Tuesday, May 10, 2011

ESPN's 'highlights' disrespect MLS

Paul Kennedy of Soccer America reports on the poor decisions that ESPN made in terms of selection of highlights of MLS action.

MLS should question the priorities of its television partner, ESPN, in light of Saturday night's halftime segment, "Greatest highlights of the month," at intermission of ESPN2's broadcast of the Los Angeles-New York game.

What should have highlighted the best of the previous month led with clip after clip of negativity and violence.

The decision to air the segment is all the more shocking, considering it was broadcast only hours after another MLS star was taken out with another horrific foul.

The segment was all too familiar, hammering home the point that soccer is not a sissy sport. Would anyone who bothered to stay up to watch the broadcast really believe that it is?

As ESPN2 came back from a break at halftime, it introduced the "Greatest highlights of the month," which led with two confrontations, two challenges and a player nursing a bloody head in its first six shots.

Only then did ESPN get to the real highlights, including Juan Agudelo's golazo and fellow teen Omar Salgado's first MLS goal for Vancouver.

Does ESPN not value MLS's product to lead with the best it has to offer?

Frankly, the shots it led with were gratuitous images of violence, none of them, as I could recall, telling any major storyline.

If ESPN valued its broadcast of MLS games enough, it would have canned or re-edited the highlight segment in light of the shattered ankle Javier Morales suffered earlier in the day.

I guess someone was asleep at the switch. After all, it was around midnight in Bristol when the Galaxy-Red Bulls game reached halftime.

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