ESPN Writes Bullshit Article On ESPN Employee [UPDATE: Ex-Employee]

Fundraiser: ESPN's James to bid for U.S. Senate

That's how the headline on ESPN.com's front page reads, and the article to which it links is one of the most ridiculous ever to be associated with the company in the continuing saga of the Worldwide Leader's Craig James adoration campaign. It shouldn't surprise you that the article is a bullshit ratatouille, given the slug; how is this just now news to ESPN? Spokesperson Josh Krulewitz acknowledged days ago that James had taken a leave of absence during bowl season—did he not have to explain why? Apparently not, according to ESPN's previous piece on James. Regardless, he remains a company employee—why can't ESPN just ask James himself if he's running for office? That's not to mention the ambiguity of "fundraiser"; a casual reader could quite easily think the link takes her to a website for an event raising funds for James's campaign.

Given that the premise of the article is ridiculous, it fits that the text is pathetic as well. To wit:

AUSTIN, Texas — ESPN college football analyst Craig James is running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Texas, a GOP fundraiser said Monday.

Republican fundraiser and close friend Roy Bailey told The Associated Press that James informed him he was running for the 2012 Senate seat and was in the process of dropping off his official candidate papers in Austin.

Isn't the source's relationship ("close friend") a more useful identifier for the source than "fundraiser," especially given the ambiguity already addressed? Plus, check those degrees of attribution: ESPN didn't even talk to Mr. Bailey—they're simply restating what the AP reported. If ESPN cannot for whatever reason ask James (who is, again, their employee) if he's running for office, they're also unable to speak with his friends or others with knowledge of his situation? It's clearly of interest to ESPN's editorial side, as this article is linked on the front page of ESPN.com.

"I think it's great for Texas. Anytime you have someone with Craig's street smarts and business sense and willingness to serve the public, it's a great thing," said Bailey

An aside—because this is a direct quotation—but exactly how does Texas-born-and-raised-pretend-cowboy Craig James have "street sense"?

Messages left for James were not immediately returned.

I wish I could ignore messages from my employer without immediate consequences. (Especially those late-night texts from Daulerio.)

"As he considers his options, he won't be working for ESPN," the network said in a statement.

You are the network. Or is Rickey Henderson now working for ESPN?

James has been flirting with entering politics for more than year.

No, he entered politics some time ago.

He also was part of a controversy that eventually led to the firing of Texas Tech coach Mike Leach while James' son played for the Red Raiders. Leach is currently suing James and ESPN.

Hey, how about grabbing some of AP's reporting on that scandal for background. No? Okay.

James, 50, who lives in Celina, north of Dallas, has been a board member of the influential conservative think tank the Texas Policy Foundation in Austin and recently founded Texans for a Better America to promote conservative policies.

That sure sounds political. Maybe ESPN thought "conservative" meant environmental conservation.

Craig James is so universally unpopular that his name has been organically google-bombed. ESPN's kid-gloves treatment of him during the Leach-Feldman controversy suggested James contained something nuclear the network feared and didn't want to mess with. Now, their reporting on his political aspirations is showing the same hesitation and distance. Craig James is still signing ESPN's checks; why can't they get a straight answer from him about anything?

UPDATE: Moments before this post was to be published, an ESPN spokesperson confirmed James is leaving the company to run for Senate.