Thursday Morning Starting Five: ESPN Story Spiked; They Should Have Never Had Access LeBron

Heated discussion on twitter yesterday focused on an ESPN decision to pull a column reporting on the happenings of a Las Vegas party LeBron hosted. Other writers might disagree and some others might feel this type of trash in sports has entertainment value, but I care about the legacies of athletes so I can’t rock with it. It disgusts me that a large segment of society actually hates LeBron for leaving Cleveland. I don’t care how he did it, he would have been hated anyway because that’s how this society gets down. There is no true loyalty across the American board (you would leave your job for another offering comfort or paying more money) so for fans of sports to scream LeBron should have stayed in Cleveland is beyond hypocrisy.

Why should he pay Cleveland’s bills? He sure as hell doesn’t pay mine in Philly.

Lakers fans will hate the decision to rock in Miami. Boston fans hated the decision to form South Beach Soultron as well. Of course Orlando fans can’t deal…

This has become personal for people. A bunch of selfish, bratty, arrogant, perverted insecurity.

He was going to be hated anyway down the line because there are folks who can’t and will never relate beyond skin color, physical prowess, go for yours ’cause I’m gonna get mine objectives, youthful exuberance and potential…on and off the floor…and of course the dreaded deep pockets. Period.

Don’t front people. You know what it is.

LeBron, let’s talk. When it comes to your on court game? I gotcha. When it comes to how you treat your teammates? I gotcha. When it comes to writing your athletic legacy? I gotcha. The access you give me personally? I gotcha because I would never take advantage. I want the future to read your once in a generation game through my words, so to alienate you in any way is ridiculous given how I and others of my ilk are treated by your camp.

But…

Your decision to let ESPN into your party after what went down this summer was misguided. I gotta call it like it is. Too much happened after that fateful Jim Gray bird in the hand is not two in the bush Thursday and I find it incredulous you would exacerbate what is already a white hot societal hatred by giving an ESPN writer access knowing damn well it might not turn out in your favor.

There needs to be better decisions made by your people and that’s exclusive of The Decision. If your camp had anything to do with this piece being spiked, you are now on the clock of scrutiny.

You must understand where you stand in sports because with that comes great responsibility to the past, present and future.  Every decision you make from here on in will be scrutinized to high heavens. If you play with snakes, don’t get mad when folks piss on the bite. Judge yourself accordingly.

LeBron go to Vegas. Cool, cool relax. Have fun man. Get away from it all…but you have to be smarter. Think about this next time. You are better than that. I don’t know you well enough to call you a friend but covering you the last three years I’ve picked up on your mannerisms. You know I challenge you in the locker room but you’re the only athlete in sports who finishes my questions before I complete them…so we connect.

Connect to this piece.

Everyone is accountable. If LeBron (and athletes in general) deserve scrutiny, so does the writer (and journalists in general)…Arash Markazi in this instance. I thought the article was a piece of trash a 5th grader could have written wearing a press hat on a field trip. It was voyeuristic, superficial, too hard on the side of trying to be hip, inaccurate (how Tao employees do their jobs), pandering to fans who already think LeBron is arrogant and straight up typical…almost demonic.

I don’t get why writers of other races don’t attempt to truly conduct proper research necessary to get beyond the superficial body language of Black athletes.

There are more to them than what meets the eye. How the hell do I know? I won’t answer that.

Athletes are gonna media run away like free agents from a Dan Gilbert incentive based contract and I don’t blame them.

I had an online conversation later with a well respected blogger who stated my ire with the writer of the piece in question and also how athletes are portrayed by the media at large could be perceived as bitterness (I guess because I’m not writing for ESPN?) because she couldn’t fully understand what I was trying to say. I was hot yesterday. I might have come across as irrational to some but the folks in particular that I was speaking to, knew my point.

Anybody who reads this site knows it would be so easy to sell out given my relationships (both business and personal) with athletes, entertainers, PR folk, front office execs, editors and writers.

It will never happen, so I’m resigned to know my path in the game will be decidedly different than most journalists or even bloggers.

The gloves are off. I will tell it like it is from now on. Straight up.

I want more.There is a game you know.

I’d rather write a thousand word piece on a singular sneak screech than read a piece about a party for any athlete or entertainer.

I’m not going to point the finger incessantly and fanatic passionately at LeBron like some insecure bully at recess.

Why?

Does that make sense? He was a 25 year old man having fun in Vegas after a mad hellacious summer where he went from a beloved man child to a historical abomination. Why should I pile on simply because the reader clamors so?

I guess I should write and laugh and giggle with my school girl skirt hiked up with the rest of the pack?

Hell no.

It’s all right here.

I gotta say something regarding writing of athletes and their parties. Parties happen all the time and you can bet the house some are still going on this very second from the previous night somewhere. I know the average sports fan can’t relate but everything you think happens at any celebrity party, most likely goes down.

Why would you want to read an article written about a party that was so uneventful? LeBron as far as I know wasn’t drunk, there was nothing wild happening  in public view and few other discernible stars were present outside of Chris Paul and Lamar Odom, so what is the attraction?

When did sports become the tabloid? ESPN should have never considered running such a piece. How does a network have professional league TV contracts and actually get on the good side of the dark side…taking a cutesy, weekday afternoon soap opera ride with feminine like cat eyes fixated on man thighs?

The emasculation of the Black athlete continues. Fans grip, grope, love, sex, admire, gloat, seek, peek, sneak, creep weak this kind of stuff. They eat it up.

Since I’ve become a reporter among other things in the game, the one image I will never get used to visualizing how excited fans are of seeing athletes I speak to like it’s nothing.

I understand that. Fans pay hard earned money to enjoy a night away from reality.

What I don’t understand is the need to put players in pink panties and parade them on a stage of pornographic hate complete with a gang bang of banana thrusts sans any semblance of decipherable estrogen.

Men in journalism, wake the hell up. What are you going to tell your sons after they read you hypothetically kissing an athlete’s ass whenever you are in his presence?

Athletes are men like you. Man up!

I understand gossip from women sports writers (in the context of women reading gossip sites and mags. Make a distinction). I don’t like it but I understand. That’s what women like and it’s an even better chance to relate to sports if they dish on this and kiss on that.

Take offense to that if you will ladies but you too know right from wrong and gossip in sports whether it comes from men or women is wrong.

To everyone, stop with the moral judgments of athletes when some of you know damn well you would probably burn the pews in church to hell as soon as you open the front door.

Again, if this train of thought continues, access to athletes will no longer be granted. You’re cool with that? You don’t want to hear anything besides “both teams played hard, my teammates come first and at the end of the day we won the game and that is all that matters”?

Really?

I’m not because I have a game to watch and a responsibility to report it for history.

That is all that matters.

Addendum…7/29 at 2:35 pm EST: Statement from Rob King and Arash Markazi (just received a text from King that link is forthcoming):

Rob King, Vice President & Editor-in-Chief, ESPN Digital Media:

“ESPN.com will not be posting the story in any form. We looked into the situation thoroughly and found that Arash did not properly identify himself as a reporter or clearly state his intentions to write a story. As a result, we are not comfortable with the content, even in an edited version, because of the manner in which the story was reported. We’ve been discussing the situation with Arash and he completely understands. To be clear, the decisions to pull the prematurely published story and then not to run it were made completely by ESPN editorial staff without influence from any outside party.”

Arash Markazi, Writer & Columnist, ESPNLosAngeles.com:

“I have been in conversations with ESPN.com’s editors and, upon their complete review, understand their decision not to run the story. It is important to note that I stand by the accuracy of the story in its entirety, but should have been clearer in representing my intent to write about the events I observed.”

LeBron’s camp informed me there will be no statement forthcoming.

There you have it.

To the links…

Teen Charged With Hate Crime For Attacking White Man Over Rap Music (All Hip Hop)

Barack the stealth socialist? (National Review)

Are Tea Partiers Trying to Hijack 9/11? (Mother Jones)

Converse played Big Boi like a sucka (Higher Learning)

Chris Cason on the report: Despite coaching Bulls summer league squad, Pete Myers out as Bulls assistant (Chicago Bulls Examiner)

Stephon Marbury to China for 3 years (Inside Hoops)

Fan in LeBron Heat Jersey Booted From Indians Game (The Big Lead)

Roy Oswalt-to-Phils deal is close; Podsednik to Dodgers (USA TOday)

RIP Lorenzen Wright…

Photographs of lost memories…

46 Responses to “Thursday Morning Starting Five: ESPN Story Spiked; They Should Have Never Had Access LeBron”

  1. Temple3 says:

    Yeah, I heard that.

  2. KevDog says:

    Miz

    I have serious problems, as you know, with the cozy relationship athletes and sports writers have developed over the years. far too many in your profession seem to live vicariously through their relationships with these athletes. I mean, seriously, how are we to take anything Scoop Jackson writes about MJ seriously when he spends an entire article writing about his free pass to Jordan’s basketball camp complete with hang-out session?

    Markazi is a douche in the Rick Reilly mode. His articles are always moralistic bullshit playing to the least common denominator in douchebag America. A few years back, he wrote an article excoriating Kobe for missing a meeting with a college basketball player who idolized Kobe. Man, he called Kobe everything BUT the Devil. The fact that Kobe missed the meeting because he had to rush to the hospital to be with his wife who was siffering from complications of an ectopic pregnancy never did make douchebag apologize in print.

    LeBron seems to have some deeply seated insecurities which REQUIRE him to the the center of attention. Like you said, you’re rich, young, famous. You want to party in Vegas? Fine, but damn man, ain’t no good can come from having BSPN tag along. Dude is 25 he should know better. Someone in his camp should have known better.

    And the hits to the joke that never even was BSPN’s journalistic integrity just keep on coming.

  3. sankofa says:

    Right on with an African fist!

    On another note, perhaps the next time you interview LeBron or some other out of control young cats, you should introduce him and some others to $40 million slave. It’s not your job, but some of these cats need to be pointed in the right direction by an African man with integrity who won’t be an ass kissing yes man.

  4. KevDog says:

    BTW

    i don’t know any Laker fans who are upset with Miami building their team. if they get out of the East, I look forward to kicking their asses.

  5. GrandNubian says:

    Well said, bruh-man. :-)

  6. Origin says:

    Great write up Mizzo.

    Good points Kev.

    I think Lebron’s problem is he can’t say no………same with Tiger and the rest of these black athletes.

    They just can’t say no……..Lebron inviting ESPNCrap to a party is liek giving a criminal a loaded gun and telling them to rob you in the future.

    Because we all know that ESPN in some way shape or for……..or at some point would flip this mess around and us it against him. Its as dumb as Tiger taking mandingo pictures lifting weights years before the bigots would plaster his pictures on a mag after cutting a ton of white girls.

    This stuff these duds do is insane. I would never play with a bunch of pit bulls or swim in shark infested waters or eat ate a table with lions. But these atletes do this crap everyday when they deal with the mainstream media. Its as stupid as stupid gets.

  7. Big Man says:

    Read the story. Seems fair enough to me. Dude didn’t take shots, didn’t make judgements, just told the story abotu what happened.
    Point blank, Lebron hasn’t won anything in the NBA, yet. And his party sounds fairly hedonistic. I didn’t see where the story went out of its way to portray him a in a negative light, to be honest.
    It just told the story of one night at his party.

  8. Big Man says:

    I don’t get the ire, to be honest.
    Dude rolled with Lebron, in a club full of people, at a party dedicated to celebrating Lebron.
    There was lots of liquor, lots of women and lots of hanging out. I mean, do we think this didn’t happen, or are we saying it shouldn’t be written about?
    We can’t tell athletes to use their personal lives as a vehicle for social change, then also say that their personal lives should be off limits to the media. If a dude likes to hit the club and wild out, then why not present fans with the story of a night out with Lebron.
    If he prefers to meet with gang leaders in his LA home, then lets hear the story of Jim Brown and his sit down with gangs.
    I’ve seen both stories told. No doubt I have issues with ESPN, but dude’s story was about hanging out with Lebron in Vegas. I mean, it’s like writing about the scene at the All-Star game or any other party.
    The people who hate on Lebron for what was written were already going to hate on him. Lebron has was partying for his birthday. For some folks it will seem over the top, for other folks it will seem perfectly normal for his age and money.
    I don’t think the story portrayed it as evil or bad. I think it showed that Lebron is just a young man living a different kind of life than most 25-year old black men, even the ones in the NBA. His life is different, his experiences are different, and this story was just one example.

  9. Origin says:

    I don’t know now Kev a lot and I mean a lot of Celtics and Lakers fans were complaining on forums. But I believe many of those fools were kids, teenagers and delusional nuts.

    But over the past 10 years lurking on Mainstream sports forums I think people like that make up 90% of the people that post on those boards.

    Now if I count the eagles forum its probably 99.9%…….except Harvey and myself of course…..LOL!!!

  10. sankofa says:

    LOL! What sure thing is evident KevDog you are loyal till the end only intend to go out bussin’ shots!

  11. Mizzo says:

    Thanks fellas.

    LOL Kev.

    Big Man sorry if the point I was attempting to make came across as vague but I’m sure you can read between the lines and understand what I was trying to say about men and sports journalism.

  12. This editor will always love you.

  13. Mizzo says:

    I love you too C.

    I added an addendum. It’s a statement from Rob King and Arash Markazi regarding why the piece was pulled.

  14. KevDog says:

    Orgin- I only visit Lakersground.net and have a vast network of laker fans online and in real life. I don’t see any of us being worried about the Heat, at least not this coming season. If anything. Most of us feel the changes we’ve made have made us the best defensive team in the league with more than enough firepower to win it all.

    Sankofa-Seriously, I’m not reallu worried about the Heat or any other team next season. As far as I can see, only serious injury at the wrong time can defeat us.

    Miz-F Markazi. And you can tell him I said so.

  15. Big Man says:

    Ok, that addendum clears some things up.
    Old boy was just hanging out, like he was chilling, then took the info and wrote a story. That’s actually a stupid move on his part because now he’s branded for sure.
    I don’t think athletes should have to be “on” every second, but I initially though Lebron allowed this cat to follow him for a “day in the life” type of story. The new information makes a big difference since you can’t assume as ar eporter that folks are always talking to you expecting to be quoted.
    I agree more with Mizzo’s earlier point now that Arash was looking to try to shine off of Lebron and the negativity surrounding him right now. Thanks for the info.

  16. Mizzo says:

    I also added that LeBron’s camp informed me there will be no statement forthcoming.

  17. Temple3 says:

    On a brighter note, the BBC is reporting that 6 of South Africa’s 13 “traditional” chieftaincies will no longer be recognized by the government because an intensive study revealed these “chiefs” were actually CREATED by the AFRIKANER government to DIVIDE the people.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-10809206

    An arch deceiver is not a part time deceiver. He’s a full-time deceiver and he’s always ON — wherever he goes…Vegas, Johannesburg, Philadelphia, Memphis. He’s always on.

  18. TC says:

    I’m with ya on this article. If LeBron wants to get his, I can wish that he’d stayed in Cleveland and tried to create a legendary team there but that’s as far as it goes. I can’t dislike the man for wanting to combine with some friends and be a mini All-Star team. That’s his right. If I was a Miami fan, I’d be ecstatic. I’ve hated ESPN for years. I’ve barely watched SportsEGOcenter since about ’98 coz there was so much extraneous nonsense on there.

  19. MODI says:

    What’s up all… Whether the story was pulled because Arash didn’t disclose or outside pressure, why did ESPN have him assigned to write this story in the first place? And yeah, while fairly tame, this story even gets assigned prior to “LeDecision”. This is all part of ESPN milking a changing narrative, and that context changes the whole way the story might be perceived vs a month ago.

    This is just the beginning of another wrestling storyline shift akin to what they did to Kobe after Colorado. We are only getting started. Same ol ESPN…

    As for next year, the Heat are one big body away from being the Lakers equal. I think that they will get that body before the middle of next year. Write it down KevDog!

  20. MODI says:

    Temple, deep story

    It says that those monarchies will be dissolved when they die?

    Why even wait? What is that all about?

  21. KevDog says:

    MODI my long lost brotha. Good to hear from you, however misguided you may be. If Ball were only played on one side of the court, you’d be right. 83-79, not 124-118.

  22. MODI says:

    KevDog, I hope that all is well with you and your family… Let’s pick up this conversation sometime in June next year!

  23. HarveyDent says:

    Per usual, ESPN creating the news it reports. I don’t know what’s worse, the fact this shady network finds some way to make itself the story or that these high profile athletes have anything to do with it outside of requirements of their leagues or that I still sit down and watch it. Probably me because I don’t understand why I subject myself to the snark when I know exactly where commentary on every story is going to go especially when watching PTI and seeing the unconcealed glee with which most of the hosts rip apart athletes of color or sports they admittedly don’t understand. I need to see a head doctor.

    @Origin, you’re in that Philly Eagles madness by yourself this season because I haven’t been to that website since April 4, 2010 and probably won’t until the 2011 season or a change at QB or GM. We all know why so I won’t rehash it again but I’m taking a sabbatical this season because if the team I root for can’t bother to go into battle with a full clip then I can’t be bothered to waste my time and money on it.

  24. HarveyDent says:

    Hey, Miz, the Phils traded Cliff Lee for what again? Oswalt will help but Jason Heyward and los Bravos are still going to win the NL East just like old times. The only thing they need is Rocker charging out of the bullpen again…SIKE!!

  25. KevDog says:

    MODI

    Things are well but in flux. We’ve moved to Bloomington Indiana and we’re still in that process.

    But we will undoubtedly continue this conversation later. I’m very excited about the upcoming season.

  26. Temple3 says:

    For the record, I still agree with KevDog about the Lakers next season. As it stands, I see a bunch of relatively short and relatively light-in-the-ass Heat guys trying to rebound and defend Gasol and Bynum and Odom while standing on their tippy-tippy-tippy toes. That won’t work. They may need more than one additional big body to rock and roll…but we will surely see. LeBron and Bosh should be able to combine for 25-30 rebounds a game if need be. I like Udonis, but he a “shorty” — relatively speaking…and Pittman could be riding pine if his quickness and agility don’t improve. Should be a blast. — Sincerely, Dwight Howard

    LOL.

  27. Origin says:

    Temple I don’t think height and size will be a problem with the heat. Smooth slick willy Pat Riley has assembled this team like the MJ Bulls. They are weak in the PG and Center spots. But the heat like the 90s bulls teams have a wave of big men at center.

    They have Magloire (sp?), Big Z, Joel Anthony and Pittman. Thats a lot of meat on that front line to help Lebron and Bosh out. And the thing is every last one of those big men are pretty physical. Joel is a pretty good shot blocker and good at fronting dudes in the post. Pittman is a nice big body that can eat up space. Like a larger version of big baby. And Big Z is just big as heck and gets in the way.

    Look at the celtics how their depth at the PF and Center spot was wearing the lakers down and they might have won if Perkins didn’t blow out his knee. Now the Heat has similair depth at the PF and center spots. Plus you have to deal with Lebron and wade. Man thats a nightmare……….and with James Jones, Mike Miller and eddie house as 3 pt shooter.

    Pat Riley ain’t no joke.

  28. Origin says:

    Harvey I must like punishment………cause I can’t lie I have been on that hateful Eagles site the last week.

    Do you know those nuts are actually saying that Kolb is a better QB because he hunts animals………..LOL!!!

    Lord I know they don’t want a brotha being the starting QB……but really Kolb is a better QB then Mcnabb because he shot and skinned deer.

    Whatever helps these fools deal with their upcoming 6-10 season. Maybe as Kolb is getting nailed and throwing Ints they can look at his purdy golden boy face frown as the Eagles are getting the breaks beat off their tails…..LOL!!!

  29. Origin says:

    Also Temple great info in South Africa.

  30. Miranda says:

    Kolb will be a great QB because he hunts??

    *DEAD*

  31. HarveyDent says:

    @O

    Seriously? Kolb’s a better QB than #5 because he’s a hunter? That makes him what? Brett Favre, Jr.? Hope he has that shotgun when Haynesworth, Bulluck, and Umenyora bust through the line.

    Let me stop because I said I wasn’t going to get into this…woosa woosa

  32. Origin says:

    Yeap Harvey and Miranda……those fools actually believe that.

    Actually it wouldn’t matter if Kolb wore pink superman boxers under his uniform……..those bastards would still be slurping Kolb saying look thats a real QB he wears pink boxers.

    What can I say about those fools I mean really.

    Also Harvey man that dang Shannahan (sp?) and Allen are putting together a dominate front 7 on defense. Mcnabb will finally have a defense that can stop the run. Washington has some serious meat on that DL and at outside LB. They might end up being the most physical front 7 in the NFC East.

    With that eagles OL being banged up……….poor Kolb might get his head bust open to the white meat (as the late Bernie Mac would say) when he plays that washington team this season.

  33. Mizzo says:

    Poet my bad on the late comment moderation. We all definitely have to link up ASAP.

    Two Face…

    woooooosaaaa

    I had to leave my allegiance to the Philadelphia Eagles at the door. I’m not going through what I went through when Randall was jettisoned and to a lesser degree Iverson and Barkley as well. Gonna be great going into the season without a team for the first time since I’ve become a writer.

    I will never forget the chill demeanor I had to sustain when those two review calls weren’t overturned in the first Dallas game last season. Sorry to say, I knew what the future held at that point.

  34. HarveyDent says:

    Last season I was at my favorite spot in NYC preparing to watch the Eagles vs. the Raiders and my waitress was getting ready to knock off but took the time to tell me she hoped the Eagles beat the Raiders’ ass because she hated their fans. I told her the only fans I hate more than Raiders fans are yokel Eagles fans. I know exactly what you’re saying is true, O, so I’m going to get medieval and say a pox on that house for this season. I’ll be back in ’11 but it’ll be a while before my fandom reaches the same level again.

  35. Mizzo says:

    Des got your text. Hit you tomorrow.

  36. [...] The Starting Five Bangin’ and Scorin’ Every Trip Down the Floor « Thursday Morning Starting Five: ESPN Story Spiked; They Should Have Never Had Access LeBron [...]

  37. Burundi says:

    Gotta echo the sentiments of those who are done with the Eagles. This former fan’s done, as well. Having just left DC (which I grew to strongly dislike) and not particularly a fan of Redskins management, I’ll nonetheless follow Donnie Mac and root for his continued success. Hopefully, Shanahan’s past successes catalyze the team they’ve assembled for the better.

    As an aside, many black fans in DC converted to rooting for Dallas because of the way Doug Williams was done by the Redskins.

  38. [...] to take the person who wrote the story, and the culture that allows stories like that to thrive, to task: Everyone is accountable. If LeBron (and athletes in general) deserve scrutiny, so does the writer [...]

  39. AXG says:

    Why would a writer with this type of access put the happenings of a party on the record…uncalled for.

  40. [...] Latinos are catching mad wreck currently and I’d rather listen to the facts instead of again, running with the [...]

  41. [...] is why I go hard on journalism. Yes, I know outlets give the people what they want, but I simply want to know why [...]

  42. [...] mentioning another big boy blog for linking to me a while back as well: shout out to Mizzo of The Starting Five! Your kindness will not be forgotten kind sir. Spread some Southern [...]

  43. [...] Dwyane Wade was nursing an injury so early on the Heat appeared out of sync. They caught all kinds of wreck. Every game was a playoff game. There was hatred waiting in Cleveland that became The Hate That LeBron James Love Made…scrutiny beckoning for every missed shot. 1-15, 1-16, 1-17, 1-18…1-19. Skip Bayless became the main anti-LeBron voice leading the charge. Perk and Lil Nate are traded? WHAT?!?! Melo gets his wish. Gotham City lights up. Spike smiles. Amar’e plays out of his mind. Objectivity was thrown out the window; pundits near and far opening campaigned against everything Miami Heat. [...]

  44. [...] series is coming down to experience. Dwyane Wade is a NBA champion playoff MVP. We all know about LeBron’s walk and Bosh was doing nothing more but marinating up in Toronto. Miami is ready to take all the chips [...]

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