Nature and sports don’t always mix. Yeah, it’s cool to watch football in a blizzard. The NHL’s Winter Classic was awesome for a few years before the novelty wore off. And part of the reason the World Series is still a magical event is because of that chilly October air.
But this past weekend, we saw two events ruined because of uncontrollable elements. The British Open was postponed a day because of ridiculous winds at St. Andrews and the World Surf League’s J-Bay Open in South Africa was postponed because famed surfer Mick Fanning was attacked by a shark during the event’s live broadcast.
Fanning survived the attack – his board and leg were the only things with teeth marks on them – but the video of the encounter is more frightening than anything you recently saw on Shark Week. The announcers immediately pick up on it and then horns – scary, nuclear attack-style horns! – begin to sound.
Guys like Fanning aren’t deterred by incidents like this (hell, he posted an Instagram just the other day of him waking up next to African lions), but getting eaten during competition is no way to close a career.
Want a job at ESPN? You can be in the running if you enjoy sniffing jocks, adore canned quotes (“we played within ourselves tonight”), ALWAYS steer clear of controversy and have little-to-no opinion on anything that doesn’t involve a ball and a stick.
In the 2015 calendar year, ESPN will have said goodbye to Bill Simmons, Keith Olbermann and Colin Cowherd. All of them have their detractors, but that comes with the territory when you discuss off-the-script topics. Earlier this month, Cowherd was talking about how horrible a guest Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh was 10 minutes after Harbaugh appeared on the show. Cowherd recognized how big of a disaster his interview with the coach was and openly talked about it on air. ESPN doesn’t like that. It doesn’t like transparency.
And controversy? There were surely no Bob Costas-like takes allowed on ESPN airwaves last when it came to Caitlyn Jenner accepting the Courage Award at the ESPY’s. Even if you think Costas is wrong (he believed Jenner was given the award as part of a “crass exploitation play” by ESPN), he’s at least entitled to his opinion on the matter.