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ESPN, Patriots create an obvious conflict of interest

Maybe ESPN wants to be criticized.

That’s the only explanation we can identify in the wake of the bizarre news from SportsBusiness Daily that ESPN has hired Kraft Sports Group to sell local advertising for the fledgling ESPNBoston.com.

That’s Kraft Sports Group.  As in Robert Kraft.  As in the owner of the New England Patriots.

Even more amazing is that the SBD report from John Ourand and Daniel Kaplan doesn’t even bat an eye at one of the most blatant and obvious conflicts of interest we ever have seen.

This is well beyond, in our view, the placement of a CBS-themed restaurant at Patriot Place, which has raised some talk of a conflict of interest between the Pats and the network that televises the Sunday afternoon AFC package of games.

This is a sports news outlet entering into a significant business partnership with one of the handful of teams that will be covered by the ESPNBoston.com site.

It’s surreal, frankly.

That said, the new civil suit against Tom Brady, which gives new meaning to the term “shotgun wedding,” has been addressed at ESPNBoston.com.  But there’s not a single mention of the serious claims made against one of the top quarterbacks in the league on the mother ship’s mother site — not even on the supposedly ESPN.com AFC East blog.

It’s almost as if a conscious decision has been made to slip the thing onto the Boston-focused arm of ESPN.com, without exposing the broader audience to the news.

Regardless of whether ESPN.com huddled with one or more members of the Kraft group to craft a strategy for mentioning the Brady lawsuit on a scaled-down basis to avoid the kind of criticism that ESPN experienced for keeping its head buried in casino chips as to the civil lawsuit against Ben Roethlisberger, the business relationship between ESPN and the group that owns an NFL team invites such scrutiny.

So, from this point forward, every thing said or written by ESPN about the Patriots needs to be considered in light of this relationship.

Meanwhile, we’ll wait to see what Don Ohlmeyer has to say about this one in the monthly ombudsman column that still ends up buried at the bottom of the alphabet junkyard.

UPDATE:  Though we stand by our contention that, as of the original posting of this item, no link to the Brady lawsuit story appeared at ESPN.com’s front page or its NFL page (or its AFC East blog), we’re told that, on Tuesday, a prominent link to the item was indeed posted at ESPN.com.  It has since been moved to ESPNBoston.com.

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83 Responses to “ESPN, Patriots create an obvious conflict of interest”
  1. BradyGazelle says: Sep 24, 2009 10:00 AM

    Blah blah blah – who cares?
    It might make a difference if ESPN was a reputable and legitimate sports outlet.

  2. JoeSchmoe says: Sep 24, 2009 10:00 AM

    You’re reaching Florio IMO. A) Perhaps Kraft’s group is actually the best group to do this, B) Brady’s wedding incident is TMZ and unfortunately PFT worthy but shouldn’t be on any other sports related site (you get a pass because your site is synonymous for this type of coverage). But do you really think you should hold anybody to the fire for NOT covering some wedding incident? Should we be wondering why there isn’t more coverage of you getting too sauced up at your uncle Eddie’s wedding and hitting on his bride? C’mon…
    Back on point though, it’s not inconceivable to think that people get preferential treatment, but perhaps Kraft’s group knows the job better than anyone else and got the gig… so what?
    Put away your grassy knoll on this one Mike and save yourself some cred.

  3. Leone510 says: Sep 24, 2009 10:01 AM

    “But there’s not a single mention of the serious claims made against one of the top quarterbacks in the league on the mother ship’s mother site”
    It was there the other day when the story broke. They must have taken it down.

  4. Scrip Club Lover says: Sep 24, 2009 10:04 AM

    This can’t be, ESPN is completely objective. I think hiring Lord Tedy Bruschi to cover the Patriots home opener is completely objective.
    ESPN’s man-crush on the Patriots is sickening.

  5. Marima says: Sep 24, 2009 10:04 AM

    ESPN doesn’t even mention the Ben Rothlisberger story – not even the AP news item – and you think ESPN should spend time editorializing this bogus lawsuit against Brady and his wife? At least ESPN included the AP story. Right now there’s nothing to report except speculation and a re-hashing of what each side said that was reported on months ago. There’s no story here yet.

  6. Marty says: Sep 24, 2009 10:06 AM

    How is that any different than NBC hiring an analyst who still acts like he plays for the Patriots?
    Seriously, why should the Patriots have a representative on the air, and not other organizations?
    The guy is not a professional analyst – he is still a NE Patriot.

  7. borg says: Sep 24, 2009 10:07 AM

    Funny…this Florio guy is. Floating rumors and toilet musings is journalism. Let’s understand how the world works…. Companies need to make money to stay in business. Pro Football is entertainment….Media companies present entertainment. It’s one big intermingled profit center…welcome to capitalism….Now get back to what your good at and tell us what Ochocinco is twittering. Blow our mind!

  8. RumorMongering says: Sep 24, 2009 10:12 AM

    Nice job on this Mike.

  9. Furious George says: Sep 24, 2009 10:12 AM

    how is that a claim against Brady? and didnt you say its being reported at the site you say is being sponsored by the Pats? didnt espn say they dont report on civil suits when they hid the rothlisberger news for a week? the bodyguard incident was on the front page of espn within an hour of it being reported. classless.

  10. Mikey D says: Sep 24, 2009 10:16 AM

    It doesn’t really surprise me. ESPN always favors Boston sports. It’s pathetic if you ask me.

  11. Hugh says: Sep 24, 2009 10:17 AM

    And this surprises you? ESPN has been slurping the Pats*** for years.

  12. Triumph40 says: Sep 24, 2009 10:18 AM

    I don’t know why this is surprising to anybody. ESPN and the Patriots have been in bed with each other for years. Just watch any NFL related programming on ESPN. For years, they have gone out of their way to sing the praises of the Patriots, so much so that it’s just nauseating. I never really disliked New England until ESPN has gone out of their way to shove them down our throats. Now I loathe, despite, detest, and in all other ways dislike the Patriots and ESPN.

  13. TheWizard says: Sep 24, 2009 10:19 AM

    Until, of course, we become KPFT – Kraft Pro Football Talk.
    Then we’ll take a softer tone on all of this.

  14. evilboy128 says: Sep 24, 2009 10:21 AM

    Silly PFT…NFL is French for Patriots footballs…the football sun rises on Goodell’s buddy, Robert Craft’s ass and sets on Jerry Jones’….well you know. and the Steelers ownership team set every little star….BOW TO THE BIG THREE….pray you are worthy…(you aren’t, you pathetic little fan)

  15. StevieMo says: Sep 24, 2009 10:22 AM

    And don’t forget that ESPN is racist. If a black player gets in some kind of trouble (Merriman), it’s up and running in 15 seconds. But if it’s a white guy on a favored-nation team (Roethlisberger, Brady), the story is conveniently squelched. I’ve lost all respect for those racist assholes.

  16. VoxVeritas says: Sep 24, 2009 10:23 AM

    Wow, so you’re saying that ESPN might show bias, huh? Who would ever expect bias from a sports website?

  17. emulcifier says: Sep 24, 2009 10:25 AM

    Whenever anyone doesn’t have competition, they produce less-than-stellar output.
    It’d be really nice if another sports network could get national syndication, because ESPN is really marketed towards 12 year-olds in Boston.

  18. Hap says: Sep 24, 2009 10:25 AM

    Certainly you’re not just discovering there’s a connection between The Cheatriot’s and northEast Sox and Patriot Network, are you ? That relationship is soooo sickening that I don’t even watch that network unless I can’t find a game anywhere else to watch. Now if you will notice that not only do they promote the nortyheast teams, but they put down anyone else who’s a threat. Why do you think they hate The Cowboy’s and The Yankee’s so much ? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You DO NOT want to get me started on espn. They are douchebags from Hades.

  19. Chitown says: Sep 24, 2009 10:29 AM

    The NFL is becoming the WEE. Yes Jerry Jones and the mega owners will ruin this sport. Jones can’t afford to put a bad team or a no name team on the field with the prices he has to charge to pay for that stadium. That means he will force the owners to stop revenue sharing and the NFL will become worse than baseball and loose half of its fan base. As Jones and Snyder try to buy championships every other year. Wow sounds like a lot of fun.

  20. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says: Sep 24, 2009 10:33 AM

    ESPN sold its soul years ago. This seems to be “business as usual” and not really all that newsworthy.
    If they were doing actual journalism, reporting, avoiding conflicts of interest, and acknowledging teams that come from places other than NY/NJ/Boston – now that would be newsworthy.

  21. HarrisonHits says: Sep 24, 2009 10:37 AM

    Mike I still haven’t seen you address the question of how Brady can be sued in the US for something that happened in another country. Please do so.

  22. HarrisonHits says: Sep 24, 2009 10:38 AM

    “‘ESPN has been slurping the Pats*** for years.”
    Uh what planet have you been living on the last few years ? How do the false spygate II allegations and numerous other pieces of crap dropped by that skanky network on the Pats qualify as slurping ?

  23. Wardo says: Sep 24, 2009 10:40 AM

    I’m waiting for Al Davis to fund ESPNoakland.com

  24. Gick says: Sep 24, 2009 10:40 AM

    ESPN should be a celebrity gossip site covering something as irrelevant as Tom Brady’s wedding?
    What a stupid half-breed article

  25. bobinpuertorico says: Sep 24, 2009 10:41 AM

    Florio, This might be news for any other cable network, but not for ESPN – the Everyone Supports the Patriots Network!

  26. realityonetwo says: Sep 24, 2009 10:43 AM

    I can’t help but wonder whether, in the entire city of Boston, there’s at least one other company that knows how to sell advertising.

  27. ReardensSteelers says: Sep 24, 2009 10:43 AM

    Who cares. ESPN is a laughingstock. When I am forced to watch a game on that channel the volume gets muted. What I really want is more NFL twitter stories followed by what Brett Favre’s favorite ice cream flavor is. And of course more Kenny Mayne.

  28. Florio-is-a-tool says: Sep 24, 2009 10:47 AM

    Want to know what’s truly surreal? Florio’s face.

  29. CliveRush says: Sep 24, 2009 10:47 AM

    The Krafts, Robert and Johnathon have a great amount of power among the NFL owners. The TV contracts of today are the work of many in Dallas and Foxborough. It is a very eye popping agreement when one considers the on the surface anamosity between the two parties. Is this ESPN’s way of trying to make amends to the Krafts without being public about it. The execs at ABC/ESPN are going to have to deal with The Jones Family [the T.O. circus sponsored by ESPN] and the Kraft Family [False story line prior to Super Bowl ] in the future for the rights to broadcast the games. The amount of action going on behind the scene and the amount of money at stake points to a take over of the revenue stream by ownership. If you want a piece of the action fall in line and bow.

  30. Jumbotron84 says: Sep 24, 2009 10:49 AM

    I see there is a lot of apathy towards conflicts of interest.
    “Ties That Bind” come to mind.
    The same connections that give someone/something power is the same connections that bind that someone/something from truthfully fufilling their responsibility.
    Conflict of interest… Right?

  31. dcfan-1212450 says: Sep 24, 2009 10:53 AM

    None of you guys have mentioned where ESPN is located. Bristol Connecticut. Of course there big into Boston. Some of the owners, most the employees, lots of local sponsors all love the Patriots, so why does it shock you ESPN entered a deal with them.

  32. mvlonergan says: Sep 24, 2009 10:54 AM

    Wow. For a lawyer you’re really naive. The Brady-Bundchen story is a non-story. If even true, then it’s a case of an overzealous employee. However, there’s no motivation for AFP to go after a bodyguard because the bodyguard is not a multi-millionaire. Think about it. Had anyone even heard of AFP before this story? The placement of CBS Scene at Patriots Place is an example of cross branding. It happens all the time. As for ESPN and the Pats, does anyone out there really still think that ESPN is a news network? They’re an *entertainment* network. They’re selling commentary and personalities, not news.
    Hey, did you know that Hershey’s holds the license to manufacture Cadbury products in the U.S. You better get on that, Florio. It’s freakin’ chocolatey monopoly and it’s ruining society.

  33. ZombieRevolution says: Sep 24, 2009 10:58 AM

    Florio- swing for the fences. No organization is without bias- I give you the constant PFT attacks on Brett Favre, without hammering other players for the same issues (obviously except retiring). PFT would never shill for players like Pat White or be so commercially crass as wasting an entire post on a product produced by their sponsors right?
    “Don Ohlmeyer has to say about this one in the monthly ombudsman column…”
    Yea- too bad PFT does not have an ombudsman to look over all of the bias and the shoddy and lazy journalism conducted on this site. How many times do you write a post critical of a coach or a player, based on another journalist’s work and not bother to talk to either the reporter or the subject? PFT= volume and noise and little substance.

  34. Massappeal says: Sep 24, 2009 10:59 AM

    Who cares that ESPN doesn’t cover the Brady reception story.
    What’s he guilty of. Not hiring investigators to investigate the people of every #$@%$#% service that he hires!!!!!

  35. researchALLwars says: Sep 24, 2009 11:01 AM

    LOL! This is only a conflict of OUR interest.
    In no way is this a conflict in THEIR interest.
    Now we must answer the question:
    Who give de orders?
    And what madness would you subscribe to by having a full team walkthrough IN THE STADIUM, right before the Superbowl. Suprise. The “Patriots” win after 9/11. Wow.
    Does anybody know what kind of Monetary AND Religious endeavors Mr. Kraft engages in when he’s not sitting in that suite? Would it take too much of your time to find out?
    And as for Disney, I suggest you all youtube search “mickey’s rant on south park”
    (and no, the damn mouse doesnt give the orders in reality.)

  36. BradyGazelle says: Sep 24, 2009 11:02 AM

    Yes, ESPN is in Bristol, CT – which is New York as far as real New Englanders are concerned…

  37. snnyjcbs says: Sep 24, 2009 11:02 AM

    Does it really matter, who has not witnessed how far up the Pats ass most that work for ESPN has had their heads.
    Why else would so many be almost in total shock at how the Pats are playing when it was clear as day to anyone who took a good look that they have been falling ever since the Super Bowl loss.
    ESPN writers build them up almost to God like status, most knew that ESPN was in bed with them all along. Why do you think I am at your site all the time.

  38. Twiz says: Sep 24, 2009 11:10 AM

    Speaking of conflicts of interest……
    General Electric owns NBC….
    General Electric generates power…..so General Electric makes electricity…..electricity is needed to power a television…..a television is needed to watch NBC Sports…….
    going further….power is needed to run a computer….a computer is needed to surf the internet…..the internet is needed for this site to be viewed…..
    get the picture? If you want to talk about a conflict of interest, why not look at the company that now owns your site first!!!
    Yet another stupid attempt at creating controversy. I guess Florio can’t do it this early against the Vikings, Cardinals or other teams/players he dislikes……

  39. bloodystupidjohnson says: Sep 24, 2009 11:18 AM

    ESPN has always been a “tout” for all things Boston. Check out how they have shilled the Red Sox all these years.
    Now if you are a Boston fan living in Boston, don’t get mad at me for saying this. It is just that the rest of the people in the country don’t really give a damn about Boston teams, and ESPN is suppose to be a national network not a Boston cable channel.

  40. NovaDawg says: Sep 24, 2009 11:18 AM

    Look at the state of today’s media, and this is hardly an issue. NYT, NBC, Wash Post, etc. all on board for anything the Democrats want… Fox and WJS on board for anything the Republicans want… the American Media no longer has any ethics in any facet of publication so why would we expect Sports Journalism to somehow be different? Really… we have much bigger media problems than whether ESPN sells out to its favorite stars.

  41. droppingloads says: Sep 24, 2009 11:21 AM

    I think that you have to be reminded that this is football, it is a sport that does not matter. We are not talking about the government owning a news website. This is football and who cares if some talking head hates the pats or loves the pats, this is football dude, you are not matt drudge, so please stop trying to be him, you cover football, football.

  42. bednarik60 says: Sep 24, 2009 11:22 AM

    The fact that Boston even has it’s own ESPN site is ridiculous. Now they’re cohorting with the Krafts? Next the NFL and the Pats will sign a contract to legally call the Patriots “The Real America’s Team”.

  43. msnyder275 says: Sep 24, 2009 11:23 AM

    Unfortunately this isn’t blatant or obvious – let alone unprecedented or unique.
    Blatant and obvious is ESPN letting its media darlings own Arena Football teams…then advertising, marketing and even calling AFL games.
    That qualified as blatant and obvious, though not unprescedented or unique. The Tribune companies owned the Chicago Cubs until a few weeks back. Liberty Media owns the Braves. Many franchises are part owners in local cable networks.
    While I love dumping on ESPN as much as anybody, and crossing of these lines is obviously wrong, a local marketing deal is…nearly trivial.

  44. pats307 says: Sep 24, 2009 11:26 AM

    You get an A in investigative reporting. Oh, and If you figure out the connection between the Yes Network and the Yankees, I’ll tell you what the A stanads for.

  45. BernardPollardIsAnAss says: Sep 24, 2009 11:29 AM

    Serious claims? Give me a break. You have already made fun of most of what is alleged. How can they be serious claims all of a sudden?

  46. blackglass says: Sep 24, 2009 11:30 AM

    dcfan-1212450 says:
    September 24, 2009 10:53 AM
    None of you guys have mentioned where ESPN is located. Bristol Connecticut. Of course there big into Boston. Some of the owners, most the employees, lots of local sponsors all love the Patriots, so why does it shock you ESPN entered a deal with them.
    Know your facts first, dummy. Conneticut is a place for New Yorkers to live when they don’t want to live in New Yok. It’s full of Giant and Yankee fans.

  47. PFTiswhatitis says: Sep 24, 2009 11:32 AM

    yeah CBS is going to change their coverage of the Pats because of the little sports bar restaraunt at Patriots place? More likely they will open other locations at stadium venues around the league ala Dallas.

  48. Citizen Strange says: Sep 24, 2009 11:33 AM

    The Patriots begin and end with the deaf, dumb and blind luck of accidentally drafting of Tom Brady in the sixth round.
    Once Brady is no longer an elite QB, Belichick will lose his world-wide media proclaimed “Genius” status and go back to being a below average coach and the Pats will go back to having thousands and thousands of empty seats in their stadium like they have for all but 10 years of their existence.

  49. Frank Burns says: Sep 24, 2009 11:34 AM

    Marima says:
    September 24, 2009 10:04 AM
    ESPN doesn’t even mention the Ben Rothlisberger story – not even the AP news item – and you think ESPN should spend time editorializing this bogus lawsuit against Brady and his wife? At least ESPN included the AP story. Right now there’s nothing to report except speculation and a re-hashing of what each side said that was reported on months ago. There’s no story here yet.
    —————————————-
    And you don’t think the lawsuit against Roethlisberger is “bogus” too? Maybe you need to read what this nutty woman has to say in some of her sex fantasy e-mails she’s said to have sent her workmates. You have some nerve, pal, bringing this up out of the blue to cover your own team’s filthy trail.
    Yeah, go ahead and whine about how ESPN treated the Ben ALLEGED assault story, while at the same time defending this cover-up. Nice double standard there chief. You are the reason the Pats are so popular in the football world.

  50. whatev says: Sep 24, 2009 11:36 AM

    It’s ESPNBoston! The patriots ARE boston. It’s the equivalent of hiring someone from Michigan to run the Big Ten network. I don’t see the problem here.

  51. Kidekk says: Sep 24, 2009 11:41 AM

    ESPN and conflict of interest? No way!

  52. KILLER FIN says: Sep 24, 2009 11:50 AM

    who cares??? all the networks & sports people LOVE the patsies anyway, so they can do NO wrong!!!

  53. mattzach2 says: Sep 24, 2009 11:53 AM

    ohhhhhhhhhh nooooooooooo, the world is coming to an end!!!

  54. JRC007 says: Sep 24, 2009 11:54 AM

    Hey genius, how is this a conflict for ESPN? They hired Kraft; Kraft works for ESPN not the other way around. So what, ESPN would not report bad things about the Patriots so that the Kraft Group would still sell advertising for ESPN? ESPN is the client here; they have no incentive to cover for the Patriots. SBD doesn’t bat an eye because your theory makes no sense. Also, I assume you checked with NBC to see whether it uses the Kraft Group for its advertising in Boston. I look forward to your report on whether NBC has any ties to any of the owners.

  55. John says: Sep 24, 2009 11:55 AM

    mvlonergan says: Wow. For a lawyer you’re really naive.
    —-
    You misspelled ‘willfully ignorant’.

  56. sim448 says: Sep 24, 2009 11:56 AM

    “Citizen Strange says:
    September 24, 2009 11:33 AM
    The Patriots begin and end with the deaf, dumb and blind luck of accidentally drafting of Tom Brady in the sixth round.
    Once Brady is no longer an elite QB, Belichick will lose his world-wide media proclaimed “Genius” status and go back to being a below average coach and the Pats will go back to having thousands and thousands of empty seats in their stadium like they have for all but 10 years of their existence.”
    really, moron? dont forget that Belichick won 2 super bowls as the defensive coordinator with the Giants, went to the super bowl in 96 with the Pats as Parcells top asst, again, and had a lot to do with the Jets revival of the late 90′s. Oh, before Art Modell pulled the rug from under him and sold the Browns, they were coming off an 11-5 playoff season, and they were 3-1 when that went down. Get a clue, you have no idea what you are talking about. Belichick is and always will be a top 3 coach in the nfl. Ask Parcells how many titles he has won since Belichick left him.

  57. brian91388 says: Sep 24, 2009 12:02 PM

    It’s too funny to hear Steelers fans getting mad about Tedy Bruschi, saying teams shouldn’t have a representative…umm, have you seen Merril Hodge? The guy has picked the Steelers to win every week for the last, oh I don’t know, 8 years now? Obviously Bruschi isn’t objective about his old team, but how could he be? The guy spent about 15 years there, recovered from a stroke, and was embraced by the fans. I’d rather have a guy be honest than act like he has no bias (yeah, I see you Tom Jackson). I think Patriots fans and non Patriots fans get too worked up about ESPN. There are some analysts on ESPN who straight up do not like New England, and can’t be objective. But there are some who like them, and can’t be objective. Everything evens out…it’s better than them acting like Florio who tries to stir the pot for no reason every once in a while with every team, as if he screaming “hey look at me, I have no biases”.

  58. hayward giablommi says: Sep 24, 2009 12:12 PM

    bobinpuertorico says:
    Florio, This might be news for any other cable network, but not for ESPN – the Everyone Supports the Patriots Network!
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Sure bob, except when ESPN is spreading false allegations like wildfire and employing some hack named Mike Fish to try and dig up disgruntled former employees who might have an axe to grind, even though there’s not an ounce of evidence or truth to be found. So, no bob, you’re wrong AGAIN.

  59. Patsfansince73 says: Sep 24, 2009 12:15 PM

    HAD TO comment on those saying that ESPN has been sucking on the Patriot teet for years. That is FAR from the case. Before they won the first superbowl ESPN always considered the Patriots a doormat, or an also-ran.
    The first year they won the superbowl ESPN called them a “surprise team” and that the win was “a shocker”.
    The following year when they didn’t make the playoffs ESPN considered them a “one and done” team that “had potential to be a contender” the following year, but “not championship material”.
    When they won the second superbowl then they started taking notice of the team and gave them a bit of credit. They still noted the “luck” in some instances but did say that they had a good year.
    It was only after the Patriots went back-to-back on the Superbowl wins and won the 3 out of 4 years that ESPN FINALLY gave the Patriots some credit.
    Since then I think they have overdone the making up for years past. So any of you haters that think they are biased and sucking on the teet here just STFU! We fans had to endure all the crap up to just a few years ago from that sports tabloid. It’s about time we had our due.

  60. tmj says: Sep 24, 2009 12:16 PM

    People are making this out to be a bigger deal than it is. Kraft Sports Group is handling the advertising, not the editorial content. They’re not part owners (like many pro teams and newspapers or cable networks.) Second of all it’s for espnboston.com, not espn.com. They hired a local company for a localized site, big deal.
    In regards to the Brady wedding story, espn would be hypocritical if they covered that story on their main site. Frankly any site that covers stories like the Roethlisberger case is just creating more incentive for money grubbers to get their 15 minutes of fame and try to legally extort money.
    As for Bristol loving the Patriots, I wouldn’t characterize the way espn covered the team during spygate as ‘slurping’ with their comments and stories. Espn led the media charge in one-sided reporting of wild speculation and outright lies on that one, beating a dead horse to get every last drop of ad revenue, ratings and web hits out of that story.
    And as far as espn hiring Tedy Bruschi as ‘proof’ they love the Patriots, here’s a clue: he’s not exactly the first ex-player they’ve hired. I guess that also means they love the Steelers (Hoge, Schlereth), Bears (Ditka), Broncos (Jackson), etc.

  61. Opie says: Sep 24, 2009 12:17 PM

    I would like to nominate myself for the position of ombudsmen for PFT.
    Truthfully, it “may” be a conflict of interest from an opinion on newsworthy information, but business wise, well it makes perfect sense. Who has deeper hooks into the Boston community than the Krafts? That leads to ad sales, which at the end of the day, is what drives revenue for this new ESPN venture.
    Watch how it all plays out with ESPNDallas, etc. Local businsesses with connections driving revenue dollars. Sports Marketing has always worked that way. Large corporations hiring smaller, local companies to run events, etc.
    No worries.

  62. Rob0729 says: Sep 24, 2009 12:19 PM

    Who cares anymore? Anyone looking at ESPN for legitimate sports news is kidding themselves. ESPN have already shown repeatedly that they lack objectivity and will not write unfavorable pieces on their business partners in sports. Why would we expect any different now?

  63. WoPhat says: Sep 24, 2009 12:21 PM

    As Leone510 pointed out, this story was on espn.com the other day.
    I rarely visit the site, but after Florio’s questioning how the world wide leader would treat the situation in light of the Big Ben avoidance, I did go look. In fact, you can still find it through the main site, but the link now points to the story at espnBoston.com.
    http://search.espn.go.com/brady/new-england-patriots/articles/last-7-days/4294803574-9-19

  64. Dave Mac says: Sep 24, 2009 12:25 PM

    Florio, your in idiot. Please do me a favor. Let the other writers do stories about the Patriots. WE ALL KNOW YOU HATE THEM BUDDY

  65. Ken1313 says: Sep 24, 2009 12:49 PM

    ESPN has been anti-Patriots for a long time. The fact that their flagship is in CT means. Go back a couple years and see the bogus reports coming out of ESPN about the Patriots…….anyone who thinks that ESPN is a shill for the Patriots…is either blind, deaf, or just a hater. As for analysts….don’t even get me started on Tom Jackson, Merril Hodge or the worst shill of all time…. Sterling Sharpe. But hey…it’s chic to pile on the Patriots….right? Carry on haters

  66. Abe Froeman says: Sep 24, 2009 12:58 PM

    There’s a lot of cynical people who say, “So what, we’ve seen this a thousand time.”
    That’s the problem with America today. Just because you feel that way doesn’t mean people shouldn’t try to fix things for the better.
    People just accept this crap because they are completely dis-empowered over their own lives.
    People need to realize they need to stand up to the powers that be.
    Just accepting what’s going on as “well that’s the way the world is” is horrible. You might as well be dead.
    Don’t accept that which is wrong.

  67. DaBruinz says: Sep 24, 2009 1:00 PM

    I find it amazing that all you Pats haters think that ESPN has been supporting the Patriots all these years. I have news for you people. ESPN has hated the Patriots for years. Tom Jackson and Mark Schlereth have been slamming BB and the Pats for the better part of a decade. It was ESPN and idiots like Greg Easterbrook who made the Camera incident out to be more than it was. It was ESPN who ran with the story about that liar who used to work for the Pats right before the SB. I just loved the tapes they showed.. Especially of the one in San Diego where they were focused on the Cheerleaders Butts. I bet that really had an impact on the game…
    As for Florio and this article. Seriously dude. You need to stop making like everything is some conspiracy by the Patriots. If you are going to claim conflict of interest, then you need to go and look at all the teams that have things like that. Not just the Patriots.. Or are you that poor of a journalist that you can’t be bothered?

  68. TheDudeNH says: Sep 24, 2009 1:17 PM

    Was there something going on under a rock between September 2007 and March 2008 that every PFT poster besides me took part in?

  69. tj.52 says: Sep 24, 2009 1:22 PM

    Kraft owns a paper company too, does that mean that ESPN can’t use his paper?
    Don’t be ridiculous. Kraft Sports is totally unaffiliated with the Patriots organization, it is a totally seperate entity.
    And to all the “ESPN is in bed with the Pats” idiots: ask a Patriots fan how complimentary ESPN has been towards their team the last few years.
    Some of the “serious” comments on this board are scarily ignorant. Must be registered voters.

  70. ampats says: Sep 24, 2009 1:23 PM

    DCfan, must be a product of the DC school system as a geography major!

  71. freekwhc says: Sep 24, 2009 1:57 PM

    ” 56. sim448 says: September 24, 2009 11:56 AM
    …really, moron? dont forget that Belichick won 2 super bowls as the defensive coordinator with the Giants, went to the super bowl in 96 with the Pats as Parcells top asst, again, and had a lot to do with the Jets revival of the late 90′s. Oh, before Art Modell pulled the rug from under him and sold the Browns, they were coming off an 11-5 playoff season, and they were 3-1 when that went down. Get a clue, you have no idea what you are talking about. Belichick is and always will be a top 3 coach in the nfl. Ask Parcells how many titles he has won since Belichick left him.”
    Sims,
    Belichick won superbowls as a coordinator, isn’t that special. His stint in Cleveland was not good. .450 winning % is hardly a good thing. Then he comes to the Jets, assists Parcells (who ran the defense, in case you were unaware) and rides his coattails to a job with the Pats. After a God awful first season, the Jets do him a favor and knock Bledoe out, Brady comes in, and the rest is history. So he gets lucky with a 6th round draft pick turning into one of the best QBs ever and that makes him a “genius”? Look at his draft record, for every good “diamond-in-the-rough” pick there’s about 3 horrible ones. He is way overrated, a good defensive mind, but not the “genius” people make him out to be. He’ll miss Scott Pioli (the real genius behind the Pats teams) and once Brady declines and retires, Belichick will go back to his status as average head coach.

  72. chapnasty says: Sep 24, 2009 2:10 PM

    I watched Sportscenter this morning while on the treadmill at the gym and it was the worst episode of all time. They had 2 women hosting and I kid you not there were 5 Brittany Spears references including “It’s Brittany Baby” and an extended report on the WNBA. I am obviously not blaming the quality on the women as a lot of the women in sports broadcasting do a fantastic job but the content in which they spoke was absolutely terrible.

  73. tmj says: Sep 24, 2009 2:10 PM

    re: “why is there even an espnBoston.com?” – it’s a brilliant business decision by espn to rollout these local sites (espnChicago was the first one.) Traditionally people got their info from newspapers; that has shifted to the web. So people get their local sports stories from their newspaper’s dotcom site. The only problem is that newspapers are losing a ton of money. Some have folded and others will soon follow. And in the meantime to save money many are scaling back, which means, among other things, fewer sports columns.
    So who is going to fill the void if I only want to read about my local sports team? That’s where these local sites come into play. Espn is playing it smart, trying out a couple as beta sites and seeing what works and what doesn’t. I’m sure there will be one in every pro sports market within a year or so. Boston is a good choice for one of the first sites because their biggest newspaper is having huge financial problems and they’ve announced plans to soon charge consumers to access their online site. In addition they have four pro teams that all have a sizeable fanbase. Further down the road each of their national entities – espn.com and espn tv – can use the info gained from their local sites on stories about a specific team or player. Same hold true with their network of radio stations.
    We all may dislike espn for some of their content (around the horn, for example) but I can’t help but respect them as a well run business.

  74. researchALLwars says: Sep 24, 2009 2:12 PM

    Amen Abe!

  75. username says: Sep 24, 2009 2:17 PM

    The only journalistic intergrity issue it raises is why Florio considers this an issue but doesn’t mention that much greater conflicts are prevelant. For example Fox sports radio host John Tournour (aka J.T. the Brick) is an employee of the Oakland Raiders.

  76. CliveRush says: Sep 24, 2009 2:19 PM

    So does this mean I will not have to pay $50.00 to park a mile from Gillette. After the hike past the expensive lots, which you cannot exit from for hours, then we get to climb Mt. Foxborough, the ramps leading up to the nose bleed seats. The entertainment business has bought the league and we the fan are expected to pay through the nose. My cable bill is rising faster than other utilities to the point where I cannot afford the HD sports channels. Pat Summeral, where have you gone?

  77. daffy87 says: Sep 24, 2009 2:22 PM

    ESPN is biased towards the Patriots? In other breaking news water is wet, the sky is blue, and fire is hot. Who didn’t already know that ESPN loves their Patriots, they cream their jeans on a daily basis over them even though they haven’t won a superbowl since the ’04 season.

  78. Raiders own the Steelers says: Sep 24, 2009 2:41 PM

    The Patriots suck and cheat, this season they will be lucky to win 4 games.

  79. Patsfan1776 says: Sep 24, 2009 2:43 PM

    CliveRush,
    How do you get to park so close to the stadium? Just a wonderful idea Mr. Kraft and your salmon tie. Build a strip mall in the parking lot next to the stadium and don’t worry about parking.
    Florio,
    Kraft and crew have a ton of businesses in the strip mall next to the stadium that need advertising because you need to be insane to shop there when there is a game or concert going on in the stadium.

  80. Franchise says: Sep 24, 2009 2:57 PM

    Do you know what else ESPN and the Pats have in common?
    Both suck.
    ESPN lost its relevence about 5 years ago, and the Pats should be 0-2, and are the most overrated team in the league.

  81. texasPHINSfan says: Sep 24, 2009 3:33 PM

    ESPN is crap. we all know this. i’m not surprised. Hey maybe Kraft can put his son on some committee at ESPN?

  82. Devils Advocate says: Sep 24, 2009 4:23 PM

    Florio you 2 faced BASTARD
    you are taking money from NBC and you slam their biggest competitor. You are in bed with the big boys now and you want us to think you are impartial. give us a friggin break
    Conflict of interest thats hilarious – do you live in America? do you now how things work.
    Look I will be the first one to say ESPN = Entertainment Sports Prostitutution Network. But your hardon for them has more to do with your money than a conflict of intrest. Mr Florio – trying to be Mr. Impartial – now thats a “conflict of interest”

  83. Patsfan1776 says: Sep 24, 2009 4:29 PM

    Kraft walks into Bristol and says “The only reason I’m here visiting is that we (nfl) might buy this dump.”

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