yes now it really makes sense what he said about Kev & Dee now that this has come out. TP will be back on at 8 pm eastern replay tomorrow. They only had it on because the scrapped Pick 'em Ups qualifying due to the weather, so they re-aired Trackside and gave us an early version of TP.

@anon 6:56--Grandpa has himself essentially said he was "sucker punched". The reporter approached him under false pretenses. Instead of being honest and say "I hear you took steroids and I want to talk about it with you." He came under a false umbrella to gain the Hornaday's trust and then took the man outside as if to offer him a last cigarette before the execution. This "reporter" also tried to make it seem as if he had "one up on Grandpa" when Grandpa told him that he didn't need to be sneaky about it that he admitted to it all. But still this reporter acted like Grandpa had something to "hide". At the time yes, it wasn't *our* business at the time of his health concerns. And really even now it isn't but the only reason it is, is because of this "story".

@village idiot--that quote from Jr. is the truth! It's all about class and lack there of!

@anon 1:35--no one here has an issue with ESPN or anyone else publishing a story on a NA$CAR driver. What we *do* have issue with the lopsidedness of the "story". This "journalist" went in under false pretenses thinking he'd get Grandpa between a Rock and a Hard Place. And when Grandpa was honest and didn't deny it, he still twisted the story to make it seem as if Grandpa was dishonest. Put yourself in Grandpa's shoes. If someone heard you took a cold medicine from a pharmacy that later was known for slipping something "extra" in the meds. You were a customer of that pharmacy and you're a well known Truck driver for ABC Driving Company because of your work in the community on your days off. The "extra" has been known to be an advantage to long haul truckers. They come to you to "trap" you but you're honest and say "Yes I did it and here's why." Yet when the story hits the airwaves it makes it look like you were hiding something and they never aired your side of the story. A story that could cost you your job. Would you be pissed? Would your family and friends crucify this reporter?

Newracefan said...

Thankfully I was packing and travelling (luckily the vacation spot has wireless internet :)and missed most of this crap. I saw the first story on NN found out how often he got a shipment and what it consisted of (not very), how old the info was and saw a picture of Hornaday at the time and said This is a story because???? I hope Nascar totally freezes out everyone but Marty, AB and the guy and Ed Hinton and these sensationalizers will become storyless and go away.

Anonymous said...

You keep calling this a "smear" but the simple fact of the matter is that everything ESPN said was true. They didn't slander or defame Hornaday in the least - which is why you don't see Hornaday suing ESPN for slander.

Hornaday would prefer this story go away because the more it gets looked into with any kind of scrutiny, the less his story seems to hold up.

People who think steroids only aide athlete's muscle mass don't know what they are talking about.

GinaV24 said...

Amazing -- is ESPN trying to stick a fork in themselves? If they keep up this sort of thing (the lopsided, sensational style reporting), the trust factor that will allow them to gain access to the drivers will be done, if it isn't already. I just read another article regarding the reaction to the repeated playing of the Stewart/Zippadelli radio byte -- without the apology that Stewart apparently offered being included. Dale Jr stepped into that fray and talked about how he feels about that sort of thing. Apparently the teams have asked NASCAR to allow the teams to use digital scanners that wouldn't allow the media or FANS to hear the radio transmissions. Personally, I would miss that opportunity very much -- it's one of the best part of the race experieince and if the fans were to lose access to it BECAUSE the media abuses it, it would be a terrible shame. ESPN seems to be more interested in scandal than in the racing. Maybe that's because it has been so damn boring this year, but I don't like the way they are covering NASCAR. If there is a real problem, then cover it honestly and correctly, present the facts, don't make it sensational or lie to the person to get "dirt" on them. I believe Hornaday's story far more than anything that anyone on ESPN has to say. Thyroid problems are a health issue -- proper treatment is essential.

Anonymous said...

I have been a Hornaday fan since he first started driving for the Big E, so I am not unbiased. I cannot object to ESPN's covering the story, but I do object to the unbalanced way in which it was covered. However, I do believe this is more a symptom of the low level to which the so-called news media has fallen than peculiar to ESPN - ESPN just happens to be very highly visible. It would appear that ESPN does need to have some journalistic standards - in writing. As far as I am concerned, sleazy behavior by one part of ESPN impugns the credibility of all of ESPN. The Hornaday treatment is quite similar to the sleazy way in which all of ESPN is flogging the story of the possible psychological problems of the Tenn. Titans QB.

It would appear that ESPN, from top to bottom, cares not a twit whether it is accurate nor who it may hurt as long as it can generate intriguing content. Hopefully athletes in other sports will note how ESPN has treated Hornaday and become much more guarded and less accessible to ESPN.

Anonymous said...

It infuriates me that ESPN sunk this low. Ron's NCTS championship speech was so kind, true and pure last year, that he earned a soft spot in my heart. I can't believe ESPN did this to him.

Why NASCAR continues to have a relationship with ESPN is beyond me. It can't be just for the money, can it? Someone needs to do something about this and they need to do it now. ESPN is out of control and doing whatever they can to ruin our sport.

Like many others out there in the world, I have a thyroid disorder. In my case, it's underactive (hypothyroidism) so I take a compound (meaning custom-made for me specifically) thyroid medicine every day to keep it in check.

A thyroid disorder is not a one or two treatment deal. It's for the rest of your life and it is also one of the most misdiagnosed medical conditions around.

For those fools who are talking smack about Ron and any other driver(s) who may have a thyroid disorder, all I can say is if you don't know what you're talking about, then keep your trap shut.

Anonymous said...


you have no idea what hormones the body naturally makes and needs to keep working properly. perhaps a search about such things might show how clueless you are.

body manufactures hgh and testosterone on it's own but lowers as people age.

Also it's not like barry bonds who came back between seasons all buffed up and an increase in HAT size!!! Ron had had two crappy doctors miss the boat entirely as he continued to lose weight without explanation until Harvick said enough and put his foot down.
some people get that some dont.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4:58PM,

A "smear" is where a reporter takes a snippet of truth and works to turn that one element into something bigger.

That allows the reporter to continually point at that one thing as true while the agenda is really something completely different.

Hornady bought and used the testosterone. That is the snippet of truth. The allegations are that it was because his career was going down the drain and that the resulting use of "steroids" was performance-enhancing.

ESPN sold that hard on Thursday before Hornaday, KHI or NASCAR had a chance to interject some reality into the "smear."

On the way out the door, now soundly shown for the "smear" it was, ESPN reporter Shaun Assael fired his closing shot.

"Is it OK for a racer to take steroids without ever seeing a doctor?" That was in big bold black letters on the site.

Assael was trying to squeeze whatever ounce of interest was left in this story out as he departed NASCAR and moved-on.

On the same webpage, David Newton's story had been inserted about NASCAR making the right call on this issue.

ESPN did what they wanted to do, they "smeared" and ran. Got tons of media attention and got NASCAR and ESPN back in the headlines.

What is left behind is the damage to Hornaday, his family and the fans who will no longer look at ESPN the same way again.

The question is, was it worth it?


Anonymous said...

Sophia - Speed's supposed to re-air Tradin' Paint at 8pm eastern tonight ...

Graves Disease is misdiagnosed a LOT ... In fact, most doctors don't even bother to consider the thyroid as the root of medical problems ... Plus, if they do, they usually only test the TSH when they should really do a complete Thyroid panel ...

My mom has Graves disease ... It took her doctor a long time to diagnose it ... Had I not gotten ahold of the lab order for her blood test, and changed it to where they tested the whole thyroid panel, it may have taken longer for her to be correctly diagnosed ...

I just wish that Grampa (and I'm the one who coined that nickname over on the SPEED boards) had Googled the reporter's name BEFORE he agreed to the interview ... A simple search of Assael's name would have popped up that he's a jerk from New York that's made his name on steriod stories ...

What Assael did was low down, dirty, cheap, tacky and just plain old yellow journalism ...

Plus, Assael picked the WRONG driver to go after ... IF one were to assume that a driver was using steroids, one would think of a driver that's had emotional / physical outbursts ... Not one that's a 3-time champ and the winningest driver in the Truck series ... Everyone I know that's heard of this particular story all say they laughed when they learned the "juiced" driver was Grampa ...

ESPN continues their drive to annoy as many drivers / crews / owners / fans / sponsors as they can ...

The sad thing is ... Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers were making fun of ESPN during the interview with Jamie Little during yesterday's rained out qualifying show ... Jamie didn't even seem to grasp that she & her employer were the butt of a joke that a lot of us were laughing at ...

That said ... I predict the ratings for tomorrow's Cup race will be down ... a LOT ...

Sophia said...

THANKS anon for the Trading Paint reminder.

I hope the crowd is better than the one for N Performance. NP crowd is screaming so loud I turned it off....I HATE LIVE CROWD shows..if folks can't behave, stop the taping. Drunken idiots or something.

Hopefully TP was taped during the day before eveybody got drunk and stupid.

Yep the TSH test is not enough there are other thyroid test including one that points to pituitary involvement (test escapes me) The whole H-P-A Axis is very complicated but it keeps the body running effectively!!!
(Hypothalamic -Pituitary= Adrenal Axis but in there, the thyroid boomerangs things around lol)

ESPN has always made me sick but to me, this is their Jump the Shark moment.

They have had many Fonzie approaching the ramp moments...but this is the last straw for me.

How the Powers that Be for NASCAR can take this all with a straight face.

(ALSO WOULD somebody make these guys WATCH A RACE on ESPN so they can see how the fans are getting the shaft?????)

And Mr. Assaul or whatever his name is can get a job at the National Enquirer or some other rag. It's disgusting what he has done to the family of Ron. Wonder if this will come up on Raceday???

How will the 5 letter network not mention the 4 letter network??

Sophia said...

Re: Well i am glad they were on Ron's side but wish they would've been specific about the misdiagnosis..there were TWO of those.

First a scoping saying he had G.I. problems and the second one an appendix operation??

Then a GOOD doctor that Ron saw against his will because he was tired of quacks, took ONE LOOK at Ron and saw the obvious signs of Graves. too bad they are not talking about the common issue of BAD DOCTORS today but that's not P.C. to mention.

Just glad most folks are seeing the medical issue and not just comparing him to Barry bonds and guys though there are many ignorant of the human body doing so but so be it.

Curious they did not mention the 4 LETTER word network. :)

Anonymous said...

I am starting to get tired of ESPN digging up all this dirt. Who cares what Ron did three, four years ago!

First of all, he took them because he had a very serious Thyroid condition. It wasn't for performance enhancement, anyone who things that is a... Well, I better not say it.

He did it so he could keep living.

I am not really sure what HGH, and Testos. would do to help a driver. May give them more endurance, but since they were 'illegal' when he took them, it is not a big deal. Its just ESPN what it does best, digging up needless dirt to make a hot rumor so that everyone thinks its a big deal and they get coverage. ESPN is a 95% gossip network. I rarely go to anymore, I prefer FOX Sports or CBS Sports, pretty much anyone else.

It gets hard to seperate gossip, from true rumors, to true facts with ESPN.

I liked NASCAR better when ESPN was not involved. Everyone knows why NASCAR let them back in, ESPN is worldwide, it gives NASCAR even more coverage. its all a money thing, I never thought I would say this, but I am ready from NBC (Nothing But Commercials) to come back. Or CBS, that would be cool.

Anonymous said...

Everyone wants to kill the messenger. But no one has really answered why he was taking steroids from someone other than a doctor. And not just anyone, but a clinic of dubious nature.

I suggest everyone dig up the 60 Minutes interview with the maker of "the clear" and then tell me that steroids cannot affect a NASCAR performer's performance. This man specifically designed his steroid cream to sharpen relfexes, improve timing, help zero an athlete into "the zone". It's about so much more than muscles.

I guess I'm in the minority here, and that's fine. But I think ESPN was right to put this story out there. Horaday is so loved that no one wants to really question his flimsy story. Well, it took an independent news organization to do it. More power to them.

Anonymous said...

Anon said:

I suggest everyone dig up the 60 Minutes interview with the maker of "the clear" and then tell me that steroids cannot affect a NASCAR performer's performance. This man specifically designed his steroid cream to sharpen relfexes, improve timing, help zero an athlete into "the zone". It's about so much more than muscles.

that is what some testosterone supplement might do for a healthy person. If you are so sick and beaten down, Ron probably just wanted to get a med to get him back to some energy baseline where he could function safe enough to race.

He was desperate. Unlike the body builder looking dudes in baseball that were slender one year and looked like Magilla Gorilla the next !!

Oh and in case you don't know this, thyroid problems can ruin your reflexes. does that mean they should not be fixed?

some men produce too much testosterone. Naturally. Should we ban them for a natural advantage?

GinaV24 said...

There was a poll on Jayski's page yesterday about the performance enhancing drug question. The NO radio button didn't work at all yesterday. I hate to be a conspiracy theorist here, but it seemed odd to me and I really wondered if that poll was put up to try and justify the story. I didn't vote until this morning when both the buttons actually worked. The fans have said NO on that poll by a pretty overwhelming margin. ESPN paid NASCAR a lot of money to broadcast the NASCAR content. Funny, I wonder if NASCAR really expected to get this kind of coverage for the sport? It seems like all ESPN has done since they got back in is make fun of the sport or run it down. I don't get it.

rich said...

JD, sadly most people will never understand that ESPU has totally twisted the pharmaceutical facts. "Steroids" is a very general term which includes many different drugs. Only the anabolic steroids are used for performance enhancement. Topical testosterone is not used for performance enhancement.
ESPU has played up this story in a way that shows their true colors. Move over National Enquirer. I think that I will watch only Hotpass this weekend. Hopefully others will do the same.

Daly Planet Editor said...


The crying shame of this whole deal is how many ESPN employees were involved and how it was coordinated across all of the ESPN media outlets.

No regard for truth or accuracy at all. Swept up in complete innuendo and the best part is Hornaday had admitted it to Assael and supplied an explanation to him about the medical condition.

That is why ESPN had to rush to get it out on Thursday, because the wind was going to come out of this sail on Friday as soon as Hornaday opened his mouth to the real media.


Anonymous said...

Any time there is any story in the news media that is negative to a NASCAR personality, this blog calls it sleazy journalism.

No, anytime a reporter lies to get an interview and then fails to tell the whole story (which others by the way, have now done), this blog--and other professional journalists--call that "sleazy journalism."

Anonymous said...

If the cream had actually was a performance enhancing drug ... WHY did Hornaday only win 1 race in 2005??

Hornaday won the Busch race on 07/02/04 at Milwaukie and didn't get another win until 3/18/05 when he won the Truck race at Charlotte in a hard fought, last lap battle against Bobby Labonte which came down to the wire with one of the closest winning margins ... His next win was 5/27/06 at Mansfield in the Trucks and 07/08/06 at Kentucky in the Trucks ...

I don't see any enhancement in his performance there ... I see a lack of performance ...

Mr Assael did NOT realize just WHO he was dealing with when he tangled with Grampa ... This is a well-respected, stand-up guy that has earned the respect of his fellow drivers, crew & media and they're all coming to Grampa's defense ...

IF Mr Assael was going to question anybody about possible performance enhancing steroid use ... You'd think he would go after someone who's winning a lot and high in the points ... Possibly someone who's into lots of weight training, etc ... NOT a 50yo grampa who's not exactly the picture of physical fitness ...

Based on Mr Assael's bio ... I'd really love to see which side of the aisle he was truly standing on in the debate over the former plan to build a new track on Staten Island ... He's a New Yorker ... And since he worked at the Village Voice, I've got a feeling he was NOT on our side ...

Anonymous said...

Nascar Scene has an article on their website in which Nascar's own consultant on drugs states that drivers using testosterone is a safety issue for the sport because testosterone could (depending on the way it's used) affect a driver's behavior and also be used for performance enhancement reasons in terms of increased endurance. That spells out the legitimacy of ESPN covering the Hornaday story.

I agree with the few people who have noted that there are numerous unanswered questions regarding Hornday. He is very lucky he's a driver and not an MLB or NFL player where the scrutiny from the media and the investigative reporting would make ESPN's coverage look like a walk in the park. Just ask Jason Giambi, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte (who said he used HGH to try to recover from his own medical issues) and many others. I wonder if any of those who take issue with ESPN reporting on Hornaday also take issue with the reporting on any other athlete connected to the use of performance enhancers?

Anonymous said...

Andy P. admitted to using roids to RECOVER FROM INJURIES
The DR. from NASCAR said COULD if used in larger amounts - not at the levels Ron was using it.

And like a lot of posters I AM OFFENDED at the way the interview was OBTAINED, and AT THE AGENDA BEHIND it. The full story was not TOLD, & was written & reported on air FALSELY

Daly Planet Editor said...


Could you please help me out with a couple of issues?

One, this story was over two years old. At the time, NASCAR had no drug policy in place for any type of substance like testosterone. How does an expert talking about the effects of anabolic steroids for stick-and-ball sports have anything to do with testosterone, which is not?

Secondly, what do you think he was trying to achieve other than possibly saving his life? Do you believe he was going for a performance-enhancement?


Anonymous said...

There's a big difference between topical testosterone cream rubbed on a person's thigh and HGH which is injected into the body ... HGH is an anabolic steroid ... Testosterone cream is not ...

I have issues with ESPN over the lies they perpetrated against Hornaday ... because I've been a fan of Hornaday's since his rookie season at Saugus Speedway ...

But, there is a lot that needs to be done in the stick & ball sports where steroid use is running rampant ... and the commissioners don't really do anything to stop it ...

Anonymous said...

JD, if we go based on the story can't be reported because it's two years old then there's countless news stories that the media can't report on because it didn't happen today or yesterday. Perhaps the San Francisco newspaper that broke the story about Balco shouldn't have reported on that because the alleged use of performance enhancers happened in the past with those athletes too? Does news somehow expire?

Countless MLB players used greenies for years, those were only added to MLB's drug policy within the past couple of years - does that mean that the media can't talk about the issue of greenies in MLB (they do)?

The expert speaking on testosterone is Nascar's own consultant regarding their drug policy speaking about the potential effect that testosterone could have on a driver, not the effects on a stick and ball sport's athlete. The article can be found here:

I have no idea why Hornaday was taking the testosterone. Maybe it was to treat a medical condition. Maybe there was more to it - his own wife allegedly admitted that she was taking HGH for anti-aging reasons (which is illegal). Almost every athlete connected to performance enhancers has a story and a lot of good excuses.

Sophia said...

The body produces many steroids on it's own (I know, I am repeating myself)

Just like many guys "Practicing medicine" need to go back to medical school for a refresher course. Thus after two strikes, Hornaday was not ready for a third at bat with a quack (Yes, maybe the doc by mail prescription was a quack but the first two he saw face to face did "Not deliver the goods either" no pun intended.) By that I mean a dx of the illness.

To wit:

The two doctors that blew off Hornadays' condition by 'their expert opinion' saying he had too much gas, and after a scoping, said gastro intestinal problems. Generic CYA answer (covering your ***)

I believe Ron had a 'double header'. Colonoscopy and Esophagogastroduodenoscopy on the same day. At least he alluded to getting two scopes but looked at Jim Hunter and said "I can't use that 'one word' can I" and worded things creatively.

Ron still ill, feels horrible, goes to another doctor with "M.D." after his name. Appendix needs to be removed (???) I want to know what THOSE SYMPTOMS were to "Justify that surgery" to an insurance company, but i diguress...

Ron still sick and according to reports and I think Harvick said it Friday had lost 40 lbs! At which point Harvick said 'that's it, you are doing something about this.'

Thus within days, at FIRST GLANCE, a GOOD DOCTOR suspected, and later confirmed via simple blood work, Ron's condition.

Drug consultants in these media situations can be used like a Spin doctor.

Also I am not bashing doctors (had one in the family that did surgery and delivered babies) but there ARE MORE bad ones today as they have lost much power to insurance companies (what tests to run, what labs to use)Thus they become apathetic and lose focus. Google about Jenny Craig's nightmare with her jaw problem that went a few years without an answer. It's a huge issue NOT getting an answer. I don't care if it's Cleveland Clinic, Mayo or NIH or Johns

Being a doctor just means you went to medical school. It does not make you GREAT at your profession. Or even good, or even fair.

Kind of like OWNING a grand piano does not necessarily make you a concert pianist. :-)

I am not justifying RH did the right thing, but if the folks that are supposed to help you do NOT, and you are sick and tired of being sick and tired...what do you do? Finally, Kevin had seen him lose enough weight, and need too many IV fluids before a race to be energetic enough to drive.Kevin forced the issue of a 3rd opinion. THANK GOD. And Hornaday thanked him (and Delana) at the Awards banquet last year for helping him get his life together, and I wondered why he looked so sincere and grateful. Now we all know why.

Sophia said...

For the record, even if this story was about a driver I do not like, I would still HATE how it was gotten...under false pretenses to make a medical story sound like a 'typical stick and ball drug story.'

Anonymous said...

>ESPN paid NASCAR a lot of
>money to broadcast the NASCAR
>content. Funny I wonder if
>NASCAR really expected to
>get this kind of coverage
>for the sport?

I think this is exactly the problem -- NASCAR seems to think that it is entitled to some sort of hands-off coverage because ESPN has a big-money deal with them. That isn't how it works in any other sport, and it isn't how it works here. If NASCAR expected ESPN to treat them any differently, they were mistaken. This is the same scrutiny given to any sport - in fact, I would still suggest it is less scrutiny as many NASCAR media are afraid to criticize NASCAR for fear of being shut out.

Anonymous said...

All you Ron Horaday fans should wake up to the fact that Horaday got his sterods from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center. You all should do a little Googling on this place before you clear Hornaday and buy his story wholly. This is a clinic that was notorious for supplying steroids and HGH to athletes. It had that reputation long before Hornaday ever visited them. Just Google them and you will see the many allegations against that center involving Olympic athletes, football players, wrestlers, and others in more than a half-dozen incidents or investigations involving illegal doping. Yet, this is the place Hornaday sought out to fix what he thought was a life-threatening illness? Ha! Sounds more to me like while he was so weak from his illness he was looking for a boost so he could have the stamina to continue to compete while it was figured out... and someone along the way directed him to a notorious house of performance-enhancing drugs.

Now, you may believe Hornaday fully... but you simply cannot objectively look at the facts of this case, some of which are more than a little questionable, and then criticize ESPN for investigating. Frankly, ANY professional athlete that had anything at all to do with this sleazy Rejuvination Center should be investigated -- their track record is like a laundry list of indictments and connections to doped athletes.

I don't fully buy Hornaday's story. It may be true, but he hasn't answered some fairly significant questions about it yet and anyone who blames ESPN for even bringing it up probably doesn't know all the facts about this situation and where Hornaday was shopping for his "meds".

Anonymous said...

Oh, and one more thing about Hornaday's story:

Does everyone here simply forget that at first he claimed he used testosterone for a week and then stopped. No, make that "insisted."

Then, only later, did he change his timeline and admit that he used it every single day for 13 months.

That's a pretty significant lapse in memory. Or someone changing their story once additional evidence is brought out. If he did nothing wrong, why the change in story?

Anonymous said...

Here are some more troubling facts:

Mark Haskins, a senior investigator with the New York Department of Health who led an investigation into the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center claims that the cream Hornaday used is a favorite of athletes because it is fast-acting and clears the body quickly. He also called the dosage that Hornaday received "an extremely high level."

Haskins said that Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center was a favorite of athletes and bodybuilders because it provided easy and relatively anonymous service.

"I hesitate to even call it a clinic," Haskins said. "I haven't been able to find any evidence that any of its doctors actually saw patients. It was all done over the Web."

Haskins said the center was spending $30,000 a month on Internet advertising for steroids and growth hormone.

Now tell me you can read this and my two previous posts immediately above and tell me that this isn't a story that warrants some investigation!

Anonymous said...

I work in a pharmacy and I guess all of us here in the boonies need to be investigated. After all we dispense testosterone creams and injections on a reg basis as prescribed by local drs. Let's not forget all of the other steroids for asthmatics and those suffering from poison ivy and back problems and all the children receiving them for any number of health reasons?. If ESPN wanted to do a story about drug use in NASCAR then why not do an indepth on Aaron Fike or some others. Why not do an article on why nascar has kept it's head in the sand about drug use?
The manner in which this story was obtained was just a hatchet job. A man who is sick, lost 40 lbs is searching for something, anything to 'fix' what is wrong. He is looking for answers and he keeps getting the wrong ones til that next dr finally asks the right questions and runs the right tests. Medicine is not an exact science....there is a lot to still learn

Anonymous said...

Anon of these posts
September 14, 2008 2:38 AM
September 14, 2008 2:42 AM
Please do NOT TELL me or anyone else what to do or think its rude. You hide behind Anon well - why not get a name and post?

Anonymous said...

What does it matter if I post as Anon? No one was addressed some of the troubling facts of this case.

Everyone wants to believe Ron so much they are just swallowing his story whole. Yeah, it makes sense if you believe his story -- but his story has changed and he has not given all the facts and parts of his story have been retracted after he was presented with evidence to the contrary.

To the pharmacist - you are not running a clinic that gives out HGH and steroids to pro athletes without the recommendation of a doctor, nor does your pharmacy spend $30,000 a month advertising steroids on the internet. Also, I'm guessing your pharmacy doesn't operate exclusively on the web with no in-person contact. So, no, you don't need to be investigated... but this shady, notorious, well-known supplier of illegal drugs DOES need to be investigated and HAS BEEN investigated.

The fact that Hornaday's name is on their client lists should be extremely troubling to anyone.

Anonymous said...

How do we know which Anon is which?

Also IF you are the Anon telling people how or what to think - thats rude.

Anonymous said...

To anon....

So, no, you don't need to be investigated... but this shady, notorious, well-known supplier of illegal drugs DOES need to be investigated and HAS BEEN investigated.

The fact that Hornaday's name is on their client lists should be extremely troubling to anyone.

And HOW many other names were on the 'client' list? Do you think everyone of them has illicit activities going on? It is akin to those who seek 'treatments' outside the US, buy medications across the border. Not everyone is trying to do anything illegal, they just want to find an answer and something that helps them. Heaven help you if you ever find yourself seeking an alternative and are labeled

Sophia said...

To the anons'

Does anybody ever wonder if it is one person or many people talking to themselves or to us?

HOW DIFFICULT would it be to sign your post anon22 or anon99

all this anon and wondering who we are speaking to is annoying.

I understand the folks in the biz post here want to remain anon but it's getting out of hand as others have claimed, how do we know to whom we are responding to? :-)

Daly Planet Editor said...

The two issues that we are discussing are exactly what ESPN has tried very hard to tie together.

Hornaday was mistaken in trying testosterone replacement therapy by himself simply because his doctors could not find out what was wrong with him. No doubt about it.

When ESPN discovered where he got his testosterone cream, they realized they had a gold mine. Simply by tying the sleazy clinic to NASCAR and Hornaday, they had a story that would travel around the world. It worked.

The two things that Anon and others are leaving out are simple to understand. In the media, it is all about timing.

ESPN took Thursday and slammed Hornaday with every single media outlet they owned. That got the story around the world before Hornaday could show-up on camera and explain.

When is the last time an ESPN person like Assael did not take a camera crew to an interview? You know they use the content in both print and video form.

Assael had one day to get this story out and tie Hornaday to suggestions of performance-enhancement. He did it.

Hornaday showed up on Friday with all his medical forms, his original presription for the cream, his blood work (labs) and even had the un-used portion of the cream. It was too late.

Even though the story has gone away, the damage is done. ESPN got the words steroids and NASCAR all over the world and got tons of attention for itself and for Assael. That is the game of smear and run.

Simply by waiting one more day to report on a story that was over two years old, ESPN would have had to present the total story and that would not have captured the attention of the fans and the worldwide media when all the facts were out.

So, good timing and creative writing by ESPN combined with a reporter who is a "steroid specialist" accomplished the goal of the company.

Expect this story to fall off the planet and the lingering hard feelings about ESPN taking cheap shots at NASCAR drivers to only grow as The Chase progresses.


Anonymous said...

Hornaday claiming that he used the Palm Beach Rejuvination Center (of all places, I mean really) for a legitimate reason is like someone claiming they go to a strip club because they have good coffee. I mean, maybe they do have really good coffee -- but of all the places in the world to buy coffee, why pick the sleaziest one? That's how I feel about Hornaday. His story is just shaky top-to-bottom. I would feel much better if he hadn't radically changed the timeline of his story as someone pointed out above and/or if it were any other clinic than this one.

Anonymous said...

ESPN didn't have to tie the clinic to Hornday - he freely admitted getting the prescription from the clinic. Which was apparently illegal since even though he had paperwork, bloodwork and a prescription he never actually saw a doctor. Then there's the HGH that was mailed to him - it's been said that it was for his wife but of course since there's no test that detects HGH use there's no way of knowing if he used it or not - only his word that he didn't.

Anonymous said...

Got'cha sleaze is common in the media - ESPN & elsewhere, unfortunately.

I will be shocked, shocked if any major news outlet makes any negative comment at all about ESPN's sleazy handling of the Hornaday matter. In fact, the estimable Mike Mulhern wrote an article about the controversy without any mention at all of ESPN. The rest of the media seems to be scared to death of ESPN and never criticizes it for anything. Maybe the rest of the media is constantly auditioning for the Evil Empire?

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that some of those "anonymous" posts are actually the weasel himself ... Assael ...

I think if people knew Hornaday's family history ... they wouldn't be so quick to hang him over the story ...

People do crazy things when they're sick ... esp when doctors can't figure out what's wrong with them ... and if they've got a family history of things like cancer ...

I've been a fan of the man for close to 30 years ... I've seen him go through the highs & lows of his career as well as life ... I give him the benefit of the doubt ...

Some sleazy, cheesy reporter from New York that runs around with an agenda will ever change my mind about Hornaday ...

I've seen the dark side of the Walt Disney Company ... and it IS ugly ... If Walt were alive today, Mr Assael would be GONE!!

Sophia / Jo - Look at the posting styles and you'll be able to figure out which posts are done by which "anonymous" ...

Anonymous said...

anonymous@8:17, about telling the poster through the style. Your style is exactly the same as it is at (all the "I hate Walt Disney Co." references and the ellipses are the biggest giveaways) and it's why you are the only anonymous poster I can identify on the site. I won't post your speed tv user name because it's nobody's concern.

I truly can't identify anyone else, nor do I care to. Don't see why it makes a difference. I like to read all views no matter who they're from.

Anonymous said...

just about the anon thing...lots of us have reasons for that. You can put together posts from people and discern a great deal of info about them. I personally think my gender, location, etc are not relevant in my opinion about things. Sometimes I post anonymously, sometimes I use a name. This new 'anon' might not have been familiar with our habit of using 'anon 5:15' or whatever. It's ridiculous to assume it's Asseal instead of million other people.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I am going to continue the Anon thing until the end of this season.

This function makes it easy for folks in the business who do not want to be tracked down to offer their views.

Since this site is still small, it is easy for me to track down and delete any problems.

Rather than worry about who is posting, we try to look at what they are saying and continue the conversations. It has been working OK so far.

If there is any issue about a poster or a comment, just drop me a line at anytime. Lots of people do.


Anonymous said...

HOW DIFFICULT would it be to sign your post anon22 or anon99

all this anon and wondering who we are speaking to is annoying.

Not sure how "anon" is more annoying than "anon99" would be, but if I choose not to give an identity on this board, that's my choice.

Seeing 27 posts from sophia on each thread? Now, THAT's annoying.

Anonymous said...

That's why I never bother to listen to anything ESPN (or any other news outlet) has to say until several other sources given similar report and present facts, rather than innuendo. The chump from ESPN out to be fired, but we all know that won't happen.

Anonymous said...

I see where Lee Spencer lauded Harvick for coming to Hornaday's defense from "attempts to sensationalize Ron Hornaday's use of a testosterone cream..." - without any mention of where the attempt occurred. Apparently ESPN is answerable to no one, according to what might be called the mainstream media.

Anonymous said...

@Richard in N.C.
I'm glad Lee didn't mention the name
why give them any publicity good bad or in between! ;)

Anonymous said...

Amazing!!! What I have been saying for a very long time is finally showing it's face in a very uglyu fashion. ESPN(or ESPU as another writer used) is nothing more and nothing less than the paparazzi of sports. They will go to ANY lengths to get a story, even if they have to use subtle half-truths(okay, lies) to enhance it. The Hornaday story sadly confirms it once again. It's going to get to the point where NOBODY in the NA$CAR garage will talk to ESPN. Way to go, ESPN. Keep up the good work , but excuse me while I hold my nose to ward off the stink. Midasmicah