“The moral of the story is, I chose a half measure when I should have gone all the way.  I’ll never make that mistake again.  No more half measures, Walter.” – Mike Ehrmantraut, Breaking Bad

Mike’s “half mesaures” speech to Walter White may be one of the most simple, yet profound scenes in one of the great television shows that’s ever existed.  And while the story is brutal and awful and the lesson for Walt one with life or death consequences, the message is one that can across the spectrum – half measures can never cut it.

ESPN’s current sourcing policy is a half measure.  And it’s time the network goes all the way and does the right thing by doing a better job in crediting outside sources.

When ESPN announced their new sourcing policy in 2013, we applauded the decision.  The network finally clarified (about 30 years too late) whether or not they were actually reporting a story or whether it was news broken by another outlet.  The new categories were “ESPN report,” “Media report,” and “ESPN and Media reports.”  This new policy came after a rather embarrassing episode in which an ESPN producer admitted to Jay Glazer on Twitter that he was being used as a source for ESPN’s reporting – an unconsciable admission of guilt that ESPN was piggybacking on the work of others and passing it off as their own.

But now, it’s clear that the new policy also falls well short of what should be elementary standards.  On far too many occasions, reporters and outlets who actually break news aren’t being given credit for the work they do by Bristol.  Instead, once ESPN can get a piece of a story, they immediately become lumped together as a part of the mysterious “media reports.”  It’s better than using everyone as a source and just outright stealing scoops, yes, but it’s a half measure.  In fact, the phrase “media reports” has now become just as much of a laughing stock as “sources” was for ESPN.

ESPN’s sourcing controversies have been a major storyline once again this week.  It began, ironically enough, with an attempt to do the right thing and credit Ken Rosenthal for a story.  The only problem was it was a fake Rosenthal account where they got their information.  It continued with Jay Glazer (the real one) calling ESPN “lying bastards” for elbowing in on his scoopage with Johnny Manziel starting for the Browns.  Quite the accomplishment to check both those boxes off the improper sourcing scorecard.

But perhaps nowhere is the confusing and inconsistent half measures of proper sourcing at ESPN seen more clearly than in the news of Melvin Gordon turning pro.  The Wisconsin RB revealed his intentions in an interview on The Dan Patrick Show.  Soon thereafter, SportsCenter sent out a tweet blaring “THIS JUST IN” without mention of DP.  However, the ESPN NFL account did manage to credit Patrick.

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And if that wasn’t enough, the network also was inconsistent in crediting Patrick on television according to our followers:

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.