So I read with interest this piece over the weekend from the New York Times, which detailed a fairly significant developing conflict of interest over at The Worldwide Leader.
When ESPN’s Erin Andrews reported that Texas Christian players were slipping in their new Nike cleats during the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, the detail seemed typical of the colorful tidbits that sideline reporters often provide to viewers.
Two weeks after the game, it was revealed that Andrews had signed a deal with a Nike rival, Reebok, to endorse a sneaker line. Now, experts in journalism ethics and others are raising questions about whether her comments — given that the deal may have been in negotiation — constituted a conflict of interest, and whether any journalist should endorse a commercial product.
“I consider sports journalists and sports broadcasters to be ethically challenged in a lot of different ways, but even this has surpassed my wildest imagination,” said Joel Kaplan, an associate dean at S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. The potential conflict created by Andrews’s deal with Reebok and her comments during the Rose Bowl was first reported by The Oregonian.
ESPN has said that Andrews rarely covers stories involving shoes, and that if she did, she would disclose her affiliation with Reebok.Well played, ESPN. Really well played. Just don't even bother trying to pretend to be a journalistic outlet any more--what began to erode with "The Decision" has now eroded completely. Can we please get a viable competitor to ESPN? I'm looking at you, NBC/Comcast...
[New York Times]