By Jay Maxson | Newsbusters |February 8, 2018
What to do with the mess that is ESPN SportsCenter, or “WokeCenter” as Clay Travis calls it? That became a $64,000 question today as several people weighed in on the program-in-crisis on the Worldwide Leader in (Liberal) Sports.
Travis, of the Outkick The Coverage blog and a frequent critic of ESPN, said the SportsCenter 6 experiment of the past year has been a huge failure. Michael Smith (in photograph), the surviving member of SC6 since the departure of Trump-hater Jemele Hill, is spewing bitter words about the state of the show. Former SC host Steve Levy says it’s now unrecognizable from what it used to be, and ESPN Public Editor Jim Brady says there’s still juice left in Sports Center, though an industry expert says he’s not so sure of that.
Travis’s lead story today centers on Smith confirming that Hill did not leave SC6 of her own accord when she recently transitioned over to ESPN’s black culture blog, The Undefeated. Last year, ESPN gave the liberal duo millions of dollars to re-shape SportsCenter into a let’s-not-stick-to-sports package. It fell flat, and no one was watching. To make matters worse, last fall Hill drew a strong White House rebuke for calling President Trump and his supporters “white supremacists.” Later she got suspended for another rant on social media. Since she became toxic and the show was doing a Tom Petty free-falling rendition, why didn’t ESPN just dump her?
“There was a time we weren’t even talking to each other (on the show) anymore. Like no more Michael and Jemele, not less, not here and there. No more Michael and Jemele talking. No more of their commentary. It’s just strictly live shots and analysts. That’s what pissed me off so much. I was like, wait a second, you all acknowledge that one of the strengths we have going for us as a show is Michael and Jemele’s chemistry, but Michael and Jemele don’t f——- talk to each other? How does that make sense?
“Instead of saying ‘no, this is the vision for this show, this is what we’re doing. This show is about Michael and Jemele and their opinions and their chemistry, and they’re going to do ‘SportsCenter’ their way.’ Instead of sticking to that vision, we immediately tried to merge two things. It was very frustrating …They got what they wanted, which was Michael and Jemele being muted. And that frustrated the s— out of us.”