The intersection of “Colin Cowherd” and “TV sit-com” as an Internet search for sanity turned up many strange-ish links, some more disturbing than others in the sports media world this week.
The fact, apparently, that CBS has green-lit a half-hour show based, or not, on his life (depending on who you talk to), would seem to heighten the brand name of the ESPN Radio and “SportsNation” TV show co-host and empower him to believe even more of his status in the world.
He comes off, granted, as a grounded, intelligent purveyor of the world, with sports as its context. But in giving him a show, it almost seems like a desperate case of a book publisher asking a fringe blogger to create a hardcover version of their craft, because there’s a market for multi-media beings and lateral expansion is the best way to cross promote and cash in on all different platforms.
The most troubling piece written on Cowherd this week came from Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, in his monthly “power rankings” (linked here). Still, ranking him this Top 10 list clearly acknowledges his current rise in the tide. But it’s hardly a flattering endorsement about how Cowherd has led a “character assassination” of Washington Wizards rookie guard John Wall with an incongruent basis of facts.
“I take no issue with Cowherd floating his opinion, even when I disagree with him. .. But there is opinion, and then there is getting your facts wrong, a thesis highlighted by Ted Koppel on Sunday in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post where he cited an environment in which everyone ‘flaunts opinions as though they were facts.’
“Cowherd’s attack on Wall’s supposed unselfishness (“J-Wow’s 37-second ‘Yo dawg look at me I’m the man’ [dance], and his wild, out-of-control style, everybody else is buying his stock, and it told me all I need to know”‘ was not factual. Nor was calling Wall ‘an idiot’ and saying ‘he was not a sharp guy.’ Those are reckless and unfair assertions. After talking to people who actually know Wall, as well as interviewing him myself, I believe that he’s a bright kid who plays the game like a professional. But I’m biased, having actually reported on him.
“I don’t expect ESPN to call Cowherd out in any meaningful fashion. (Perhaps the current ombudsman will weigh in after his Thanksgiving turkey.) The radio host is liked by ESPN brass and he’s delivered for his employer. He’s also entertaining. But unfair is unfair, so even though this is ultimately providing Cowherd with publicity, bravo to Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post and others such as Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News, Bethlehem Shoals and Tom Ziller of AOL Sports, and Sirius Hardcore radio host Bomani Jones (who said he did not understand why such ‘racially-loaded language’ was used in Cowherd’s riff) for calling him out.
“Do not expect Cowherd to apologize. … Cowherd is charged with getting people to listen to him, and he’s always been honest that his job is to be entertaining and get ratings. But I expect more from someone who has reached the highest level of his profession and has the imprimatur of a powerful brand such as ESPN Radio. Perhaps that makes me an idiot, too. … The Hollywood Reporter reported that Cowherd had sold his life story to CBS for a sitcom deal.”
And, laugh track or not, Cowherd may have the last laugh.
Cowherd also noted in USA Today this week that he’ll have a book out soon, “”little vignettes” he compiled only while flying because “every time I get on a plane, I write.”
Can’t wait for the video game: $h*! our radio sports-talk show host says.
After today’s media column on how people like Cowherd can confuse fact from fiction with the sports consumer these days (lined here), we blather forward:
Continue reading “The Media Learning Curve: Nov. 12-19” »