Saturday, October 24, 2009

Muddy Breakfast With Jeremy On ESPN

It does not seem like all that long ago when ESPN decided the NASCAR ratings needed a little help. They called in the smear team. Click here for one of the most viewed stories ever on TDP. It is titled "The Two Faces Of ESPN On Display."

One team of ESPN employees outside of the NASCAR bunch took months to create a story that suggested Ron Hornaday was worried about getting older and took steroids in an effort to keep his ride. As we all know now, Hornaday thought he was dying. He had Graves Disease and had yet to be correctly diagnosed.

In a flash, Hornaday's steroid allegations were scrolled on the ESPN network's tickers, placed on SportsCenter as a lead story, pushed on the website and published in ESPN the Magazine. The media blitz was underway.

That same day, Marty Smith headed into the Loudon, NH garage with a camera crew in tow and asked NASCAR personalities about the Hornaday story. What he presented that night to fans on the very same TV network that broke the story was quite different from the original version. Despite the truth being revealed, ESPN had accomplished the goal of creating and distributing a controversial NASCAR story during the Chase.

Sunday morning it will be Jeremy Mayfield talking to ESPN's Outside the Lines show at 9AM ET. This is a Sunday in the heart of the Chase when ESPN once again is longing for better TV ratings. What a coincidence.

Click here for a video and text preview of Mayfield's piece on OTL.

Reporter Steve Delsohn is not involved in NASCAR, but he will present the Mayfield story. Delsohn is a West Coast reporter for OTL and a veteran author. The NASCAR experience will be provided by Ryan McGee, a former executive at the NASCAR Media Group and now a full time reporter for ESPN the Magazine. He will be a live guest. His perspective should be interesting.

Each story has to have a "hook." Here is what ESPN offered in a media release that was re-published across the Internet. See if you can tell what they will be emphasizing.

Suspended NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield tells reporter Steve Delsohn, in Mayfield’s first one-on-one nationally televised interview, that NASCAR is using his situation to scare the sport's marquee drivers who he says use drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine. (ESPN media release)

"You use me as an example to let everybody know who may have already tested positive for marijuana, cocaine or whatever, that they haven’t got anybody for, and it puts the fear of God in everybody in the whole sport. I was a good example, a good pawn who wasn’t going to cost them any money at all. I was worth more to them as a failed drug test then I am as a driver, owner for my own team." (Mayfield quote in release)

There is no clear-cut reason given as to why Mayfield is on ESPN. His new high-profile attorney Mark Geragos was not even in the picture when this story was produced for OTL. Mayfield's race team is gone, his career is gone and his voice is falling on mostly deaf ears.

If ESPN has a legitimate reason for this report, it will hopefully be explained. If this entire thing has been packaged to drive TV ratings by suggesting that "marquee drivers" are taking drugs, then the fan backlash is going to be swift.

Either way, there are a lot of us who will be having breakfast with Jeremy. One thing is for certain. Mud will be on the menu.

TDP welcomes your comments on this topic before, during and after the OTL program. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by, this is going to be a very interesting topic.


Photojosh said...

I listen to a lot of ESPN radio when out in my shop. Every friday night they play "the sporting life" which seems to be audio from some of the TV shows like ESPN:60 etc.

This week they played some (if not all) of the Mayfield piece. And to be honest, if you've been following the story, there isn't really anything new there. Jeremy makes his standard claims and professes innocence. A drug testing guy not connected to the situation says "no way" to the ADHD drug & Claritin D claim. Another (or the same) drug testing guy says "NASCAR's testing policy seems to not be set up well". Nobody from NASCAR or Aegis would comment for the piece. And so on.

About the only thing that was new to me, and this might just have been something I missed, was that there are four guys (aside from his stepmother) who swear in an affidavit that they have seen Jeremy use meth. Jeremy claims that they are all best friends and are out to get him because one used to be married to his sister and he stopped funding the guy's race team after they got divorced or some such thing.

All in all, interesting, but not that interesting if you have been following the story. To the non-NASCAR fan, I can see it being interesting in the same way that the Barry Bonds stuff is interesting to a non-baseball fan. Which is probably why ESPN is running it. Having heard the audio, I'm not going to bother to watch the TV version. So someone will have to clue me in if there was audio that they were holding back with interesting new info.

Photojosh said...

Also, the NASCAR promotional statement is over the top in regards to any claims that Jeremy makes about the other guys taking drugs. I didn't hear him say anything that would imply that the "top" guys are using drugs. He just claims that he was made an example of to send a message to the other guys in the sport that have tested positive. Doesn't name names, doesn't say any of the top drivers are doing so, doesn't even hint at that as far as I could tell. Unless I missed some part of it while mucking about in the shop.

West Coast Diane said...

Won't waste my time. Will read comments at TDP to get the gyst of it.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Di.....What if? Ya know?

red said...

@jd "what if . . .?" what? mayfield names names w/o any proof? he continues to declare his innocence? he veers into discussing his step-mother? what would he be willing to bring to this that he hasn't already discussed?

will he discuss test results from "his labs" and provide the documentation so i can read it and compare it to what aegis put out? will he talk about the finances of hiring this lawyer when he still owes racing people money? will he discuss the engine payment lawsuit? (yeah, i know: those came up after this was taped, in all likelihood, but still they are the questions i'd like answered.)

i think you're in for a re-hash of the same claims and will hear many of the same statements from mayfield.

but ya' know what, jd? he still hasn't touched the basic question i have: why would nascar "go after" him, jeremy mayfield? why would they "choose" him to accuse, to destroy, to attack? seems to be that the only more combative driver they could have "chosen" would have been robbie gordon! if they were going to pick someone to set an example of their zero tolerance, they would have chosen someone who did NOT have the reputation that mayfield has for confronting "authority" and going after folks himself.

nascar may be dumb at times but they ain't stupid. and i don't know what he could be adding as i type that would make me change my mind.

Daly Planet Editor said...

He must have talked to Geragos. The basis of his claim is being denied access to the B sample so it could be tested by an independent lab.

That is the only point in the entire saga that can get him a settlement.

Other than that, same old.


Beating A Dead Horse said...

Walter Thomas Ford, why was this a segment on 'Outside the Lines'? 'Out of Story Ideas' maybe? Watching Mayfield tilt at windmills, twist stories to fit his perspective and point fingers at everyone but himself for his problems is a familiar refrain. For tweekers.

According to an amusing definition in the Urban Dictionary, "Tweekers are known for their extreme paranoia, flagrant dishonesty, and lack of non-tweeker friends. A tweeker will steal your stuff and then help you look for it." That coincides with the observations I have made of family members and acquaintances over the years in this situation.

There is little doubt, as McGee stated, everyone in and out of the garage area believes Mayfield is guilty as accused. While the Mayfield saga will force NASCAR to make some much needed changes to the policy, Jeremy and ESPN have 'jumped the shark' with this show today.

Newracefan said...

I did DVR it but have not watched and my never do so. If he said something new and different I would want to see/hear it for my self but from what I have seen on Twitter it was same old same old sooooo, unless I get really bored (doubtful) it's delete for me.

What is it with ESPN anyway the chase shows up and someone who knows nothing about Nascar says lets find a STORY. The one thing I find interesting is that this is all they could find, perhaps they should stop looking in the same places they look for stick and ball sports stories. I'm not saying there are not any STORIES in Nascar but there certainly isn't one here.

Cunow1 said...

My complaint from the begin of this story is the Media or so called Journalists do not investigating on the facts, Years ago journalist needed to vet a story to the max to assure the facts are true many court case where solved by reporter digging deep to find the truth . Today they all political, local and sport journalist just write what the hear say or see or what they are told to do by the higher authorities . There is no investigating. Just write the story from what you hear and make sure it’s juicy.

Beating A Dead Horse said...

From Twitter:

"@cunow1 If Jeremy was so Cut and Dry Guilty why hasn't Nascar won yet?Why does Nascar keep postoning court dates???"

NASCAR knows their drug testing program and it's policies will undergo a great deal of scrutiny in a court of law. It is imperative that NASCAR define and implement all needed changes by the court dates referenced in this tweet to maintain credibility in a court of law.

Daly Planet Editor said...

We call it "reporting for the moment." Lots of what is wrong with the media goes right back to that change.

Can you say "Balloon Boy?"


PammH said...

It was interesting to see the McMansion they were building (for TWO people) looking like a shell. And if I was going on national TV, I sure wouldn't show up looking scruffy, which is the way JM appeared. No new info, except for the ex-bro-in-law for me. Same ole, same ole.

Harry said...

The dawn of Geragos in this story is sure to scare the pants off of NASCAR's black box boys. If NASCAR had not tried to reinvent the wheel (and kept the world in the dark about it), and instead used the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that provides a multi-tiered sequence aimed at resolving false positives caused by drugs such as those that Mayfield claims he used, this whole affair would be over. But instead, because of the arrogant, stubborn, and self-righteous entity that is NASCAR, Inc., this thing will cost them millions, and in the meantime, Mayfield's career has been destroyed. Ultimately, once this is over, Mayfield will have plenty of cash to pay off his creditors, and NASCAR will end up having a fully public policy. Apparently, nothing changes in NASCAR without extreme pain - self-inflicted on NASCAR's part, and NASCAR-inflicted on everyone else. Repectfully submitted.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Looked like he needed $$$ to me.


Daly Planet Editor said...

Pete Pistone: ESPN is hurting NASCAR much more by dredging up the Mayfield story for no apparent reason.

Bruce Simmons said...

If I didn't know any better (and I don't) Jeremy keeps sounding like one of those paranoid delusionals you see on COPS.

And Geragos? Why not a lawyer that will purely use the law to argue Mayfield's perspective instead of one that has a massive media history.

As far as ESPN goes, it's a shame we're anchored to them for the back part of the season. Even if they're going to get backlash from fans, I think they're banking on drawing in new fans and demographics and just aren't that concerned with the mainstay TV fans.

This Mayfield Circus is just a fanciful debacle that originated around a driver that used lawsuits in the past to deal with his driver issues, and he's known for dragging in inconsequential information to explain (make excuses) his point.

Sigh. He's so yesterday. He needs to open a Betty Ford like center and be done with it.

Dot said...

Like Pamm, I was curious about the house being built too. Why would one take on such a big undertaking without knowing if you're going to make races or not?

I recorded it and will watch it later. I'm also curious why BSPN would even run this.

Vicky D said...

I missed the interview but I feel Nascar hushes up some stories and publicizes others.

Anonymous said...

Your right, He shouldn't have been on. MW should have been on to answer for his behavior.As far as Hornaday, his story and explanation did not add up as neatly as you claim. Something is still fishy about his story.

Dot said...

I just thought of something. Why haven't the other people NASCAR tested who failed, hooked up with Jeremy? You know, kind of like a mini class action suit? How can it be that only Jeremy's test was tainted and theirs' weren't?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Harry at 10:50. I think part of it is that NASCAR suffers from the "not invented here" syndrome and hates to appear to be following someone else. The thing that makes it worse is that NASCAR is a privately owned corporation and does not have to make anything public or answer to any outsiders. Even the rulebook for the sport remains a secret.

The evolution of their drug policy would be laughable if the subject wasn't so serious. Public events forced them to abandon their old policy which they had insisted was the best in sports. But of course they couldn't adopt a nationally accepted standard - NASCAR had to reinvent the wheel and create a new best policy in sports. And look where it has got them.

They showed the same "not invented here" behavior regarding soft walls and head and neck restraints. Once they had been embarassed into adopting these advancements by IRL and Formula 1, they tried to claim it was due to NASCAR's emphasis on safety.

The regular media that covers NASCAR usually reports current events in the short term. Once the immediate events have passed, the media can be counted on to adopt the public NASCAR version of events with the pro-NASCAR slant. Checking facts, doing thorough research, and providing historical perspective are rare commodities in today's media covering the sport.

bryanh said...

Mayfield said he was the first on the new policy. Its not true, some of his own crew were busted, and did not lawyer up.

West Coast Diane said...

A little late...most of you are 3 hours ahead :-)

As suspected..."what if?" didn't materialize...said with love and affection to our fearless leader.

If they had something new, it would have leaked as a promo.

Time & the courts will tell.

PammH said...

JM is the first DRIVER that has been busted under the new policy. All other were crew members.

50 yr. fan said...

ESPN is the National Enquirer of
sports. Anything to create a controversy and get ratings.
Thanks Brain and the Daytona suits.

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