Time to check in with ESPN ombudsman George Solomon — the Mr. Woodman of the Welcome Back Kotter episode that is the Worldwide Leader in Sports. We often wonder where they keep Solomon over at Bristol headquarters; does he have a desk in the basement? Where does he eat lunch? (we assume he brown-bags it). We can imagine no more impotent position than ESPN ombudsman — unless it's San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator.
In his latest column, Solomon suggests that ESPN should put a hold on its reality show featuring Barry Bonds. Solomon has read Game of Shadows and is shocked — shocked! — to learn that Bonds' home run totals have been chemically altered. "I am not using this space to judge Bonds," Solomon writes. "What I'm suggesting is a 'time out' for the project by ESPN Original Entertainment. The book's allegations about Bonds should result in ESPN executives taking another look at the entire project, or at least suspending production until Selig and perhaps an independent investigator officially review Bonds' activities."
Solomon has already questioned ESPN's decision to enter into a business relationship with Bonds. What happens, he asks, if ESPN gains access to an exclusive news story while filming the series? If they aired it, would that be, in effect, paying Bonds for news? The response he got from the network, and the independent film company that was contracted out to film the series, is interesting. Not that any of this will make a whit of difference. We all know how this ESPN ombudsman experiment will end — with Solomon clutching his chest and collapsing from a heart attack after chasing Dan Patrick and the other Sweathogs down the hall.
(Note: We know Solomon doesn't actually work in Bristol. It was, like, a metaphor or something.)