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WE GET THE GREEN LIGHT TO INTERVIEW FISH

We’ve got an update as to our effort to pose some questions directly to Mike Fish of ESPN.com regarding his curiously-timed report regarding the link between a former Steelers physician and Human Growth Hormone.
Our belief is that ESPN timed the release of a story that direct implicit allegations of cheating against the Steelers to coincide with the team’s attempt to secure a berth in the Super Bowl — and that ESPN likely would have held the thing until the eve of the Super Bowl if ESPN was sufficiently confident that the Steelers would win.  (In that regard, ESPN must not be listening to its experts, who seem to agree across the board that the Steelers will advance.)
As it turns out, we’ll be interviewing Fish (and possibly others at ESPN), at a minimum by e-mail and possibly by phone.
On one hand, doing it live is preferred, because the subject of the interview is forced to give extemporaneous answers, and might say something truthful and candid that, in hindsight, might not have been said.
On the other hand, there’s no potential for claiming that comments were taken out of context or that the subject misspoke if there was more than enough time to write the words and read the words and rewrite the words and read them again and rewrite them again if needed.
Also, we caught a glimpse of Mr. Fish during Friday’s Outside The Lines.  His comments on the Steelers-HGH link were curiously brief, and we found it odd that he used his limited time to emphasize the fact that doctors with other NFL teams had referred non-athlete patients to Dr. Rydze for HGH therapy.
“One of the things that was fascinating is that at least four physicians who are tied in to sports teams, Major League Baseball, the NFL, and in some cases both, were referring patients, not athlete patients but patients, to Dr. Rydze to be treated with Human Growth Hormone,” Fish said.  “So it shows that team physicians even though their teams and athletes can’t use this, they’re comfortable enough sending their own patients to Dr. Rydze.”
Our cynical side (which implies incorrectly that we have a non-cynical side) makes us wonder whether the league office expressed to ESPN, a major broadcast partner, concern over this “once is an accident, twice is a trend” phenomenon of unveiling stories with actual or implicit allegations of cheating focused on a specific NFL team only a handful of days before the team in question will play in a key postseason game.
Said one league source, “ESPN is trying to make a ratings grab by bringing back old stories that no one paid attention to the first time around and make a big deal out of them at playoff time.  They planned to do the same with the Pacman piece hoping that Dallas would be a Super Bowl contender.  When they missed the playoffs it took away some of the luster.
“The NFL has to be pissed that one of their ‘partners’ is trying to ambush them and sully the shield with this type of journalism.”
Meanwhile, although ESPN has streamlined the alphabet junkyard that used to be its web site, Fish’s article can’t be found without resorting to the search box.  It’s not on the NFL page and, though viewers were invited to read Fish’s HGH report on the Outside The Lines page, it’s simply not there.

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16 Responses to “WE GET THE GREEN LIGHT TO INTERVIEW FISH”
  1. freedomispopular says: Jan 17, 2009 12:18 PM

    Cardinals hosting the NFC Championship game? Florio engaging in real journalism? I wonder if the devil has a pair of long johns…

  2. The MarshallFaulkPlan says: Jan 17, 2009 12:18 PM

    I don’t think this one caught wind, for all the bluster about it here.
    Deserved bluster, admittedly, for the yellow journalism that is ESPN these days. I just think it’s harder to galvanize the country against a team like the Steelers vs. the Pats or the Cowboys (teams that are generally more reviled outside of their markets).
    Apologies to people in Baltimore, Cleveland, and wherever else might hate Pittsburgh, my feeling is that most of the country couldn’t care less.

  3. Homeydogg says: Jan 17, 2009 12:21 PM

    The Fish article contains nothing but broad specualtion by sources without specific knowledge of any use by the Steelers. I am a Steeler fan, and I would not be surprised to find many Steelers juicing. I think a large majority of athletes in high pay, high profile sports are juicing. I wouldn’t b esurprised to find out Cal Ripken Jr was juicing.
    Without Mr. Florio’s blurb, the article would have gone unnoticed. Now that Mr. Florio has mentioned it, the story will get a lot of play. Mr. Florio’s blog is to sports discussion as the DrudgeReport is to political discourse.

  4. dbartdog says: Jan 17, 2009 12:26 PM

    Mike Florio,
    Do you think the Steelers are dirty? Seems to me the Steelers ave always been dirty since their emergence as a championship team.

  5. brian_21 says: Jan 17, 2009 12:28 PM

    I’m curious as to what Mike Fish will say when pressed by Florio. If you guys read most of Fish’s stories, the investigative work is very good compared to most sports writers.
    Saying that, Florio brings up interesting points, and we’ll see what happens after Fish gets interviewed.

  6. TecmoScott says: Jan 17, 2009 12:29 PM

    Well if Fish reads PFT then he should be ready for your interrogation now. I’d consider not letting the cat out of the bag next time your doing investigative reporting. I mean you said it yourself:
    “On one hand, doing it live is preferred, because the subject of the interview is forced to give extemporaneous answers, and might say something truthful and candid that, in hindsight, might not have been said.”
    FYI, the person will also give extemporaneous answers and say truthful or candid things when they don’t suspect that they’re trying to be setup.

  7. CaptainFantastik says: Jan 17, 2009 12:40 PM

    The piece was already pulled from the ESPN page rotation. I know Fish’s email address was circulated around several Steelers sites and that his inbox was “blowed up” by Steelers fans.

  8. eatyourguitar says: Jan 17, 2009 12:41 PM

    E-mail will not suffice. No e-mail interview.

  9. hrmlss says: Jan 17, 2009 12:43 PM

    Florio,
    Watch out he may be trying to set you up!

  10. LuvThatDirtyWatah says: Jan 17, 2009 12:59 PM

    More ESPN “wisdom”. Alienate another large sports city audience. Boston…now Pittsburgh. Idiots. Let the ratings drop ….

  11. Lord of the Flies says: Jan 17, 2009 2:17 PM

    “Do you think the Steelers are dirty? Seems to me the Steelers ave always been dirty since their emergence as a championship team.”
    Using your Spock-like logic prowess, then decent teams such as the Cowboys, Pats, Titans and others must be “generally not dirty”, right?
    And teams that are horible are “Positively Clean”.
    Good job!

  12. GR365 says: Jan 17, 2009 2:26 PM

    I remember alot of non patriot fans getting a big laugh out of the story released 1 day prior to the SB…I warned you then that this was yellow journalism…Now it’s somebody elses ass in the sling and seems unfunny to Stillers fans.
    All it takes is a little leak here and there. Then true or not, the story will feed off itself. I mean it just wouldn’t die! Fish was involved in that story too!
    Hey, at least you don’t have a US Senator breathing down your neck, afterall he’s a Iigles and Steeler fan, so I guess your in the clear!
    Do they take steroids, who knows. Florio is right on this, why now?

  13. VaBthang4 says: Jan 17, 2009 3:12 PM

    Florio, I really appreciate your perception regarding this whole M.O. ESPN has…since Disney purchased them and ABC got its staff into the Bristol mix. Now ESPN can add the derogatory acronym MSM to their portfolio. Foxsports needs to step up its game and provide some legitimate/adversarial competition.

  14. Galardi says: Jan 17, 2009 6:36 PM

    Keep up the good work, Florio. Uncover the filth!

  15. Dryheaver says: Jan 17, 2009 7:49 PM

    This isn’t shocking at all…..ESPN turned into a combination of The National Enquirer, Entertainment Tonight, and Weekly World News a long,long time ago……..I’m just surprised they haven’t hired Geraldo Rivera as a Sportscenter anchor yet.

  16. Phildo says: Jan 18, 2009 11:17 AM

    “So it shows that team physicians even though their teams and athletes can’t use this, they’re comfortable enough sending their own patients to Dr. Rydze.”
    This statement is pure nonsense. HGH isn’t illegal, and there are medical reasons to use it. The fact that it’s against the rules in professional sports shouldn’t stop doctors from using it on their non-athlete patients.
    I’m sure plenty of doctors tied to professional sports have prescribed/provided HGH/steroids/and other “banned” drugs to non-athlete patients when it is called for.

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