ESPN Neglecting True Sports Coverage in Favor of Social Activism, and its Audience is Leaving

The Train Daddy is back, folks! Bringing sports news, life lessons and politically incorrect talk to you, the loyal reader. I write mainly because I enjoy it, and if I can make a few people laugh, it’s worth it. I just call it as I see it! I use humor and my big brain to create these masterpieces. Mozart created over 600 pieces of beautiful works; I can fart the chromatic scale up and down twice without a pause. There is your life lesson. Now we have to cover sports and say something politically incorrect. All aboard!

It’s been nearly a decade of writing for the Pulse; I have written numerous articles on all kinds of topics and my work has been perceived in many fashions. To you loyal readers over the years: thank you, keep reading! And to you haters, who hate: thank you as well and keep hating. It’s loyal readers and haters alike that keep this Train in motion. Thank you both! So Let’s Make Journalism Great Again, Train Daddy-style!

Quick fact: Someone recently emailed me asking me why my nickname is the Train Daddy. My first name is Zach and, during an intense Ping Pong match 15 years ago, I was making a monumental comeback and someone shouted “the Z-Train is rolling, choo-choo!” So a Ping-Pong match is where the Train Daddy nickname originated.

Let’s get into the beef of this enchilada. Now, I don’t try and change my style to appease anyone, unlike the so-called worldwide leader in sports, ESPN. They sold out, folks!

ESPN used to be about sports, nothing more, nothing less, and it worked. ESPN turned itself into a marketing Goliath that made little David pee himself. Did you read my last issue? It discussed the NFL and this season’s massive rating decline—double-digits, folks!

Now its time to bash ESPN, the master of the sports universe, the Alpha and Omega of all things sports. They control what you the consumer watch and hear, and most of you don’t even know how much it’s costing you!

Not only is the NFL having a ratings problem, ESPN is having a major problem with losing its audience. EPSN lost over 600,000 subscribers last month and Nielsen data claims ESPN has lost more than 11 million subscribers in the past five years.

ESPN costs every cable and satellite subscriber $7 a month; of course, those numbers aren’t broken down on your monthly bill, but it’s truth and that’s three times the amount of the next most costly channel on your bill, being TNT at $1.65 a month.

That means all you folks who have a cable/satellite service, yet don’t watch anything related to sports, you’re paying $80 a year for ESPN, a channel you don’t watch. It’s downright criminal. I was surprised at the differential in cost for ESPN compared to other popular networks.

If we as consumers could pick and choose the channels we pay for, ESPN wouldn’t be so greedy! It would still be the most popular channel more than likely, but prices would be reasonable, not super-inflated.

It really hit home for me recently as I was working a large event. There were 6,000 people in the crowd, and there was one speaker onstage. The speaker was joking around and then stated he had a new love and appreciation for college football. The speaker said he was done with the NFL that he couldn’t stomach a league that allowed his flag to be disrespected by clueless morons in their 20s; the crowd erupted into cheers and hoots. That’s 6,000 people going back into the world, football fans or not, that’s bad PR for the NFL and ESPN.

Where are the subscribers going? I don’t know, but some experts claim that many younger people aren’t subscribing to TV services at all, and some people just want to save money. Polls show many football fans have turned their attention away from the NFL because of the anthem protest, and a NFL problem equals a big ESPN problem.

So Train Daddy, why is this a problem for ESPN?

Because ESPN pays big bucks to own it all, mucho money! It’s reported that ESPN paid more than $7 billion dollars in 2017 rights fees. That’s right, they paid the NFL $2 billion dollars for the rights to Monday Night Football, they paid $1.4 billion to the NBA and $700 million to MLB, on top of many other $100 million deals with numerous leagues and events for 2017.

Maybe it’s not a bad thing if ESPN starts getting beat up. I mean, they have a lot of power and sway. With revenue going down and packages going up, they won’t be able to afford the rights to all things sports, right? We the American people are what make it possible for ESPN to be successful. It’s us, everyday people, who make it possible for spoiled athletes like Colin Krapernick to get paid such a lavish salary, and if the people lose interest for whatever reason, it hurts everyone involved in the sports world where it matters most, their bank accounts.


I hear too many people state ESPN sucks, the shows are unwatchable and, besides SportsCenter, it’s a bunch of liberal propaganda. I can’t defend shows like Pardon the interruption, Around the Horn or the nonsense that is His and Hers. This is the network that has the blabbering Stephen A. Smith on nearly every hour, screaming and acting a fool, how many times has that man retracted ridiculous comments? I rarely tune into ESPN anymore, though it used to be my go-to station. For sports news now, I tune into sports radio, where there is such a broader group of intelligent sportscasters to choose from.

Here is my advice to ESPN. Scale back on the opinion shows; allow more sides of the argument if you feel you must talk about social issues and topics better suited for CNN. With your loss in subscribers and the NFL ratings plunge, you may need to begin to shift your resources back to advertising and focus on keeping your hold on future sports rights, and quit all the silly political activism! Sincerely, Mr. Train Daddy.

Oh, I still have a little more bashing left in me before we wrap this up.

ESPN is the network that awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Caitlyn Jenner. Why? I guess for the courage to come out as transgender. Even the extreme liberal Bob Costas stated how absurd it was to give Jenner the award. That’s right, a courage award meant for a relevant athlete goes instead to a reality TV star with the courage to grow boobs and tell the world. People were rightly upset at the absurdity of this. Especially when one of the candidates was Lauren Hill, a college basketball player who played with a brain tumor and died a few months later. But I guess ESPN thought Jenner had more courage coming out than a relevant athlete who died doing what she loved.


Nothing against the transgender community, it’s just a fact—an award meant for a relevant sports athlete went to Jenner. Why? So ESPN could show support to the transgender community, or use her as a PR stunt?

I mean, that’s like the mother of the year award going to Donald Trump because he has small, soft hands, an easy smile and raised five beautiful children . . . it makes no sense, ESPN.

I know these topics always open a can of oh, crap, but that’s okay. Remember Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL? It was a media circus, yet ESPN and the media treated him equal, right? When the Rams decided to waive Sam for not being good enough to make the cut, the famous Peter King reported that NFL officials contacted multiple teams, searching for a city that would at least take him on as a practice squad player. What happened to equal treatment? You think Joe Blow would get an NFL official to do his bidding for him? Well, that wouldn’t be politically correct enough for the NFL to not help Sam out in his historical journey. I felt sorry for him back then—so much scrutiny and pressure, yet the very people demanding fair treatment of Michael, the media and the NFL, they’re the people who treated him as different.

Even the narcissist Donald Trump stated, “I don’t know if you know, but the NFL is way down in their ratings, way down,” then stated that “politics is a rougher game than football” and ended by saying the ratings fall was all on Kaepernick.

Monday Night Football is down 24 percent, Sunday Night down 19 percent and Thursday night down 18 percent from last season’s ratings, double-digits! Soon politics will settle down, and if the ratings don’t rise, do we finally admit that using the field as a political stage has hurt the NFL with its fan base?

Let’s wrap this thing up, folks! Too bad I had to turn this piece in right before the election results; we’ll have a new president by the time many of you read this. I am not a huge Trump fan, but compared to Clinton I would vote for a half-witted midget riding a duck on its way to the magical ball before voting for Hillary. Maybe she is president now, maybe not. I hope America picked the crazy narcissist over a lady who lies in bed with countries like Saudi Arabia, accepts dirty money, lied to families of dead Benghazi soldiers and denies knowing what C stands for related to Top Secret information. Ha! Yeah, I hope that woman never enters the White House again. Lock her up!

That’s it, folks! This is an important time in our history, regardless of who wins the White House. Stay true to yourself and your beliefs; don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t say, hold family and friends close. Remember the 5 F’s: Faith, Family, Football, Food and Friends. Live by the 5 F’s and life will reward you with happiness.


About the Author

The Z-Train is a Murfreesboro resident and enjoys all sports, but bleeds code blue for his beloved Titans, who will one sweet day bring home that beautiful Lombardi Trophy to Tennessee. Always remember the Train's big F's: Faith, Family, Friends, Food and FOOTBALL!

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