NFL Monday Night Controversy: Is ESPN Overstepping Journalistic Bounds?

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NFL Monday Night Controversy: Is ESPN Overstepping Journalistic Bounds?
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Packers' defensive back M.D. Jennings and Seahawks' receiver Golden Tate both go up for the game-ending Russell Wilson lob.

By now you may have seen or heard about the ending of the NFL Monday Night Football game. The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Green Bay Packers on a last-second heave from Russell Wilson to Golden Tate. As the ball found its way into the end zone, Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings got two hands on the ball, while Tate got one.

Tate and Jennings both came down with their hands on it, but the ball was in the chest of the Packers' defensive back. The eventual ruling was that this incidence was a simultaneous catch, in which case a tie goes to the offense. Touchdown Seattle!

And then the Internet exploded. That was to be expected. What wasn't expected was the overwhelming one-sided response from many of the network analysts and anchors for the four-letter network.

In the hour-plus coverage since the game ended, the stance taken by ESPN network anchors and analysts has, for the most part, been that the call at the end of the game was erroneous and was the straw that broke the camel's metaphorical back. The network has echoed the public outcry, which has been that the NFL needs to work out a deal to get the regular referees back to work.

Whether or not the replacement referees have been doing a bad job is not the issue here. The issue is that of journalistic integrity.

Should a network that presents itself as a sports news source—and whose purpose is to report breaking news in sports—be allowed to take a completely biased stance on a controversial issue? Should there not be a balanced, if not neutral, approach to reporting such a major news story?

What do you think? Comment down below.

 

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