Bob Ley and Jeremy Schaap are in many ways the bastions of ESPN’s journalistic reputation. The two longtime reporters are responsible for some of the best investigative and long-form work the network has ever done, and with the “embrace debate” model as pervasive as ever, they represent the level-headed side of the Worldwide Leader. On Thursday, ESPN announced Ley and Schaap will host a new weekly E:60 show each Sunday morning.
So how do you recognize the most thoughtful and deliberate reporters you’ve got?
You toss them on First Take, of course.
— First Take (@FirstTake) May 11, 2017
Yes. My first-ever first and double take walking by the TV. pic.twitter.com/5kIVLQcdxb
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) May 11, 2017
Of course, it makes some sense for ESPN to plaster Ley and Schaap all over their airwaves to 1.) promote the new show and 2.) show the world that the network still employs these kinds of trustworthy journalists. Ley and Schaap have been making the rounds on somewhat of a media tour this week, and in addition to First Take, they also appeared on Mike & Mike on Thursday morning.
Still, it was pretty jarring to see two veteran reporters known for their measured, deeply researched analysis on a set we mostly associate with loud arguments about whether Tim Tebow is greatest athlete of the century and whether LeBron is a choker.
Maybe ESPN hoped to use Ley and Schaap to give some credibility to First Take. You know, “If they respect this show enough to be on it, you can respect it enough to watch it.”
But if this means Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman will fill in on Outside the Lines… god help us all.