SBD/November 4, 2013/Media

ESPN Praised For Its Handling Of Martin Bullying Story On NFL Pregame Show

ESPN was praised for its handling of the Martin bullying story
ESPN went "all-in" on the reported bullying of Dolphins OT Jonathan Martin by other teammates, including G Richie Incognito, on "Sunday NFL Countdown" yesterday, providing viewers with "far and away the most comprehensive coverage of a cultural issue that travels beyond Miami and the NFL as well," according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com. Incognito yesterday morning "fired a series of tweets at the network, claiming Adam Schefter had 'slandered' his name regarding the ongoing story." ESPN's Chris Mortensen yesterday first acknowledged Incognito's Twitter feed, then "reported via sources that Martin had not filed a formal complaint with the NFLPA because he fears 'retribution from Incognito.'" ESPN continued its coverage of the story with a panel featuring Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Ray Lewis, and the discussion was "passionate and thankfully absent mostly of ex-jock speak." ESPN "spent more than seven minutes on the topic," but CBS' "The NFL Today" "neatly disposed of it in less than 180 seconds." NFL Network's "NFL GameDay Morning" gave the issue of locker room dynamics "legit run, starting with this report from NFL Network insider Ian Rapaport and host Rich Eisen," and that was followed by a panel discussion. Meanwhile, "Fox NFL Sunday" gave a "couple of minutes to Rob Riggle's half-season awards and Michael Douglas hawking his new film at the top," but the Martin situation "only got a cursory report from insider Jay Glazer" (SI.com, 11/3). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes all the pregame shows "did solid, responsible jobs" covering the story, but ESPN "had the best roundtable discussion." Ditka said, "I can't comprehend how this could happen. When this would happen in my time, you take the bully and you kick his butt." Lewis added, "Guys don't leave the team for hazing. ... If I'm the head coach, that guy (Incognito) has to be removed from my team" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/4).

MARTIN NEEDS TO TOUGHEN UP: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes CBSSN's Bart Scott apparently thinks Martin "isn’t tough enough to deal with what was being dished out in the Dolphins locker room." Scott yesterday on "The Other Pregame Show" said, "Rule number four in our playbook is have skin like an armadillo. You’ve got to be able to give it and you've got to be able to take it" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/4).
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