Last week, Sean Beckwith recently wrote about the NFL potentially buying a stake in ESPN, and the possibility of the network becoming the PR arm of the most popular league in America. Dave Zirin of The Nation also raised concern about the lack of critical coverage of the NFL and its implications for one of America’s biggest corporations. Zirin pointed out that fewer reporters covering the NFL critically could result in low-quality journalism for the masses. He also emphasized that the NFL’s decision-making power at ESPN could lead to a decline in investigative coverage.
Additionally, it’s been noted that newsrooms across the board have been decimated, leading reporters to cover multiple beats, some of which they aren’t knowledgeable in. With the merging of ESPN and the NFL, it’s uncertain whether it would result in fewer or more reporters. However, it’s undeniable that the number of journalists employed in sports media is diminishing by the day.
Moreover, online harassment of journalists is on the rise, with nearly half of working journalists in the US saying they have been harassed online. Women and people of color in journalism face a higher percentage of online harassment. This makes it difficult for journalists to report on difficult stories, such as allegations against players, coaches, and owners, as they become targets for retaliation from the league and online trolls.
The article also highlights the importance of investigative journalism in holding large corporations, such as the NFL, accountable. The NFL, similar to other major companies, should not be left outside the purview of investigative journalism, given its potential to have a significant impact on many people. The merger of ESPN and the NFL could potentially limit the coverage of the league’s flaws, causing harm to both journalists and fans who rely on them for critical information.