Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

ESPN's Spiked LeBron James Story Is Scandal-Free, Does Mention "Panties"

Apparently I’m a full news cycle behind on this, but there’s a minor Web kerfuffle over a LeBron James story that ESPN briefly ran, than un-ran, on its Web site yesterday. You can read the backstory at Deadspin and SB Nation, among other places. And you can read the actual story here (thanks to The Awl for the link).

Warning No. 1: I’m pretty sure the link caused an exceptionally annoying pop-under + autoplay video ad to inflict itself on my browser. So be prepared.

Warning No. 2: It’s a pretty dull story, in which contributor Arash Markazi follows James and his entourage around Las Vegas for a little bit.

There’s almost nothing salacious in the piece, unless you count the fact that James visits a couple nightclubs where some employees don’t wear much clothing. It’s about as mild as HBO’s “Entourage” show itself, really.

And it’s not tremendously embarrassing for James either: It portrays him as a bit less worldly and little more star-struck than his public persona suggested up until his “Decision” this month. But that debacle did enough damage to his image, and ESPN’s reputation, that it would be hard to rough them up even more. Especially with something as tame as this.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald