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ESPN (sort of) apologizes for Michael Sam shower report

Michael Sam RamsAfter initially defending its report about Michael Sam’s shower habits in the St. Louis Rams locker room, ESPN finally received enough pressure from the masses to issue a half-hearted apology on Wednesday.

“ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report,” the network said in a statement. “Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports.”

For those who missed it, Josina Anderson discussed how Sam is fitting in with his teammates by passing along information she got from players about when and with whom Sam has been taking his showers. One Rams defender supposedly said Sam is “respecting our space” while two others said they weren’t keeping track of when the former Missouri star cleans himself. Shocking, I know.

[WATCH: ESPN shares report about Michael Sam's showering habits]

Rams defensive end Chris Long later sent a tweet directed toward ESPN, basically saying Sam’s sexual preference is no longer a topic of interest for anyone but the World Wide Leader. ESPN initially defended Anderson’s reporting on Tuesday.

“In response to recent questions about Sam fitting in with the team, multiple Rams brought up the shower topic and we relayed that information as part of our reporting,” the network said, via Shutdown Corner.

We get that Anderson was just passing along information, but it didn’t seem like there was enough there to constitute a news story. To me, the report represented an uncomfortable invasion of privacy.

Chris Long: Everyone but ESPN is over Michael Sam being gay

Michael-Sam-boyfriendESPN featured some phenomenal investigative reporting on Tuesday when the network passed along some of the details of Michael Sam’s showering routine. For those of you who are a little slow, I’m being sarcastic. We have no idea why the World Wide Leader told us that Sam has not yet showered with certain teammates, and neither does Rams defensive end Chris Long.

A few hours after Josina Anderson went on the air and spoke about Sam’s showering habits, Long tweeted the following.

That’s how a lot of people feel. The first ever openly gay player in the NFL fighting for a roster spot is a huge story — we get that. It took guts for Sam to come out before the NFL Draft. But don’t we have enough headlines about him — such as Sam sacking Johnny Manziel and flashing the money symbol — that we don’t need to get into when and with whom he supposedly takes a shower?

Again, this seems like the type of stuff ESPN does that inspired their own Neil Everett to take a shot at the network last week.

H/T Jimmy Traina

ESPN screws up big time with Kevin Ward Jr. funeral tweet

ESPN sent an extremely unfortunate tweet from their NASCAR account on Thursday afternoon. Funeral services for the late Kevin Ward Jr. were held on Thursday in upstate New York, where more than 700 mourners flooded South Lewis Senior High School to pay their respects. Here is the tweet NASCAR on ESPN sent and quickly deleted, courtesy of Deadspin:

ESPN-Kevin-Ward-Jr-tweet

We’re all human and we all make mistakes, but that is a pretty drastic one. A typo with the name would be bad enough given the sensitive nature of the subject, but the photo of Stewart made it really brutal. Realizing that plenty of people had seen the tweet, ESPN later issued an apology:

Again, everyone makes mistakes. Some are just more cringe-worthy than others.

Yankees fan Andrew Robert Rector suing ESPN for showing him sleeping on TV

Andrew-Robert-RectorA New York Yankees fan who fell asleep during a game at Yankee Stadium earlier this year has filed a $10 million lawsuit against ESPN. According to the New York Post, Andrew Robert Rector specifically named ESPN anchors John Kruk and Dan Shulman in the lawsuit and has accused them of taunting him.

Rector alleges that Kruk and Shulman spewed an “avalanche of disparaging words” against him and insulted him with words like “stupor, fatty, unintelligent and stupid.” The video above shows Kruk and Shulman mocking Rector, but none of those words were said in that particular clip.

Rector, who admits that he “briefly” fell asleep during the game between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox on April 13, said the play-by-play team taunted him knowing that millions of viewers were tuning in. He claims Kruk and Shulman made “false statements” against him and suggested he “is a fatty cow that need two seats at a time” and “is a confused individual that neither understands nor knows anything about history and the meaning of rivalry between Red Sox and New York Yankee.” Yes, the typos come directly from the lawsuit.

The suit names ESPN, MLB and the Yankees as defendants. The entire complaint can be read at The Smoking Gun.

In all likelihood, Rector’s lawsuit will be dismissed. Just a gut feeling.

H/T Sporting News

ESPN comments on Dan Le Batard giving Hall of Fame vote to Deadspin

Dan Le BatardOne of the major concerns for writers who were considering selling or giving their Hall of Fame ballot to Deadspin was the potential loss of their job. Dan Le Batard gave his vote to Deadspin without knowing what kind of backlash he might receive from his employers. It sounds like ESPN disagrees with his actions, but it doesn’t look like they’re going to discipline him.

Shortly after it was revealed that Le Batard gave his vote away to Deadpin, ESPN commented on his actions.

“We respect and appreciate Dan’s opinions and passion about Hall of Fame voting. He received his vote while at the Miami Herald. We wouldn’t have advocated his voting approach, which we were just made aware of today,” ESPN said in a statement to Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand.

That seems like a pretty soft stance by them, which I think is fair. Le Batard will almost assuredly lose his Baseball Writers Association vote because of what he did, but I don’t see why ESPN would have a reason to discipline him.

Le Batard was looking to make a statement and he is advocating change to the process. I agree with his feelings on the change that is needed. Mainly, I want the Hall of Fame to get rid of its outdated morals clause and to create a
“Steroids Wing” so that all players from the Steroids Era will be judged solely by what they did on the field. It’s wrong to put writers in the position of picking and choosing who they think did steroids and who didn’t; players should all be evaluated equally.

ESPN film room calls Florida State fake punt (Video)

Florida State fake puntESPN had a “BCS Megacast” going for the BCS National Championship Game on Monday night in which they offered various looks at the game on different channels. It was Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit announcing the game on ESPN, different personalities offering commentary on ESPN2, radio calls on ESPN3, and the “film room” on ESPN News.

The “BCS Film Room” proved its usefulness when the analysts called Florida State’s fake punt before it happened. As The Big Lead points out, the “BCS Film Room” was comprised of head coaches Steve Addazio (Boston College), Paul Chryst(Pitt) and Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) along with ESPN’s Matt Millen, Chris Spielman and Tom Luginbill.

A few of the people — I couldn’t tell exactly who — could see the fake punt coming (it definitely wasn’t Millen), which was pretty cool.

I actually think Auburn was prepared for the fake punt — they had a few guys covering the direct snap — but I think they weren’t expecting the reverse. That wrinkle may have allowed FSU to get the first down, which led to a touchdown.

San Jose Sharks, ESPN exchange barbs on Twitter over ‘Sharknado’

SharknadoIf you haven’t at least heard of “Sharknado” starring Tara Reid and former “Beverly Hills 90210″ actor Ian Zeiring, you are probably just waking up from a 48-hour nap. The ridiculous movie that debuted on the Syfy channel Thursday night is all everyone has been talking about.

The movie basically centered on a tornado that spit man-eating sharks at people. Don’t believe me? Just Google it — you’ll see. On Friday morning, ESPN decided to get in on the trending hashtag #Sharknado by tweeting a lame joke at the San Jose Sharks’ official Twitter account:

The joke was harmless and certainly not offensive, but whoever was operating the Sharks’ Twitter was in no mood for joking around with the World Wide Leader.

And that was the end of that. ESPN now knows better than to try to get chummy with the Sharks. Either start showing more hockey highlights, or stop tweeting at the boys from San Jose. Clearly they have no interest in entertaining your corny humor.