“Those Guys Have All The Fun : Inside The World Of ESPN”, James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales’ widely leaked oral history of the 24/7 sports network hits bookstores today, and what better time could there be for the Bristol Press’ Steve Collins to consider whether or not Bristol, CT — perhaps a city lacking the sort of cultural stimuli to satisfy the likes of Steve Phillips and Sean Salisbury —  deserves such a bad rap? ““ESPN has chosen Bristol for its home even if some of its cast of characters haven’t,” declares Bristol Mayor Art Ward, a man too humble to point out his lovely town has both a Quizno’s and a Domino’s.

ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said Monday the “Bristol bashing was done by former ESPNers, many with egos larger than our small city.”

Former ESPN Chairman Steve Bornstein, for example, told authors James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales that Bristol is “one hundred miles from real civilization.”

He said that the result was “the kind of testosterone, jock mentality, frat house approach that’s pretty much a recipe for stupid decisions being made.”

Bornstein pinned the blame for many of the questionable activities among ESPN hotshots on Bristol itself.

“I think part of the sexual harassment stuff was location,” Bornstein said.

Ward said that blaming the company’s location for any employee issues “totally baffles me.” “That’s at best shirking the responsibility for stepping up and addressing the atrocities” that Bornstein should have been clamping down on, Ward said.|

“People locally can be assured that ESPN is appreciative of Bristol,” Soltys said.