Ask if Robert Lipsyte is going to be particularly critical as ESPN’s new ombudsman, and he mentions a little piece he penned for Slate magazine back in June 2011. The piece dismantles the 763-page oral history of ESPN, “Those Guys Have All the Fun.”
In that review, Lipsyte — who once worked on ESPN’s SportsCentury and Classic Sports Reporters shows, among many prestigious sports journalism jobs — criticized the authors for not being tough enough on the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
Why didn’t they look at how ESPN’s cheerleading affected America’s perception of celebrity athlete, or its problems covering athletes it also pays? (“The phrase ‘conflict of interest’ seems flabby,” he wrote then.)
- Robert Lipstye
Turns out, when top ESPN executive John A. Walsh called to ask if he would be interested in the job, Lipsyte eventually sent him that column — which also indirectly called Walsh “controlling,” “Machiavellian” and “a genius.”
It was an example of the type of work he’d be doing as the outlet’s fifth ombudsman; an independent columnist who reviews ESPN’s journalism on ESPN’s website.… Read more