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#pounditTuesday, June 18, 2024

ESPN legend rips network for coverage of Knicks-Pacers series

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Jan. 4, 2011; New Orleans, LA, USA; ESPN logo prior to the 2011 Sugar Bowl between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Louisiana Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

One of ESPN’s legendary figures ripped the network for how it covered Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers.

Longtime “SportsCenter” anchor Dan Patrick was sharply critical of his former network over its Game 7 coverage, accusing ESPN of “East Coast bias” because of what he felt was an outsized focus on the Knicks. Patrick found the coverage to be so bad that he found himself rooting for the Pacers just to spite ESPN.

“The Pacers did play in the game. I just want to let ESPN know,” Patrick said Monday on The Dan Patrick Show. “If you want to buy into East Coast bias, you have every reason to buy into ESPN’s East Coast bias watching that game. How about some impartiality here, okay? I was embarrassed for ESPN, because it felt like it was all about the Knicks. Even at halftime, it was about the Knicks.

“The Pacers aren’t exciting. I get it. Not big names, not a sexy team, but you still have to cover the game. You gotta be fair. I don’t need a Stephen A. Smith arrival video. I don’t need a pep talk with him and Spike Lee. He doesn’t work for the Knicks, he works for ESPN. I was really surprised. And I didn’t care who won, but after that, I was rooting for the Pacers. I thought, ‘You know what? Let’s make this uncomfortable for you.'”

Plenty of people would agree with Patrick here. Obviously, New York is the center of the American media universe in many ways, and the Knicks have a larger fanbase and will attract more coverage. Pacers fans could be forgiven for thinking they were watching a Knicks broadcast at times. It certainly does not help that Smith, ESPN’s top personality, is an avowed Knicks fan who has never been shy about discussing that allegiance.

Patrick has been unafraid of criticizing ESPN since he departed the network in 2007. He also is not the first to rip ESPN for some of its coverage choices during the NBA Playoffs. The network has both the Eastern Conference Finals and the NBA Finals, however, so fans will have to get used to it whether they like it or not.

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