Now we’ll never know which presidential candidate Neil Everett supports…
Curious who Hannah Storm will be supporting in upcoming presidential election? Not going to happen. How about Chris Berman’s take on who will lead our great nation over the next four years? Nope. Erin Andrews? Herm Edwards? Lee Corso? Rachel Nichols? Stuart Scott? Negative on all those folks as well.
But to be honest, as far as those last five are concerned and their respective political views, I’m cool with Erin Andrews saying what she believes. I’m pretty sure Lee Corso has no idea what’s going on, let alone that there is a presidential election in November. Herm Edwards would be yelling too loud about it to even understand what he’s saying. Rachel Nichols would be too busy practicing her “ESPN” sign-off and Stuart Scott? Well, he’s as cool as the other side of the pillow, so he wouldn’t let on who he supports. But if he did, he would be like a bus driver because he’d be taking you to school.
Sadly, the world may never know the political leanings of any on-air personality employed by ESPN now that the network has imposed a strict “Presidential election coverage policy” that explicitly spells out the guidelines, rules and regulations all ESPN talent must adhere to during the upcoming election season.
A sampling of some of the policies instituted by ESPN (via ESPN Front Row, by way of Game On!):
We should refrain from political editorializing and gratuitous references to the candidates, their campaigns or their political positions. This means no personal attacks or “drive-by” remarks in columns or on-air segments. Approved commentaries on sports-specific issues, or seeking responses from both candidates on relevant news issues, are appropriate. However, sarcasm, one-liners, perceived endorsements, attempts at humor or political criticism should be avoided.
In general, unless approved by senior management, we should forgo interviews with presidential candidates until after the nominating conventions (an exception could include a sitting president in an act of office, such as welcoming a championship team to the White House). All subsequent interviews should be conducted with balance in frequency, time and tenor, as much as possible.
Should a candidate appear at or attend a live event on our air (e.g. MLB game, college football game, etc.), announcers should avoid any political commentary, prolonged references to or live interviews with candidates. A brief mention accompanying video of the candidate is appropriate. If approved by senior news managers, interviews may be conducted or taped for reference or airing either later in the same program or at a later date.
How very…draconian. But at the same time, I couldn’t care less about what anyone in the employ of ESPN has to say about the election. Keep politics out of my sports, I say, so let’ s chalk up these policies as something ESPN finally did right in its attempts to muzzle its employees.
Still, if Erin Andrews would ever want to discuss Obama vs. Romney, I’m always available.