Shortly after introducing myself to ESPN’s audience in my first column Thursday, I checked the ombudsman’s mailbag. It was jammed with dozens of messages of outraged complaint against ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd, who had called on his listeners that afternoon to shut down an Internet site by flooding it with visitors beyond the capacity of its bandwidth.
The “random site” he chose to attack was thebiglead.com, a sports blog that is sometimes unmercifully critical of ESPN. “We shut it down in 90 seconds,” Cowherd boasted on air. “We don’t even know thebiglead.” After a bit more gloating, he said “We apologize — but just don’t screw with us.” Then he asked his listeners to “knock it out again, just for fun.” The attack launched over the airwaves by Cowherd kept thebiglead.com shut down for more than 48 hours.
Some of the politer terms my correspondents used to describe Cowherd’s behavior were immature, irresponsible, arrogant, malicious, destructive and dumb. I agree.
Schrieber goes on to suggest that Cowherd’s bossess consult Roger Goodell to find an appropriate penalty. And while massive humilation might seem like punishment enough, there really oughta be a way for the WWL leader to make greater hay from this — perhaps a “This Is SportsCenter” clip with Cowherd and F-Rod moaning about their web presence as they each try to negotiate the blogger.com template. There is the small matter of the former not being so instantly recognized, but chances are, he’s become awfully well known to a wider audience over the past several days.
Cowherd’s decision to use the resources of a major radio network to essentially censor the views of a detractor (whose site, like it or not, is most probably a labor of love) was beyond cowardly. But what’s up with his drooling listeners, all too willing to run off a cliff at his behest?
Is anyone surprised that despite this incident dominating the sports blogs over the past 4 days, with the exception of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Rand, the mainstream media have looked the other way?