For the last several days, it’s been hard to tell the difference between ESPN and CNN. The sports network has turned into a political talk show focused on one individual: President Donald Trump.
The president’s conflict with the NFL over protests during the national anthem has dominated ESPN’s shows making them sound a whole lot like the CNN.
ESPN host Stephen A. Smith claimed during one segment that Trump’s criticism of the NFL was part of a nefarious “grand scheme” from the president.
“I personally believe Donald Trump has a grand scheme, I think his aspiration is to own a network when this is all said and done and make sure he has his strong-arm of influence,” Smith said. “That is a different story for a different day.” Smith also claimed during another segment that the conflict between Trump and the NFL isn’t about politics: it’s just about Trump.
“This is not about politics at all. This is about one man, one individual who continuously displays just a lack of decorum and respect and is as divisive as they come,” Smith said.
Louis Riddick, ESPN commentator and former NFL safety, was asked if Sunday’s protests were more against Trump than the original intention of the protests and he replied, “Sure.”
“Sure, because the players felt attacked and disrespected. The players are like; you are going there name calling because we are trying to protest against something we have a right and freedom to protest against peacefully, and you make it personal and use derogatory names and paint us all with a derogatory brush?” Riddick said.
“[Trump] is what they were protesting yesterday in and of itself, and spurred on the spike [in protests]. But I think the players in general, African-Americans in general, minorities in general, still have a bigger picture in mind. There is something bigger they are after. They are after equality and fair treatment, but we can’t get there because all we keep talking about is, ‘should you had stand or shouldn’t you stand,’” Riddick continued.
Host Max Kellerman also claimed that Trump’s battle with the NFL “is not about right or left, it is about right and wrong. It is about decency.” Kellerman declared on Monday that “the only way this is political is in the sense it is conservative and progressive in a literal definition. Conservative, keeping the tradition and status quo. Progressive meaning take steps to change things. I agree with the progressive point of view in this case.”
When ESPN aired, it’s recent “Outside the Lines” show, the panel discussed whether Trump’s criticisms of NFL players are part of an effort by the president to energize his base — another type of segment you would typically find on CNN. Ryan Clarke, one of the panelists on the show, believes that Trump is playing America and distracting the public from other issues by putting himself on the side of the “flag.” Clarke referred to Trump’s remarks about the national anthem as “white privilege comments” and said that Trump ran “a campaign based off of separation, based on division.”
ESPN’s ratings have fallen in recent months, which some critics have said is a result of the network’s growing liberal bias. However, Monday night football games are up this year.
What do you think about ESPN’s move toward a CNN style political news show?
Credit: The Daily Caller