ESPN, Mike Leach, And The Two Kinds Of People Who Take Paychecks

You can't be good at everything. Take Bob Davie, for instance. Bob Davie can tan. My god, can that man tan. Bob Davie has a multi-layered coating of sun-baked skin flakes a rotisserie chicken would envy. If people randomly approach him on the street with basting brushes and holding forks, surely they're not to blame. 

No one pays him to think, though. He's paid to talk, and on ESPN these can be very different things depending on who's doing the speaking. Davie is known as an announcer these days for ESPN's college football team. He has trademarks. He overemphasizes unimportant words in sentences like this: "The most important thing IN the game is taking care OF the footbaw." He also loves saying the word "footbaw," which would be charming if it didn't make up thirty percent of what he said. Take this sentence from Saturday's broadcast of the Alamo Bowl, for example:

"Texas Tech Footbaw they screen footbaw with the footbaw footbaw footbaw Mike Leach footbaw gosh footbaw." 

He may not have said that in so many words, but after five minutes your brain tunes out Davie completely and translates everything to that anyway. Count it as a miracle that we heard this comment, then, which actually came out of Bob Davie's sober mouth on Saturday night. 

"Craig James is courageous."  

Courageous. Yes, we remember the time Craig James donated one of his eight kidneys to a sick little girl, all the while refusing to take his eyes off the microscope in the lab where he's curing AIDScancerplague. I personally recall the time Craig James fistfought with the chupacabra to help restore America's pride during the humiliations of NAFTA negotiations back in 1991. Who can forget James punching Hitler in the face at Woodstock Two and saving that girl from getting raped by a Nazi Biker Gang? Let's not even get into the time he saved Christmas with five safety pins and some well-timed macrame.  

He's done so much for this country that picking one moment is hard. If forced, though, I'd have to agree. Nothing is as courageous as coming out in defense of your grown and reportedly lazy and entitled son on national television, using your broadcast connections to serve as a "source close to the family" on ESPN, and then bravely enduring the "victimhood" of giving Texas Tech administrators an excuse to fire the best coach in the history of their school. As Peter King would say: "Craig James defines bravery."

(Phil Simms, that coward, never said a thing about his son's troubled tenure at Texas, and let him be his own man. Clearly cowardice in action, that.) 

Davie cleared that all up for us on numerous occasions Saturday night, with he and Mike Patrick hammering home the company line and sealing up the case broadcast ESPN has been making all along without excusing one of the principals from the coverage of the case itself.  It is a gross lapse in journalistic standards to not excuse James from the story altogether, but ESPN bizarrely compounded the mistake by allowing James to openly stump for his family's "victimhood," and then doubling the weirdness by having no one question the accusers' account of the events. 

By the time Davie and Patrick recited the Ballad of Craig James, Modern American Hero, the case had become infinitely more complex. Texas Tech officials clearly did not get along with Leach; James was a malcontent whose shoddy effort and entitled behavior was widely known and corroborated by coaches; and Leach's own trainers and medical staff said the coach acted in a fashion they did not condone. Contradictions and complexities just lying all over the place, and no one to even attempt to sort through them on-air besides Trevor Matich, ESPN's  only on-air commentator who attempted to paint a complete picture on-air of the case's nuances and complexities.

Instead we got Craig James, American Patriot and Study In Victimhood, and a storyline swallowed almost entirely wholesale by ESPN's on-air talent without the slightest hint of professional scrutiny or skepticism.  It happened for the same reason James never should have been a part of the story to begin with: because they're taking paychecks, and that matters in different ways to some people.

Some people see money as a reward for work, and some see it as a reward for loyalty. Those who take it for work are referred to as "employees." Those who take it for loyalty go by a different name entirely: whores. And if you're seeing Bob Davie in a miniskirt shimmying on the corner looking for a good time, I have three words for you. You. Are. Welcome. 

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.