Links: ESPN has Donnie Walsh’s back?

by March 25, 2008

by Lang Whitaker

Late last night, I saw on ESPN’s score-crawl-thingy that the Knicks were hiring Donnie Walsh as their new GM. So I logged onto to see who it was that broke this news. Chris “The Machine” Sheridan? Marc Stein? Henry Abbott?

As it turns out…nobody did. According to ESPN’s story, it just reads “a source told ESPN.”

Hmm…strange, I thought. But everyone seemed to be taking the story as gospel.

This morning I got up and went surfing the net for more info. But according to Yahoo! and the AP, all the info is based on that same ESPN report.

According to Newsday’s Alan Hahn, the reason ESPN’s story apparently wrote itself is because whoever got the news over at ESPN was “an executive-level figure at ESPN, not someone at the reporter level.”

ESPN executives don’t have names?

They obviously don’t have to say where their info came from, but there’s a reason reporters put their names on things that they write. So that when they’re correct, they’ll build trust with their audience. And so that when they’re wrong — like when ESPN’s own Kirk Herbstreit swore Les Miles was leaving LSU for Michigan, which turned out to be wildly incorrect — the reporter can take the blame for passing on wrong information.

But on this story, ESPN is asking us just to believe them because they are what they are.

And that’s not good enough for me.

The old saying is that where there’s smoke there’s fire, and that’s especially true with the New York media, who will jump all over a story like a pack of wild hounds. But on this one, they’re all going with what ESPN reported.


Meanwhile, I just spoke to someone with knowledge about all this mess with the Knicks and Pacers and was told there’s a “very good chance” Walsh won’t come take over the Knicks, and that as of last night Walsh had no idea what he was going to do. Still, today’s Ian Thomsen is reporting a deal is done. Even though Newsday reported that as of 10 a.m. this morning nothing was done and there was “nothing clear” about Walsh’s future. And the Pacers are saying nothing is done.

But a mysterious source at ESPN is still telling us it’s a done deal.

Choose your own adventure.

For a network so quick to pat themselves on the back when they break any sort of news, I just hope ESPN does the right thing and tells us where the rumor came from, or at the very least who we can blame if the story ends up being wrong.

As ESPN’s own ombudsman wrote just a few months ago after the Herbstreit/Les Miles debacle…

All we know for sure is that ESPN’s reputation as a reliable source of “scoops” has taken another blow. When viewers respond to the phrase “a source has told ESPN” with a “we’ll see” attitude, as many who write me say they now do, it undermines the efforts of ESPN’s entire staff of producers, editors and reporters.

Hey, at least they’re learning from their mistakes.

Or not.

We’ll see…

• Chris Sheridan gets the Line Of The Day for this sentence in his story about all this…

“In a world where illogic trumps logic every time Dolan needs to make a decision, it would make perfect sense — in a Dolanian way — for Walsh and Thomas to be reunited in New York and to pledge to work together.”

Lyrical and funny. Nice.

• Khalid is being conspicuously quiet about his Sixers storming through the NBA right now. If my Hawks had finally moved over .500 and won 8 of their last 10, I’d hire a plane to fly a banner over Manhattan to make sure every knew about it.

I just think it’s especially funny that the Sixers fired Billy King and immediately started winning games without making any other major moves.

Khalid swears he’s going to break his silence with a blog post. We’ll see…

• A few other cool links. This is what happens when you strap a camera onto an elephant.

• You guys better not cop an atitod with me. For reel, sun.

• This isn’t good. I’ve flown a lot, but I’ve never been on a flight where part of the wing broke off and hit a window of the plane.

• Finally, if you’re over in Spain, keep an eye out for this Ricky Rubio special airing on Canal+’s Spanish-language channel. They sent a camera crew here to the SLAM Dome a few weeks ago and interviewed me for the show. That’s right, SLAM is on “Informe Robinson” this week! Si!