ESPN Will Not Book Opposing Viewpoints on Jack Del Rio

ESPN does not include diversity of thought in its self-promotion of a diverse workplace. No wonder.

At ESPN, there’s zero tolerance for those who think independently or challenge the consensus media narrative. ESPN’s exclusive locker room was evident this week by the network’s wall-to-wall coverage of Jack Del Rio’s comments on Jan. 6 and the BLM riots.

Each ESPN voice who has spoken out has taken the same position, that Del Rio is wrong and no one shall dare question the riots in the name of George Floyd. Not a single personality at the network has provided a different perspective on the matter.

This is the culmination of years of politically-motivated hiring practices. Sage Steele is the only openly conservative talent at the network but ESPN does not allow her to discuss sensitive issues on its opinion programming, like First Take and Around the Horn.

As a result, the entire opinion section on ESPN television is a circle-jerk of left-wing talking points. ESPN personalities don’t have to tell the truth or get their facts straight because no one on the other side will correct them and risk ceding ground in the culture war.

Tuesday, ESPN promoted someone no one has ever heard of, called Dennis David Sr. or something, as the authority on Jan. 6 and the BLM riots. And this guy lied to the faces of the viewers.

He says Delo Rio declared the 2020 “protests” worse than Jan. 6. That is not true. In his tweet, Del Rio specifically mentioned the “riots, looting and burnings,” which killed 25 people, not the “protests.”

Also, Del Rio never said Jan. 6 was a lesser offense than the 2020 riots. Rather, he asked how public figures can care so deeply about the Capitol storm but not care at all about the $2 billion in property damage BLM caused.

Yet because not a single co-panelist on Around the Horn dared to correct this dud, his gibberish went unchecked.

That’s what happens when ATH host Tony Reali prohibits dissenting voices from the show. ATH contributors now include the dream team of Bomani Jones, J.A. Adande, Elle Duncan, Clinton Yates, Sarah Spain, and Bill Plaschke. Together, this group has combined for not one original thought.

Now to Stephen A. Smith, someone who matters in the conversation.

Smith recently told Ryan Clark on his podcast that it’s his priority to bring personalities on First Take who think and look differently than he does. Hmm. That might be true in terms of debating the best player in the NBA. However, Smith only books the most like-minded pundits when he’s discussing pressing issues.

Smith began the week by saying Del Rio doesn’t understand the deadly BLM riots because he’s “whiiiite.”

Someone less compromised would question Smith on what white people don’t understand about the nationwide destruction. After all, many of the BLM rioters were white.  Unfortunately, Smith did not have to answer for his comment as Ryan Clark was on set to nod along:

Later in the show, Smith reported that five people died during Jan. 6. That is a lie. The only person who died was Ashli Babbitt. Of course, Marcus Spears did not hold him accountable.

First Take could have had a robust debate and prevented Smith from looking like an ill-informed partisan had it booked someone educated on the matter. Instead, ESPN went with Spears, an ardent social justice warrior.

ESPN personalities drop phrases like “anti-black” and “white supremacy” as a sign of weakness. They can’t debate the facts so they label their subjects with social media buzzwords.

Calling someone “racist” on ESPN is akin to declaring someone “stupid” on the playground in 2nd grade — it needs not be true to be effective.

ESPN could add credibility to its conversations by simply noting that the BLM riots turned deadly. But because ESPN has buried everyone with an opposing perspective, there’s no need to cover social issues honestly.

That is a disservice to sports fans, many of whom reject the idea one opinion should fit all. This is on ESPN management.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

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