NBA Free Agency Coverage: The Latest Example of the End of Media Ethics

Dan KelleyCorrespondent IJuly 7, 2010

BOSTON - MAY 13:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands by in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA playoffs at TD Garden on May 13, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Cavaliers 94-85.  NOTE TO USER: User Expressly Acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The latest craze surrounding NBA free agency has made it apparent that the sports media no longer lives up to the traditional ethics of journalism.

The media has a responsibility to make reports both accurately and objectively, and as time goes by ESPN and other media outlets are showing their disregard for these principles more and more.

Over the last few weeks, how many conflicting reports have we seen about the impending decisions of NBA free agents like LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade? Every day there’s a new report citing “anonymous sources,” suggesting new favorite destinations for the big name players out there.

James specifically has been rumored to favor at least five teams. Fans in Miami, New York, New Jersey and Chicago all think they have a chance at landing the big prize and fans in Cleveland can still hold onto some hope that he’ll stay with the Cavs. But when it’s all said and done, LeBron can only play for one of these teams, meaning around 80% of all the reports regarding his future have been entirely incorrect, or in some cases perhaps even totally fabricated.

The accuracy of ESPN’s reporting is suspicious at best, and don’t look to them for objectivity either. The “Worldwide Leader” has a vested interest in reporting on certain teams and leagues because of the contracts they hold with them. ESPN is a hype machine, designed to pump up their associates so everyone involved can make an extra buck. Characters like LeBron also draw a ton of interest, which is why he receives the kind of tabloid-esque attention usually reserved for the likes of Paris Hilton.

Now this situation has taken an interesting twist with the report that LeBron will be announcing his decision during a one-hour special on ESPN Thursday. And who broke this story? That would be ESPN The Magazine’s own Chris Broussard, who cited “independent sources.”

Independent sources? Really? So it’s just a coincidence that an ESPN reporter is the one to break a story involving the very company he works for and it happens to be something that ESPN will obviously want to see publicized...


The sporting press has become no better than a loose network of bloggers. It’s obvious at this point that nobody really knows anything and the constant stream of information has little to no credibility.

Between NBA free agency, conference expansion in college football, and the Brett Favre fiasco the past few years, the media has shown that timeliness is really the only thing that matters anymore. Accuracy and objectivity are things of the past since the media clearly prefers to just report anything they can attribute to an “anonymous source.”

The rumors on LeBron’s decision will continue right up until the minute he makes his announcement Thursday, but don’t buy into any of it. The only one that knows at this moment is LeBron and he didn’t go to all the trouble of setting up a one-hour special with the “Worldwide Leader” to have his glorious moment spoiled.

If I was betting on it though, my money would be on New York. It’s probably the only city large enough to contain his ego at this point; but that’s a topic for another day.