My Mouth Tastes Like Throwup; Thanks ESPN

Philly SportsfanContributor IJuly 29, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson of the Philadelphia Eagles walks off the field during pre-game warmups before their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 21, 2008 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

I got up this morning and almost blew chunks all over the place.


            No, I wasn’t out the night before dancing my legs into exhaustion to the new Black Eyed Peas jam and sipping on some P-Diddy endorsed liquor—I save that kind of behavior for my Saturday night routine. And I definitely hadn’t eaten any low quality meats. No, this near puke experience was caused by some Grade-A disgust.


            As the dry heaving subsided and I regained my composure, I realized what had brought me to such a near-nauseas state. Jim Johnson, the long-time defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, had passed away at the age of 68 from cancer. The news made my stomach turn slightly, but learning of the man’s death, alone, could not illicit such an unwell state—I then panned back up to my computer screen, stopping half way to thank God for sparing my keyboard from regurgitated Frosted Flakes, to see ESPN’s homepage flicker with images of Brett Farve and Michael Vick. I then understood that ESPN had disgusted me for the last time.


            For as long as I can remember, which actually isn’t very long—my college years didn’t do wonders to my memory, I have been an avid ESPN viewer and internet subscriber. ESPN’s sports coverage was the first thing I saw through my groggy eyes each morning or afternoon (depending on how rough the night before was) and the last image I set my eyes on before I went to bed each night. I was consumed by the sports world, and ESPN was my mistress.


            Within the past 5 years, however, ESPN has changed. No longer is it a one-stop resource for the avid sports fan. Long gone are the days when the most important, hard-pressing issues in sports are highlighted at the top of the show. Missing are the in-and-out SportsCenters-- where information was presented to the viewer, rather than forced upon him.


            What has plagued the once great and dominant sports broadcasting company is its digression into the pop culture realm. Sure there’s moronic slobs out there who want to hear about how Brett Farve took one too many viagras and now won’t be able to make his nursing home football game, but I think I speak for the majority of sports fans when I say that enough is enough.


            For one minute, can we please not worry about Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennelz and start paying homage to a man who, not only is one of the greatest defense coordinators of the modern era, but also, by all accounts, was a genuine, honest person. In Philadelphia people are sickened by the coverage, or lack there of, that ESPN gave to Jim Johnson’s passing—to these people this man was like an uncle, someone who epitomized hard work, class and respectability.


            To the sports world, it’s just another example of how ESPN has failed miserably once again. Giving this story a slot on the ESPN front page’s sidebar, is not only wrong, it’s disrespectful to the legacy of one of the most brilliant football minds.


            So, ESPN, you have lost a patron—I’m getting my sports news elsewhere, and tomorrow when I wake up I won’t need to sit next to the computer with a trashcan, unless there’s a two dollar beer special tonight.