If ESPN actually scripted an action plan for how to deal with a potential story I would imagine that they would try to cover every angle including how to break into their regular programing (even though more of it is live today then ever before). While if they went thought this practice they might have made a list of potential big events, they would have been hard pressed to predict that two crazy brothers would plant bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
With all that said, one thing they could have planned for was a male athlete in one of the "big 4" sports (football, baseball, hockey and basketball) would come out to the world as a gay man. In fact even if this didn't make their list, it's been talked about so much in the past year that somebody would have surely added it on there. And even if that didn't register, surely when they "broke the news" that Baylor basketball player Brittney Griner came out as a lesbian somebody would have gone over to the other side of Mel Kipper's draft board and jotted down a note.
If you answered yes to any of the above questions. you'd be dead wrong. When the news broke late Monday morning that NBA free agent, Jason Collins wrote a first hand message that he was coming out in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, ESPN was in the middle of a programing block. A LIVE programing block. LIVE as in, we could break in at any time simply by handing our anchors a piece of paper with a note on it. But they chose to hold back. While the rest of the known universe was on Twitter and even FOX News learning about the details and reading the article. ESPN was debating how to break the story.
They did finally say something 2.5 hours later by opening up the Outside the Lines show with the story. Then things took a turn for the worse. The show brought on NBA commentator, Chris Broussard. The interview started with the basics but with a few minutes left to go, Broussard was asked what HE thought of the announcement. Completely forgetting that he is paid to be a commentator about the NBA and not religion or other sentiments that should be left outside of the office, he launched into a diatribe about how he's a "christian" (I choose to use lower case here because he doesn't deserve capitalization) and how Collins is "living a life of sin".
For his efforts, Mr. Broussard is yet to be suspended for his hate speech. In fact ESPN management has come out and said they support his comments and he was asked for his opinion. Um..yeah....his opinion about how Collins will be viewed by other players and his future in the league, not his thoughts on the Bible. Tell you what....I don't like the fact that Mr. Broussard eats pork. That's a sin in the Bible, how come nobody comes down on him for that?
A few years back, Tony Kornheiser made a comment on his ESPN radio show about the outfit that a female Sports Center anchor was wearing. He said her red go-go boots and short skit took attention away from the stories she was reporting. He was 100% correct and he got a suspension for it. Mr Broussard goes on a hate filled rant and tries to use religion as a defense and gets the support of ESPN Brass. As it has been said, "That's a Paddlin'."
ESPN has proven over the last 5 years or so of being less and less relevant in the sports world. Their flagship program, Sports Center, spends more time playing compilation highlights to music then they do showing you what happened in the game. Every anchor now has to have a catch phrase and many of them are contrived and offer no humor or value. Many more of us (myself included) are getting our sports elsewhere. Speaking for myself, I watch MLB Network when I want baseball highlights and follow Twitter when I want info on pretty much anything else.