Last night as the Indians were battling the New York Yankees on the 4th of July, ESPN personality trotted out a little statement about Cleveland. Predictably, the people of Cleveland on Twitter started attacking. I actually don’t know who Dari Nowkhah is. This isn’t to discredit him or somehow make him less of an authority on anything. I am just being honest when I tell you I wasn’t following him and I didn’t know who he was. That being said, rather than being one of the masses that foams at the mouth, I thought maybe I would try to educate an ESPN employee about how Cleveland feels and maybe why we feel that way.
@ESPNDariNowkhah - “Wow – Cleveland is sensitive. I love the city, really do. It was a joke – enjoy your first place team and don’t be so serious. Wow!”
@WFNYCraig - “@ESPNDariNowkhah Think about that the next time your producers run a montage of all our failures on your network. It’s not us. It’s you.”
@ESPNDariNowkhah – “@WFNYCraig the montages aren’t depicting fiction.”
@WFNYCraig – “@ESPNDariNowKhah I’m just trying to explain in a civil fashion. Look at the reaction. Think maybe it has something to do with ESPN?”
@ESPNDariNowkhah – “@WFNYCraig I can assure you, there is nothing about your city that makes anybody at ESPN feel strongly one way OR THE OTHER!”
@WFNYCraig – “Cleveland fans might be too sensitive. We can own that. ESPN will NEVER be willing to own that they purposefully poke the bear.”
That’s the thing I guess. I do believe Dari Nowkhah when he says that ESPN isn’t anti-Cleveland. My problem with ESPN is that maybe it is something even worse. Maybe they are just lazy. Why else would the four-letter network – as many of its detractors call it – roll out the Cleveland sports misery montage every time the Indians are fortunate enough to find themselves on Sunday Night Baseball?
Trust me when I tell you that Jose Mesa has very little to do with the 2011 Cleveland Indians. When that happened most of this Cleveland Indians roster was 12 years old and probably not even a Cleveland Indians fan. Point being that, we should only have to continue to wear that outfit if we want to and when we feel like it. Trotting out all that stuff about John Elway and Michael Jordan is tired and lazy at best and mean-spirited at worst.
You’ll have to excuse Cleveland fans for being a little sensitive when something that is lazy at best and mean-spirited at worst is trotted out over and over and over again. When it is plastered in your face as frequently as it is in ours, it does start to appear to be anti-Cleveland.
It’s just sports. It’s supposed to be fun. Digging at each other is what we are supposed to have fun doing. That’s the nature of rivalry and competition. Still, we don’t think of that as the job description of the broadcast wing of ESPN. A commentator like Dari Nowkhah should be able to say whatever he wants. Then again when you wear those four letters – ESPN – in front of your name, you are a target for all of its flaws. Fair or not, that’s the way it works.
Just like there is truth to all of the “Cleveland Sports Misery Montage” there is just as much truth in ESPN sometimes not knowing what they subconsciously do to fans with their production decisions. Cleveland fans may overreact to even the slightest digs by ESPN employees, but the next time they poke the bear during one of their broadcasts or play that montage again, they can’t say they are digging at us unknowingly. We’ve told them time and again that it is gratuitous, lazy and obnoxious.
If they haven’t already, maybe it is time for ESPN to ask themselves why they insist on showing that montage seemingly every time Cleveland plays a game in the national spotlight. What purpose does it serve? Who is the audience? Was it just easy to press play on that stock footage? Rather than trying to indict Cleveland for being so “sensitive” maybe they ought to indict themselves for being so callous and lazy.