View Full Version : The story ESPN doesn't want you to know- Foxsports

11-26-2008, 02:55 PM

The story ESPN doesn't want you to know

by Jason Whitlock (http://msn.foxsports.com/writer/Jason-Whitlock?authorId=310)

This was going to be your run-of-the-mill, I-told-you-so column gloating about my Ball State Cardinals running the regular-season table and climbing to No. 15 in the BCS poll.

I predicted all of this in August (http://msn.foxsports.com/cfb/story/8499088), and many of you justifiably thought I was simply mouthing off about my favorite football team in hopes of shining light on my long forgotten, never-remembered, mediocre playing days at Ball State and hamming it up in hopes of landing an invite to Dave Letterman's "Late Show."

Look, there are people with tape of Western Michigan's Joel Smeenge waltzing by me in 1987 and 1988. I have no interest in drawing attention to my playing career. And as much as I love and support my fellow BSU alum, Letterman, the "Late Show" doesn't quite stack up to sharing Oprah's stage. I've been to the mountain top.

My goal as a journalist/columnist is to be right about issues others don't see coming or don't have the courage/intellect to address.

Ball State football in 2008 provided a perfect storm. And the more I thought about this column and tracked my Cardinals throughout the season, the more perfect this storm became.

The column became bigger than an I-told-you-so moment. If I wrote a column every time I was right about something, I'd spend my entire career penning columns lampooning Charlie Weis' collapses. That would get old ... after four years or so.

Ball State's football season perfectly illustrated my problem with ESPN and why I believe the World Wide Leader is the most evil and destructive force in the sports world. It has driven and hastened the destruction of authentic, independent, democratic, courageous sports journalism.

ESPN is the enemy of the truth, and all who believe a pursuit of the truth is the lifeblood of a genuinely free society must stand against the Wal-Mart-ization of sports journalism.

I reached this conclusion when trying to figure out why Ball State quarterback Nate Davis isn't one of the top-five Heisman Trophy candidates and Ball State coach Brady Hoke isn't the front-runner for national coach of the year.

Do not laugh. I'm not on a high from Tuesday night's 45-22 thumping of Western Michigan, which secured Ball State's undefeated regular season and placed my Cardinals in the MAC Championship game. I'm not an overzealous fan. I was cold and rational in August when I told you the Cardinals had the schedule, personnel and maturity to run the table.

And I'm cold and rational now when I tell you that Nate Davis is the best player in college football and Hoke has turned in 2008's best coaching performance. I love Ball State. I'm not willing to lie for Ball State.

If it was 1985 and Sports Illustrated and print journalism were still the institutions driving the conversation in the sports world, a Ball State football alum and a late-night talk-show host wouldn't be the media people telling you about Davis and Hoke.

Believe it or not, before ESPN purchased the majority of relevant sports programming and seduced most of the creative, independent-thinking, connected sports writers to join its evil empire, there was this magical time when substance and the little guy actually had a voice in the sports world.

There was a time when writers would champion guys such as Gordon Lockbaum (fifth in 1986 and third in 1988) and Joe Dudek (ninth in 1985) for the Heisman Trophy. It's difficult to believe now, but in 1982 the 10 top vote-getters were all actually really, really good college football players: Herschel Walker, John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Anthony Carter, David Rimington, Todd Blackledge, Tom Ramsey, Tony Eason, Dan Marino and Mike Rozier.

Yes, back before one television enterprise monopolized the sports world, you actually could put together a serious run at the Heisman even if you weren't the starting quarterback of the top-ranked team Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musberger just anointed.

Since 2000, here are your Heisman Trophy winners: Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Carson Palmer, Jason White, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Troy Smith and Tim Tebow.

Do the 10 guys I named from 1982 form a better group than the eight winners from the new millennium, and if so why?

The conversation about the Heisman Trophy and all things in sports has been dumbed down by the World Wide Leader.

This year the network pretty much decided you had to play quarterback in the Big 12 to be in consideration for the Heisman Trophy. At different times throughout the season, Chase Daniel, Sam Bradford, Graham Harrell and Colt McCoy have been declared the leading candidates to win college sports' most prestigious individual award.

When Oklahoma embarrassed Texas Tech, Bradford shot past Harrell. Here's what's frustrating. I live in Big 12 country. I follow the league and have watched them all play regularly. Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree is the best football player in the Big 12.

Here's what's more frustrating. Not one of the Big 12's quarterbacks is in the same physical ballpark as Ball State's Nate Davis. It's not close. They can't match his arm, instincts, touch, accuracy, presence, ability to move in the pocket, out of the pocket or make plays when things break down.

They can't match his resume. Getting Ball State to 12-0 under the best circumstances is far more difficult than getting Oklahoma to 11-1. I know Ball State's schedule isn't as difficult as Oklahoma's. I also know Bradford is surrounded by far more talent than Davis.

Look, if the sports world didn't operate under the control of a sports-media dictatorship, I wouldn't have to provide you the context. A powerful, unbiased, independent journalist would've traveled to Ball State during the summer and talked with the man who recruited Tom Brady to Michigan (Brady Hoke) and the man who coached Tom Brady at Michigan (Ball State offensive coordinator Stan Parrish).

Hoke and Parrish can put Nate Davis in context more effectively than I can.
Nate Davis has the tools to be better than Tom Brady. Hoke and Parrish will tell you that, and they absolutely adore Tom Brady.
If you watch Nate Davis play, he looks like the second coming of Brett Favre.

Now, ESPN2 has broadcast Ball State's last four games. The first game I believe Lou Holtz and Mark May provided the color commentary. It was their first real look at Davis, and they were appropriately complimentary and a bit guarded. The second game was against Miami of Ohio and a non-descript B team called the game.

The last two games were against Central Michigan and Western Michigan, two top-40-caliber squads who provided the Cardinals legitimate tests. Ray Bentley, an all-time great at CMU, a former NFL linebacker and a passionate follower of MAC football, was the color commentator.

Unfortunately, ESPN did not require Bentley to leave his Central Michigan pom poms at home. Nor did the network force Bentley to disclose all pertinent information, such as the fact that his son is a walk-on member of the CMU football team and that the Ball State coaching staff declined to offer Bentley's kid a scholarship despite Bentley's request.

If the viewers knew all the relevant information coloring Ray's commentary, then they probably would've understood why Bentley spent the entire Ball State-CMU broadcast pretending that CMU's outstanding MAC quarterback, Dan Lefevour, was on the same level as Ball State's once-in-a-lifetime passer.

As a journalist, it's important that I disclose to you that I love Ball State. When I have a bias, I let you know it in hopes that you will read my commentary in context. I'm hoping most of you reading this realize or remember that I worked at ESPN for many years and parted company (was fired) with the network three years ago primarily after Mike Lupica and "Sports Reporters" producer Joe Valerio made it clear that I would not be allowed to talk about Barry Bonds and steroids in a way they found disagreeable. (There's more to the story and you can Google and find all of the additional background rather easily.)

ESPN is so financially tied to the organizations it covers and so devoid of basic journalistic ethics that it cannot properly analyze the sports world. ESPN just bought the BCS television package. It has a vested interest in promoting all things BCS.

If you're going to televise multiple Big 12 games in primetime on ABC and ESPN, you have every reason to promote the myth that the majority of Heisman Trophy candidates play in the Big 12.

Let me tell you what passes for courage and independent thinking at ESPN. Chris Fowler dropped Ball State out of his AP top-25 ballot last week after the Cardinals beat a then-9-2 Central Michigan team on the road.

I'm not someone who believes Ball State belongs in a BCS bowl game. Any team — not just a mid-major — needs a top-25 victory on its resume before you even begin the BCS argument. We don't have it. Right now, we've earned the right to be ranked — in my opinion — anywhere from No. 18 to 23. If we finish 14-0, I'll be satisfied with a ranking between No. 10 and 15.

What Fowler has done is ridiculous and reeks of the kind of simple-minded arrogance that permeates ESPN. Fowler has had his *** kissed for too many years. He travels around the country during football season and everywhere he goes, there's an Army of BCS sports information directors waiting to kiss his *** and tell him how great "GameDay" is.

He has never been a professional journalist a day in his life. He's a TV personality. He knows what someone else has told him. I'm not 100 percent sure, but I'd suspect he hasn't worn a jock since junior high school.
This is the combination that is killing the sports media. No journalism background, no real athletic experience and no backbone. No clue. Fowler wouldn't make a competent blogger.

"GameDay" and Fowler are unlikely to ever visit Muncie, Ind. ESPN2 televises midweek MAC games in November. Fowler must primarily worry about his reception at BCS institutions. You would not believe how many alleged "journalists" and "media personalities" spend much of their time fretting about whether an SID, a coach or a player likes them. It's an embarrassing obsession among the media.

Fowler knows little about football and nothing about Ball State. His celebrity status justifies his AP vote.

He can't fathom the difficulty of going undefeated in any conference, especially one that is traditionally as evenly matched as the Mid-American Conference.

Brady Hoke built the Ball State football team around two players, Nate Davis and receiver Dante Love. In the fourth week of the season, in the middle of the school's most important game of the season, an Indiana University football player nearly paralyzed Dante Love with a legal and fair hit.

Love lay stretched out on the field motionless for more than 20 minutes. I knew the season was over. Love's career was over. He was Robin to Davis' Batman. Seventy percent of Ball State's offensive playbook was predicated on getting the ball to Love or pretending to give the ball to Love. He returned kickoffs, was our No. 2 tailback and quarterback. He was going to catch 120 passes. NFL scouts loved him.

Hoke and his team adjusted on the fly. Hoke orchestrates the defense. For two years, Davis, Love, Stan Parrish and the offense carried the football.
Brady Hoke and the defense elevated their production and performance from the moment paramedics carted Love off the field. While the offense struggled to score points without Love, the defense kept the opposition out of the end zone and created turnovers.

Ball State is the most disciplined, well-coached team in college football. Check the stats. The Cardinals almost never get penalized. We're the least flagged team in the nation. We're in the top 20 in the country in turnover margin.

Someone like Chris Fowler can't grasp how that helps you win football games. No penalties, no turnovers and Nate Davis are how Ball State would beat the ACC or Big East champions, teams that will play in BCS bowl games.

When you have a great quarterback and a coach who has matured over six years into one of the best in the business, anything is possible, even a school like Ball State being in the BCS discussion.

This story needs to be told. It's an awesome tale with lots of gory details. Hoke is at a university where the administration works pretty much in direct opposition to the success of the football program.

Our school president, Jo Ann Gora, wants to be the face of the university until the moment she lands a job at an elite East Coast university. She stars in the TV commercials aired on ESPN2. Three years ago she delighted in paying the women's basketball coach more money than Brady Hoke, a Ball State alum with very deep roots at the school.

At one time, President Gora had the ideal, liberal sports resume: A female women's basketball coach (Tracy Roller) was the highest paid coach at the school, an angry, spoiled, militant, high-profile black man was the men's basketball coach (Ronny Thompson) and the football coach and his staff were the lowest paid in the conference and didn't have offices.

Roller had a self-admitted mental breakdown and quit shortly after inking her new contract. Thompson claimed Gora's athletic department was racist and quit.

Hoke built one of the nation's best teams, is the MAC's eighth-highest-paid coach and still doesn't have his own office.

Stories like Hoke's and Davis' used to define my profession and enrich our enjoyment of sports. Now we're fed a steady diet of Donovan McNabb didn't know games could end in a tie and fake Red Sox press conferences.

Sports media is dying by suicide and ESPN is Dr. Jack Kevorkian. You're dying, too. ESPN just hasn't told you yet.

11-26-2008, 03:00 PM
I was gonna post that. We've been talking about it on the BSU sports forum I participate on.

I really dislike ESPN, but they are the easiest to get info out of. Too bad you have to wade through stupid personalities like STEPHEN A. SMITH, just to get it.

11-26-2008, 03:09 PM
Ya know, normally I'd dismiss this as sour grapes, especially coming from Whitlock, but he laid down his argument pretty good this time.

11-26-2008, 04:25 PM
ESPN has been a joke for at least a decade. This is hardly news.

11-26-2008, 04:55 PM
ESPN has been a joke for at least a decade. This is hardly news.

For you, that's true, but for many, this is news. I'm glad he's speaking out.

11-26-2008, 05:44 PM
For you, that's true, but for many, this is news. I'm glad he's speaking out.

Very true. I'm all for their skeletons being tossed out of the closet for all to see.

11-27-2008, 09:24 PM
Before you even open this thread, you already know it's by Whitlock.

11-27-2008, 09:35 PM
Is Foxsports more trustworthy than Fox News?

11-28-2008, 05:04 PM
Is Foxsports more trustworthy than Fox News?

A lil bit... :happydanc

11-30-2008, 09:00 AM
I would love for the Colts to draft Nat Davis in the first round if he available. I have watched him play four times, once live. The kid is the real deal and will be an excellent pro QB. He has a strong arm, is very accurate, and good size. He has excellent footwork and can run if necessary. I know we have Manning but the guy is getting older and I have zero trust in Jim Sorgi leading my team to victory.

11-30-2008, 10:03 AM
Let me consult my dictionary for the right word here...


(Whitlock article, not Jonathan's post...though I have no opinion on Jonathan's post, so I guess, technically, it could perform double duty...however, for Jonathan's post, it would reflect lack of opinion, but for Whitlock's article it would be meant to convey the contempt I have for that rotund piece of ****.

Of course, explaining "meh" kind of defeats the purpose...


11-30-2008, 10:07 AM
I would love for the Colts to draft Nat Davis in the first round if he available. I have watched him play four times, once live. The kid is the real deal and will be an excellent pro QB. He has a strong arm, is very accurate, and good size. He has excellent footwork and can run if necessary. I know we have Manning but the guy is getting older and I have zero trust in Jim Sorgi leading my team to victory.

No chance. I like Nate as much as the next guy, and certainly agree about Sorgi. But Nate as a first rounder is beyond a longshot, espcially for the Colts. In fact, the QB crop is sooo deep this year that I would almost guarantee that Sorgi is elsewhere in 2009. The Colts will be able to cherry pick a good QB in the 5th, maybe even 6th round this year. You have to understand that there are a LOT of good QB's coming out from well respected programs. Mark Sanchez, Matt Stafford, Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, TimTebow, Graham Harrell. Those are all great QB's from big time, big conference programs, and three of THOSE six won't even go in the first round. I'd say the only two of those that are definite first rounders are Bradford and Stafford. I know that the size of the school shouldn't matter, but it does, unfair or not. Nate might be better than all of those guys, but he's gonna have to prove it from a later draft position. Nate does have two things going for him. First, he's got the PERFECT frame for the pro QB. Size is the FIRST thing pro teams look at in a QB, and Nate has it. Second, he played his best games when the spotlight was the brightest. He rung up Nebraska's well regarded defense for 442 yards and three scores. They played four menaingful primetime games on ESPN2 this season, and he played well and won all four. Teams use things like that to separate the crop and he did do well there. I still think he's a 3rd rounder unless he has an oustanding combine which I admit is possible.

11-30-2008, 01:55 PM
I think we need to get a back up QB sooner than later is all. Do not give me this BS on big conference QB's Matt Ryan Boston College Joe Flacco Delaware Steve Mcnair Alcorn State. If you can play you can play. I believe !!

11-30-2008, 06:13 PM
I think we need to get a back up QB sooner than later is all. Do not give me this BS on big conference QB's Matt Ryan Boston College Joe Flacco Delaware Steve Mcnair Alcorn State. If you can play you can play. I believe !!

I understand that you need to be able to play. The six guys I mentioned ALL have proven they can play against MUCH better competition than Nate has faced. And throwing Matt Ryan in to help you prove your point is a bit strange since Boston COllege is a big program in a big conference with a proven track record of producing NFL talent.

12-01-2008, 01:00 PM
I still think he's a 3rd rounder unless he has an oustanding combine which I admit is possible.

In my completely biased opinion, he will shred the combine.

He has all the tools, not just two NFL strengths. His arm strength is in the top tier, you can tell that by watching him throw deep with a flick of his wrist or watching him throw on the run. Obviously his accuracy is there considering he's making almost 70% of his throws.

What will really make his stock jump is his athleticism. He scrambles well, nothing flashy, but he picks up yards when he needs too. He is a lot faster than he shows on the field, and it's because he doesn't open up. If you would have the chance to watch him play basketball, you would walk away with a completely different opinion on his athleticism. He looks like a plodder on the field that manages to pick up just enough yards when he needs too, but he is extremely nimble on the court. West Virginia was actually recruiting him to play WR, instead of QB.

(Nate is actually #7 on Ohio's all time scoring list, and averaged close to 43 pts his senior year. First time I ever saw Nate was in the gym playing a pickup game. He was wearing new balance running shoes and sweat pants, while dunking on people whenever he wanted too. He could have played basketball easily in the MAC, and could have went to a bigger conference.)

He will be a top 4 QB in next years draft. I'm just hoping he decides to stay another year!

12-01-2008, 01:01 PM
My point is this it does not matter what school you go to if you can play you can play. I really think Davis will impress scouts if/when he goes to the combine. Johnson (E Carolina/Titans) ran the fastest 40 and became a first rounder. You have to throw him in the mix for Rookie of the Year and nobody would have believed that when the Titans drafted him.

Pig Nash
12-01-2008, 07:49 PM
There is no way the Colts should pick ANY QB in the first round, look what happened with Rodgers/Favre.

12-02-2008, 07:14 AM
Is Foxsports more trustworthy than Fox News?

Is ESPN any more trustworthy than ABC-News?

12-02-2008, 11:39 AM
There is no way the Colts should pick ANY QB in the first round, look what happened with Rodgers/Favre.

How many years do you think Manning has left?

12-02-2008, 11:40 AM
How many years do you think Manning has left?

Enough to not pick a starting QB now who will only be wasted and want to move on.

12-02-2008, 01:38 PM
I think Nate Davis would not be a wasted late first round pick at all. R U saying we would be better off signing an Alex Smith or Linehart than drafting Davis?

Pig Nash
12-02-2008, 03:22 PM
If it saved a messy breakup in four years, then yes. Leinart would be better.

12-02-2008, 03:44 PM
If it saved a messy breakup in four years, then yes. Leinart would be better.

Peyton isn't Brett Farve. How many times did Brett retire, then unretire, not know if he was going to retire or unretire, etc.

It's a possibility that Peyton might play a season longer than he should have, but I seriously doubt he'll be the type of person to waiver back and forth and keep the franchise in limbo. Even if he is that type of person, I don't see Polian (if he's still here) as the type of GM that let's him. Bill has won the GM of the Year award multiple times for a reason.

I would love to see Nate in a Colts jersey, but it's not gonna happen. They won't draft Peyton's replacement for a couple more years.

I can see the Colts drafting Darius Hill though. I've said it for a couple of seasons, he's the perfect TE for the Colts system. He's big, 6-7, and except for his troubles earlier this season, has great hands. He is a really good route runner and a good athlete overall. He's not gonna wow you with his blocking, but again that's not the Colts system to begin with.

I would also love to see any of our OL in a Colts uni. They are athletes first and foremost, but are very VERY good. Especially Gerberry and Brewster.

12-02-2008, 04:01 PM
It is great to be a fan of the fiercest robbin size bird IN ALL THE WORLD!

The Dash's Heisman List
1. Colt McCoy, Texas. The Longhorns might have been edged out in the BCS standings by Oklahoma, but their quarterback is edging out the Sooners' slinger in the Heisman race. For now.

2. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma. While McCoy's Heisman hay is in the barn, Bradford gets the chance to make the final impression on voters in the Big 12 title game. We'll see whether the injury to his non-throwing hand has any effect.

3. Nate Davis, Ball State. This spot easily could go to Graham Harrell or Tim Tebow, but Davis' special season has lifted a low-profile program to new heights. After seeing him in person last week, Davis is legit and The Dash is a believer.

12-02-2008, 04:06 PM
With Pitcock retiring, releasing Johnson, and the general DT trouble the Colts have had in recent years (Simon, Booger) I'd be shocked if they didn't go DT in round 1. That kid from Auburn is getting a lot of buzz but I don't know much about him.

12-02-2008, 05:23 PM
I don't really follow college football but I did want to remark that if Colt McCoy doesn't make it in football, I can think of at least one other line of work where that name would be very useful.

12-03-2008, 12:50 PM
I don't really follow college football but I did want to remark that if Colt McCoy doesn't make it in football, I can think of at least one other line of work where that name would be very useful.

I know what you mean. He would have been one hell of a cowboy during the western days.:angel:

Slick Pinkham
12-03-2008, 01:02 PM
Normally I would say that Jason Whitlock criticizing ESPN for their lack of journalistic integrity would be like PacMan Jones criticizing Plaxico Burris for off-the-field behavior.

I hate ESPN. I usually hate Whitlock's columns, but I guess that every once in awhile even Whitlock stumbles upon a valid point.

Major Cold
12-03-2008, 01:02 PM
Ben Rothelisberger who?

12-04-2008, 07:33 PM
How many years do you think Manning has left?

At least 5.

Slick Pinkham
12-07-2008, 09:05 AM
I wonder if he likes U Buffalo as much.

Major Cold
12-07-2008, 11:25 PM
Someone just tell me how different this guy is from Rothlisbergerererererer and Flacco? I have more problems of ESPN (printing stories with only one wewak source, ala Teljada).

12-08-2008, 12:38 PM
Someone just tell me how different this guy is from Rothlisbergerererererer and Flacco? I have more problems of ESPN (printing stories with only one wewak source, ala Teljada).


He has a stronger arm, better mobility, throws a better/more accurate deep ball than Ben.

I haven't watched Flacco all that much to really comment.

I dunno if the broadcast mentioned it because of the noise at the house I was at watching the game, but Nate had the flu Friday. Not really an excuse, because he should have held on to the damn ball instead of holding it out, and he should have known the snap count since he's the one that gave it.

12-16-2008, 02:43 PM
I think Nat Davis now goes pro. Brady Hoke leaving & Colt Mc Coy staying @ Texas also Bradford is a sophmore and Tim Tebow is a huge ? Why should he stay at Ball State?
I think he will be an first round pick easy!

01-13-2009, 11:08 PM
Wanted to bump this because Nate announced today that he is indeed entering the NFL draft. I think with Tebow and McCoy going back to school that turned this into a no brainer for him. If Sanchez stays at USC, Nate would likely be the 3rd QB off the board after Matt Stafford and Sam Bradford. Nate would have to have one of the best combines ever to vault himself into the first round. Like I said earlier, I underrstand that that is possible. He isn't there right now though. I said earlier that he plays his best on the big stage and then he promptly goes out and craps on the field in the two biggest games of his life. With that said, several teams make a TON of sense for Nate, but I think the most likely destinations at this moment in time are Chicago, Tampa, and San Francisco.

01-14-2009, 10:06 AM
travmil- i think he should have stayed after his last two games were duds. I agree with you but CMU has a very good QB in Lafavor (spelling) It will be interesting to see who gets his name called first.

01-14-2009, 03:48 PM
The news just keeps getting better for Nate.

Sam Bradford expected to return to Oklahoma. (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3832957)

That leaves Stafford as the ONLY surefire first round QB, and Nate as the 2nd best on the board. If he has a good combine, some team that needs a QB and falls in love will go first round with him now. Until the last week, that wasn't true as there would have been other options. With this I now fully expect Nate to go late first/early second.

01-14-2009, 04:31 PM
I think he's dumb for it, but that's my opinion. And there is no way Dan gets drafted before Nate. Two completely different QBs. Dan isn't all that good as a pocket passer. He's a runner first and foremost.

Nate's stock will go up from the combine. Athleticly, he's a beast. His mechanics are already pretty good, keeps the ball high, quick/short release, keeps his feet moving.

He's just not there mentally. He can't forget about the last play, or series, and just focus on what's next. When something goes wrong for him, count on a couple more mistakes. But he will be the answer for some team, they're just going to really have to work on the mental side of the game with him. I'm praying it's not the Bears, please, ANY team but the Bears.

01-16-2009, 12:10 PM
Since 86, I think a team will pick up Nat on the first day. I do not know how good of a pro he will be. I think it would be cool if Dallas took him.