Poynter Review Examines Grantland Decision To Edit Podcast With Mark Cuban
In the latest entry for ESPN as part of the Poynter Review Project, Jason Fry discussed Grantland's decision to edit a podcast with Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban and cut one of Cuban's remarks. Earlier this month, Cuban "made an anti-gay joke at the expense of Grantland’s Bill Simmons while the two were onstage in front of a large audience" at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston. The remark was later "excised from a podcast recorded during the event." Fry writes he is "persuaded that Grantland wasn’t trying to protect an NBA owner by making a sophomoric joke disappear," nor does he "think the edit violated ESPN’s standards." Cuban’s remark -- "for which he apologized -- was unfortunate, and left ESPN facing criticism no matter what it did." Simmons wrote in an e-mail, "I’ve known Mark for five or six years and this is either the third or fourth year we've done something at Sloan together. He loves busting balls and I obviously do as well. We like each other. Those panels are pretty tame so we're always trying to liven them up." Things took an "unfortunate turn, however, when Simmons said he liked the Kiss Cam in arenas." Cuban responded by saying that "Simmons and his 'boyfriend' are frequently featured on the big screen." He then hastily added, "Or his girlfriend, this is gender-independent commentary." Simmons "ignored that, pushing ahead to another question about the Mavericks’ arena." Simmons said that after the interview, he and Grantland writer/editor David Jacoby, who was "producing the B.S. Report podcast, discussed what Cuban had said." Simmons: "There was never a question it was coming out. It took us about 0.02 seconds to decide." Simmons explained, "From our standpoint, had we left that joke in the podcast, we would have been condoning it. ... We certainly weren't trying to hide the joke or protect Cuban -- there were 2,000 people there, including a few of my bosses, and 50 to 75 bloggers and writers." Bleeped profanity aside, Simmons said that that was the "only edit to the Cuban podcast he recalled." But he added that "such edits aren’t unknown with the B.S. Report, and that the decisions about what to cut are his." Questions about why Grantland edited the remark are "reasonable, but ESPN would also have been pilloried if it had left Cuban's remark in" (ESPN.com, 3/20).