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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cowherd Controversy Postscript

Yesterday, ESPN Ombudsman George Solomon did a short wrap-up of the recent M Zone/Colin Cowherd controversy in his column on ESPN.com While I respect Mr. Solomon as a writer and journalist, the line in his story that bothered me was, "Some M Zoners were aggressive and abusive in their e-mail responses to Cowherd, who in turn, retorted by e-mail."

Just to recap the chronology of events, on March 22nd, Mr. Cowherd did eight jokes on his show which originated here on the M Zone, setting up the bit by saying, "We went on the Internet this morning and we found the Wonderlic test."

The next day, I put up a post detailing the incident and saying to our readers that if they thought what happened was "bullshit," here is the email for The Herd to email them about it.

I also wrote the following email to The Herd:

Loved the Wonderlic bit you did yesterday. Liked it better when we wrote it and posted it on our site site March 1st.


Not cool.

Yost and the M Zone gang

Friendly? No. But "aggressive and abusive"? Hardly.

In return, I got the following email from Mr. Cowherd:


I then posted that exchange along with two others from our readers.

As for any "aggressive and abusive" emails that may have been sent by any M Zone readers, to characterize them as coming from "some MZoners" would be akin to blaming "some ESPNers" for "aggressive and abusive" letters to Barry Bonds from ESPN viewers after SportsCenter aired a segment detailing Bonds's alleged steroid use.


Kyle King said...

I am disappointed in the E.S.P.N. ombudsman, whose wisdom in expressing such a sentiment appears less than Solomonic.

When describing this episode at Dawg Sports, I wrote that I probably would have taken a different approach to the problem had I written the original e-mail from The M Zone to Colin Cowherd.

Nevertheless, it should be clear that (a) the irritation that came through in your e-mail was justified under the circumstances and (b) Cowherd's reaction was out of all proportion to the provocation.

I guess I qualify as one of the so-called M Zoners who chose to send e-mails. I leave it to you to decide whether my e-mail to Solomon crossed any lines.

Cowherd did the right thing on his show to lay the controversy to rest and both The M Zone and the blogosphere generally let it go at that. (All right, I had a little fun at Cowherd's expense, but it was one joke in a posting full of attempts at humor.)

Solomon showed poor judgment in exhuming this issue with his ham-handed attempt at playing C.Y.A. for E.S.P.N.

BaggyPantsDevil said...


You are clearly a gentleman and a scholar. Your articulate e-mail was all class.

Admittedly, my e-mail--sent after reading Cowherd's response--was "aggressive and abusive" since I called Cowherd a "no-talent jackass" destined to work at a fast food drive-thru. It wasn't so much Cowherd's initial error that set me off, it was the arrogance of his "aggressive and abusive" response to Yost and the others that did it to me.

I think Solomon definitely missed the mark on this and seems to imply that "journalists" need to be careful because those bloggers can be a bit unstable.

Your bit on The Herd brought to you by Xerox was excellent. Staples would also work, since Cowherd just has to hit one of those "Easy" buttons and get some material from the internet.

Ben said...

I agree completely with your assessment.

See my comment from Tuesday's TOC after reading the ombudsman column.

Intentional mischaracterization. Kinad cheap. Almost lawyerly.

IC said...

Kyle,great stuff as usual.

Baggy and Ben, I agree with you guys re. Solomon's treatment of the Cowherd incident. It was a bs move on his part.

What bothers me most about it is how patronizing Solomon's position of Ombudsman is. It's clear that ESPN has no real interest in evaluating its own work--rather it simply wants to give the impression that it is concerned with doing so.

This "That oughta hold the SOBs" attitude of theirs is obvious in Solomon's piece yesterday and in several other examples in which he slaps the wrist of the Worldwide Weasels with his wet-noodled "critiques."

Wangs said...

As a result of the um-budsman's response, I will continue my boycott of all things not games on ESPN.

For example, today, April 5, 2006, I will not watch: NBA Fastbreak; Baseball Tonight; Outside the Lines Nightly; Sports Center (1am); SportsCenter (2am); Sportsenter (4:30am); SportsCenter (5:30am); SportsCenter (6:30am); SportsCenter (7:30am); SportsCenter (8:30am); SportsCenter (9:30am); SportsCenter (10:30am); SportsCenter (11:30am); The Hot List; 1st and 10; Jim Rome is Burning; Around the Horn; Pardon the Interruption; SportsCenter (6pm).

Not really how one can be calle the World Wide Leader in Sports if, um, they don't show sports. Maybe the World Wide Leader in Idiots Who Talk About Sports is more accurate.

IC said...

Wangs, you'll be missing some top notch programming.

The 2:00 am and 6:30 am SportsCenters are going to be great. The 5:30 am one should be good too. I think tonight they'll show some guys do some totally cool dunks while narrating the highlights with clever phrases like, "Lebron James says 'DUNKA shoen!!!'"

"Jim Rome is Burning" is solid as well--much better than his previous show "Rome is Burning" and completely different.

Not sure what "The Hot List" is, but I think there used to be a show with that title on the Spice Network and it was awesome.

You have "Around the Horn" and "Pardon the Interruption" completely wrong. These aren't shows where guys, as you note, "Talk About Sports." They're shows where guys Shout About Sports. It's totally in-your-face attitudevision.

If you'd rather watch games or do something else, hey, it's your loss.

kleph said...

Reading the Solomon column I feel it is clear that by saying "some MZoners" he is refering to fans of the site not the site itself. Particularly since he denotes you guys as "MZone owners" in the next sentence.

More important is this graf: "ESPN's radio and television hosts need to be vigilant in what they say and report over the airwaves and know the source of what comes over the Internet. And whenever ESPN staffers respond to anyone, via e-mail or postal mail, they, of course, need to remember they're representing ESPN."

If I am not mistaken, this is pretty much the position taking by the MZone panjandrums during this dust up. It only omits the point of conceptual ownership for things written by folks on the web but, in fairness, that is not ESPN's specific concern in this debate.

Wangs said...

Woah, Klep. Who you callin' a panjandrum? Bitch.

Of course, if it is a good thing. Well then, right back at cha'.

Yost said...

LOL, Wangs.

ambigiouslyGayDude said...

What a crybaby yost is.

Get over yourself.

They apologized.

Now you are looking for reasons to complain.

I thought LSU fans were bad, but you take the cake.

You criticize the onepeat LSU fans because you resemble them so closely.

Anonymous said...

No he doesn't. He uses an oven for cooking.

Kyle King said...

Wangs wondered how a network can call itself the Worldwide Leader in Sports without showing sports.

It's sort of like the way a network can call itself Music Television yet not show videos.

Anonymous said...


what sports would you suggest they show from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m? Poker? Bowling?

Anonymous said...

To be fair to Solomon, I assume when says that some MZoners were aggressive and obnoxious in their emails, he isn't differentiating between the writers of the site and the many people who emailed on their behalf.

The general attitude is far too passive though - as if they don't actually care, but have to pretend to. Kinda like when you tell your girlfriend you're listening, but you're not really listening.

I, for one, have no interest in any of ESPN's non-game programs, other than SC and occasionally PTI (where, unlike Rome and others, they actually have IQs over 100). And the screamers on sports radio (like Cowherd) are disgusting.

Oh, and there's plenty ESPN could be showing: how about other sports tape-delayed, like college lacrosse tournaments, US Soccer national team matches, etc. How about the type of stuff they play on classic? Old college fb and bb games? No, it's cheaper to replay SC 20x in a row.

DevilGrad said...

As one of Solomon's correspondents during this mess, I'm inclined to give him a pass on this -- largely because he's probably too old to make fine distinctions between a message board community (where the group tag "MZoners" wouldn't have raised any eyebrows) and a blog with a fanbase.

Since I don't watch it, I hadn't realized that the name of Rome's TV show had changed. I guess I'm waiting for v.3 -- "Jim Rome Sets Himself on Fire."

Wangs said...

Kyle King - you are 100% correct. I used to love just sitting in front of the tv watching video after video. Now, I'm not even sure what channel, if any, actually has videos. Every time I stumble on MTV they some stupid show, not videos. Arrggh.

Annon - re: program suggestions on the World Wide Leader in Idiots Who Talk About Sports from 12 am to 6pm.

Hmmm. Let's see, how about: women's beach vollyball.

Agree that replays of recent games would be a good idea. Like the NFL channel shows every play of a game in 30 minutes by eliminating the time in between plays. How awesome would it be to have college football games condensed like that or baseball?

I'm sure there are other sports that could fill time, other than endless repeats of SportsCenter.

BaggyPantsDevil said...


I couldn't agree more with you on content for ESPN.

There can never be enough women's beach volleyball. Each day without women's beach volleyball just feels a day the terrorists win.

And, condensed rebroadcasts of college football games would be awesome. At least most of the time. ESPN Classic already seems to be chock full of games where Michigan hands someone else a memorable victory. Ugh.

Cheater McSweatervest said...

Hey, I think we have found something that TOSU and MEECHIGAN folks can agree on. ESPN, with their lack of womens beach volleyball and their rebroadcasts of college football games at 3 am with the "we will be cutting this vital game action because we dont have time, here are another 20 minutes of viagra commercials" SUCKS!!!! We should boycott....but then I wont get to hear how the Duke UNC rivalry is the greatest in college sports, right up there with Alabama and Tennesse to see who can cheat and rat out the other the most. You guys are pretty classy here.....Surrounded in Columbus, I want to apologize for my classless crack on Bob Ufer. I was inebriated at the time. Maybe I could buy you a beer to make ammends?