Mike Leach on Bruce Feldman’s Suspension: “ESPN isn’t going to let little inconvenient details like facts get in way of their agenda.”July 15, 2011 – 11:00 am by Jimmy Shapiro
Yesterday (7/14/2011), SportsByBrooks, who has just been killing it lately with breaking college sports stories, unleashed another bombshell with the news that esteemed college football writer Bruce Feldman has been suspended indefinitely by ESPN across all their mediums. This news set off an army of college football writers and journalists supporting Bruce Feldman through Twitter, Facebook, and the blogosphere. Bruce Feldman’s name is actually out-trending Harry Potter on Twitter.
Feldman assisted former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach with his new book, Swing Your Sword. In the book, Leach details his firing from Texas Tech and the role ESPN’s Craig James played in his firing. I have yet to read the book, but snippets released to the public paint ESPN in a very unflattering light.
I personally don’t see how this situation can be resolved where Feldman returns to work at ESPN. I see it ending with a lawsuit against ESPN that eventually gets settled in return for Feldman’s silence forever on the matter. There will be a long line of suitors for Feldman’s services and here’s to hoping he lands on his feet softly.
While I’m fully in agreement with journalists supporting Bruce Feldman, I’m not so sure once guys go to work for ESPN that they can still be called journalists. Sure, they have journalism backgrounds and perform journalistic tasks, but the world wide leader is a whole other animal. When you go to work for ESPN, it’s almost like you shake hands in blood and become brothers/sisters for life. I realize that it’s been reported that ESPN gave Bruce Feldman approval to do this book, but I can’t help thinking they gave him approval with a wink. I just can’t shake the feeling that the higher ups at ESPN would expect Bruce Feldman to alert them of anything potentially negative about the WWL before it went to the editors and eventually into print. That’s where the problems lies. At ESPN, you can only be a journalist if what you’re reporting doesn’t negatively portray ESPN. Unfortunately, Bruce Feldman found out the hard way.
Mike Leach has been doing 100% of the promotion on this book and this morning was asked about the Bruce Feldman suspension at ESPN.
Mike Leach joined WQAM in Miami with the Big Dog, Joe Rose to talk about how he feels about ESPN suspending Bruce Feldman, whether or not he think Craig James has become the golden boy at ESPN, what he thinks of Texas Tech siding with Craig James as opposed to him when it came to Adam James, and if he thinks Craig James was doing things behind his back when he was the head coach at Texas Tech.
How he feels about ESPN suspending Bruce Feldman:
“I think ESPN just isn’t going to let little inconvenient details like the facts get in the way of their agenda. The bottom line is we don’t have anything in the book that isn’t 100 percent factual and we don’t have anything in that book that’s not totally backed up by documents. Furthermore Bruce had permission ahead of time to do this book from ESPN. The guy that got the car in the ditch for them was Craig James. That’s where they ought to be looking. Not Bruce Feldman.”
Whether or not Craig James has become the golden boy at ESPN:
“He evidently is because if you look at the public reaction, if you look at the blogs, everybody sees through it and understands it. People are recognizing the truth and nobody appreciates Craig James’ role in this. It’s insulting to everyone’s intelligence. Between Craig James and ESPN both they’re starting with this. Me being too dumb to see through what they’re doing and then it became well the public is too dumb to see through what they’re doing. Then with this thing with Bruce they think it’s almost like they’re so smart that we won’t understand it anyway and they’re so powerful that we have to do whatever they want no matter what. Everyone is seeing through it and everybody resents it.”
On the university taking Craig James side when it came to Adam James:
“I was gonna cut Adam after the bowl game and I think they knew that. After the bowl game it’s a nice transition, he gets some nice experience, and then the next semester starts and then he is somewhere else or certainly not on the team. I think it woulda worked out well for everybody other than the fact that they tried to get me fired, which ultimately they did. In the case of our chancellor, the biggest thing is they had a certain amount of acrimony over the previous contract negotiations and didn’t want to pay the money. The biggest thing was the administration, and really only one member of the administration, and two regents that he had in his pocket because in ten years, the administration at Texas Tech I thought was pretty good. I think they lost face on the contract negotiations and decided that they were going to hide behind sovereign immunity to not pay me.”
Whether or not he thinks Craig James was doing things behind his back when he was the head coach at Texas Tech:
“There’s no question he was doing things behind my back. He was one of those guys that was ridiculously high maintenance and I had to deal with on a daily basis almost. So did some of my other coaches. Ultimately he started calling the Chairman of the Board of Regents and things when I wouldn’t indulge his deals as far as playing his kid. He definitely did things behind the scenes no question to deteriorate the efforts of our staff.”