Athens, GA (September 9, 2008) - Yesterday we wrote about ESPN not showing Heisman Trophy Candidate Knowshon Moreno's run now known as "The Hurdle" from last Saturday's 56-17 win by the 2nd-ranked University of Georgia Bulldogs over Central Michigan University. In that story, we reported that ESPN told a publication (totaluga.com) that Fox did not provide the highlight to ESPN.
Photograph Courtesy of UGA Sports Communications.
Well, maybe this is not quite the story, and we may be down to a case of "He said, they said". A spokesperson for Fox Sports Networks told Eye on Sports Media today:
With regard to the “hurdle” video, my understanding is that FSN South did not - and does not - send out highlight reels or melt reels from games. The responsibility for capturing that play for highlight use was ESPN’s, just as it does for most of the highlights seen on SportsCenter.
We’ve also heard second hand that ESPN did show the clip during "Plays of the Week" on Sunday, and supposedly mentioned that they had dropped the ball by not showing it initially. Again, that info is second hand.
This ties in quite well with another reader, who is close to the situation, who wrote us this morning and said:
I haven’t delved into the ESPN/FSN situation, but I AM NOT buying the ESPN explanation. The game was on ESPN360 and ESPN Game Plan to it had to be routed thru their system, somehow. And I can’t believe that they didn’t roll on the #2 team in the nation in the first place.
Either someone goofed and didn’t record the game up there (highly unlikely) or they just didn’t want to give FSN the credit for having the game. Did they not show highlights of the game during the afternoon on ESPN News???
Apparently ESPN did show the highlight as one of the top plays yesterday. But is the conspiracy theory correct? If ESPN did record the game, woe is the poor production assistant that did not mark that play for possible use in the highlights? Did they intentionally leave it out because it was not an ESPN game? If they did not record it, why not?
Update Sept 9, 2008 12:20 PM ET,
An ESPN representative has sent this reply:
In response to your question, we provide scores and highlights of numerous games within a limited time frame, this is one play out of hundreds that did not make it into the show. Highlight decisions are subjective. It was definitely an exciting play, and that was reflected in SportsCenter as one of the Top 10 plays, which is a common way we show highlights that are exciting yet not necessarily critical to the game outcome.
Hope that provides some clarification.
Indeed it can be subjective, but it is no wonder that people are scratching their heads when you have a special play by a Heisman candidate from the 2nd-ranked team in the country. Of course, it is equally likely that viewers outside of the University of Georgia Bulldog Nation may not have cared about that play. However, it was a play that certainly deserved air, otherwise ESPN would not have done an on-air mea culpa that they were sorry they missed it on Saturday.
In addition, ESPN may need to get a better handle on what information their employees put out to media sources, especially non-mainstream media sites like TotalUGA, because it has a way of making it into a mainstream media radio show like it did, and being reported as fact. This does both ESPN and FSN South a disservice.
We may never know the true reason why the highlight was not shown, and it is the lack of clear answers and accountability that cause a wrong message to be sent around the ether and on the radio.
The Best Highlight No One Saw on ESPN