DP on the new ESPN book: The backstabbing is disheartening

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Not to take any frantic buzz from the pending release next week of “Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN” by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales, but former ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor Dan Patrick tried to temper the anticipation a bit on his syndicated radio and TV show this morning, saying he thinks “people will be disappointed in the book because it won’t be as titillating as they thought.”

Still, Patrick added, “I think you’re going to find out things that will fascinate you.”

Patrick, who spent 18 years at ESPN as an anchor and host on both TV and radio before leaving in 2007 to start his own media venture, responded to the GQ excerpt of the book that came out Monday (previous blog post on this linked here). It’s the first real piece of meat dangled by the publishers to the mainstream media in anticipation of the release of the book next Tuesday.

Patrick is quoted in the excerpt, but offered much more background to that, his time at ESPN, and what he thinks will be a somewhat deflated response based on previous books done on the network.

“I don’t think people are going to read the book and come away with what they want,” said Patrick. “It’s because the previous book by Mike Freeman (“ESPN: The Uncensored History” in 2001) had a lot of sex in it, sexual harassment stories in it. I don’t know if Jim Miller and Tom Shales will have that approach. I think they’ll tell stories. They told me some stories that I didn’t even know took place. But I think that you will find with these writers is they did their homework. And they have just about anything they want to write, they have it at their fingertips.

“And people ratted on one another. That was really what was sad. People just turned and fired. It was ‘ready, fire, aim.’ And people just turned and stabbed everybody. That’s what I found out, which is really disheartening.

“It’s people who are still there, who work with some of the people they stabbed in the back. That’s the real sad part.

“You build friendships. It’s a great place. But there are people there who are conniving, backstabbing and jealous. I’m talking about talent to management. And that’s what’s sad, because it should come to this. And it will. There’ll be bloodshed, it’ll be ugly. It’ll be embarrassing.

“But the story after the book is out will be: What wasn’t in the book?”

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