Bruce Feldman leaves ESPN

Submitted by Needs on September 1st, 2011 at 3:33 PM

In the wake of his suspension/non-suspension last month, Bruce Feldman moves to CBS, blasting ESPN on the way out...

"On top of that, six months before the book went to print, I spoke to ESPN's attorneys and talked to them about some concerns I had raised to news editors in Bristol while it was going on, of things that I knew were inaccurate. Those conversations happened. There was no surprise about any of this. But when the book finally came out, [ESPN executive vice president of production] Norby Williamson or [ESPN senior vice president and director of news] Vince Doria or whomever gets all bent out of shape and they need someone to rant at.

"I was literally the first hire on what became when I was in Bristol in my mid-20s. This is the way they treat you. To watch them sit there and try to spin their way out of this and only make it worse. They made such a mess, and then they never cleaned it up.

"I'll tell you this: A few weeks before I was on that conference call, my contract was coming up and Belsky had reached out to me and said, 'Look, we want to give you another three-year contract and it will be with a raise. I said, 'OK.' But when I brought that up on the conference call, Vince Doria started bringing up credibility questions. That was the word he used with me -- credibility. I'm thinking, 'Wait a minute, you are bringing up my credibility and my future with the company and you guys still put Craig James on the air?'"

The tags that automatically came up when I entered Bruce Feldman are a joy.



September 1st, 2011 at 5:02 PM ^

Craig James exemplifies the biggest problem with sports media today more than any other: It's not about how good you are, it's about who you know.

He has friends on the inside and they're going to take care of him. Doesn't matter how many people think he's a stupid hick or a sychophant or a weasel. He's their buddy. He stays.

1 Man Wolf Pack

September 1st, 2011 at 4:09 PM ^

They were talking about the Miami scandal and comparing it to the SMU situation.  Craig James tried to downplay the SMU situation and essentially said that he had no idea anything shady was going on.  He also said that he considered the booster at the heart of the scandal to be a close friend, but he didn't suspect him of doing anything improper.

I call serious B.S. on that....


September 1st, 2011 at 4:26 PM ^

James was one of the top recruits in the country and one of the top players on his team, but he expects everyone to believe that he was the only person who didn't take any money during the scandal?  

I still don't believe that ESPN has kept him.  He has no talent, no charisma, and you can't trust anything he says.  That is pretty much "three strikes" anywhere else in the "business."


September 1st, 2011 at 4:40 PM ^

And he's underwriting a partisan political campaign (Texans for a Better America) which, regardless of your politics, has always been considered out of bounds for on air talent at ESPN (see Paul Azinger's reprimand in the past week, and I think Holtz got in trouble for it in the past).


September 1st, 2011 at 3:51 PM ^

Dear Bruce:

Sorry to see you go.  I'm sure CBS is a much better fit for a man of your talents and you'll end up being much happier there.

Oh, what's Belsky's email address again?  I thought I might just send him my resume for shits and grins.

Your Pal,



September 1st, 2011 at 3:56 PM ^

SI's really been letting ESPN's college football coverage and James in particular have it the last week, with this interview with Feldman and the roundtable about football coverage where all of their writers just let loose about James...

2. Which college football announcer/s are the least appealing for you and why?

Mandel: Craig James and Jesse Palmer. James' glaring conflict of interest (more on that later) aside, it's still two ex-jocks glad-handing each other and spewing clichés for three-and-a-half hours. I feel bad for Rece Davis, a true pro, who spends Thursday nights wedged between those two and Saturdays moderating the Mark May-Lou Holtz circus act.

Staples: Craig James, because he adds very little to the broadcast, and ESPN has sacrificed much of its journalistic integrity to protect him in the wake of his campaign to get Mike Leach fired at Texas Tech. If ESPN replaced James with any random ex-jock, viewers wouldn't complain a bit. Yet for some reason the network has bent over backward to protect James. It makes no sense.

Deitsch: That Craig James gets such prominent assignments remains a mystery on the D.B. Cooper scale. He is unpopular by any fan metric you choose, including performance and likeability. The fact that former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is suing James merely adds noise here. ESPN management says it values James for his relationships with coaches but what that ultimately leads to for viewers is little more than backslapping commentary. The network deserves to get crushed for keeping him on the air.



September 1st, 2011 at 3:58 PM ^

I don't even know who Bruce Feldman is. ESPN sucks, CBSSports sucks, all TV sports anchors suck (with the exception of an elite FEW). 

When I want to hear some random dudes opinion, I'm more than likely to read it on the internet - where he/she has a chance to provide actual data to back up what he/she is saying.  TV sports journalism survives on providing the McDonald's or WalMart of sports analysis - cheap, easy to access snippets that are consumed and replicated en masse.

Maybe I'm in the minority here since i'm in my mid-20's; but what these TV sports stations and anchors need to realize is that literally 40-50% of the people on this board could do their job just as good (if not better) than they do.


September 1st, 2011 at 4:26 PM ^

Well, that's really a different argument than "I've never heard of him and most anyone can do his job."

And while it's not surprising that ESPN has subordinated their reporting to the interests of the "entertainment" side, Feldman does provide particular insight into the way the interests of ESPN shape the broader landscape of college football.

Particularly when they protect someone who killed 5 hookers while he was at SMU.


September 1st, 2011 at 4:52 PM ^

Have you ever tried broadcasting anything live, ever?  Seriously, go ahead and try watching any game on mute and giving good play by play/color commentary.  Since we're going to throw out random unsubstantiated statistics, I bet 99% of people's brains turn to mush.

Look at the Boom Goes the Dynamite guy.  That's how most people would be able to handle live broadcasts.


September 1st, 2011 at 5:20 PM ^

You have a point in that most analysts are useless. I've said it before on other forums, pre-game shows for football really irk me now because they don't actually say anything insightful, provide analysis that you and me could derive, and make spineless predictions while laughing at each other for making bad jokes. Pre-game NFL shows are unwatchable. 

However, don't lump Feldman in with the rest of the media scumbags. Feldman is a journalist with proven integrity, one who does things the right way. He's a good reporter, and a great author. The way he was done by ESPN was absolutely unprofessional and disgraceful. 




September 1st, 2011 at 5:01 PM ^

Good for Bruce. Hopefully this will lead to ESPN being forced to realize they need to clean up their act or they will lose what little credibility they have left. They can start with Craig James.


September 1st, 2011 at 5:05 PM ^

Good to hear some truth about ESPN.  Craig James either has pictures of every senior-level executive at ESPN or they are really that arrogant/beholden to CFB that they would fire a guy over his work with Leach.  ESPN will survive the media storm, but their limited credibility is already taking another hit.


September 1st, 2011 at 5:15 PM ^

I remember after Bruce was freed, people actually brought into the "He was never suspended" notion from the ESPN PR. One guy even tweeted "This is what is wrong with twitter, lies were assumed to be true", or something like that. 

Guess this confirms once and for all what a scumbag institution ESPN is. Total lack of class and lack of journalistic integrity. Good for Bruce for moving on to somewhere that actually covers journalism instead of making up stories, lies, and hyping up teams / individuals ("Favre Watch").