In Dayton, B.J. Bethel writes ESPN is “turning into the worldwide leader in conflict of interest, a term that comes to mind every time the network is beaten by Yahoo! Sports or someone else on a major investigative story.” As the Bernie Fine scandal “has shown, there are right and wrong ways to handle big-time journalism.” Bethel: “Right now, ESPN is failing” (DAYTON DAILY NEWS, 12/5). But the GLOBE & MAIL’s Bruce Dowbiggin writes separation of journalism from police “is a distinction that is often difficult for lay people to fathom.” There is “no comfortable answer to ESPN’s decision, but it’s not out of line with journalistic ethics” (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/5). Meanwhile, ESPN Senior VP & Dir of News Vince Doria yesterday appeared on CNN's "Reliable Sources" to discuss the Fine case (THE DAILY).
HANGING UP THE MIKE: In K.C., Sam Mellinger noted Frank White’s broadcasting contract with the Royals “was not renewed, a move the team and Fox Sports Kansas City announced on Friday, the final crack in a long crumbling relationship between icon and franchise.” White said, “I’m done with the Royals. In all aspects. I’m tired. I’ve worked so hard to build my reputation and prove to them that I was loyal.” White, who played his entire 18-year MLB career with the Royals, “swears he’s done doing anything on the team’s behalf, and wonders if he’ll tell the Royals to take his retired number off the Hall of Fame facade in left field” (K.C. STAR, 12/3).
THROWING A WRENCH IN THE EQUATION: In N.Y., Howard Beck looked at how Celtics G Ray Allen’s filmed appearance on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover” was an “odd casualty of the NBA lockout.” Because Celtics product and garb was featured in the show, Allen "could not be,” and while NBA execs “notified the show’s producers about the restrictions in September,” Allen said he did not learn that his scene -- shot in September -- would be cut from the show until Thursday night, in an e-mail from the producers. He was told it was “because of the lockout.” But the NBA “contacted the show’s producers on Friday to say” any future legal concerns about using players or player images “were now moot,” and ABC “subsequently posted Allen’s scenes” on ABC.com and YouTube (N.Y. TIMES, 12/3).
PROGRAMMING CHANGE: USA TODAY’s Sergio Non reports Bellator Fighting Championships “will shift its live events to Friday starting in 2012 with its sixth season.” Instead of “going head-to-head” with UFC, Bellator will “try its hand against smaller-scale events.” The MMA organization “has yet to figure out starting times for Friday’s broadcasts” on MTV2 (USA TODAY, 12/5).