Joey Chestnut Photo credit: ESPN First Take

Well, it’s official, ESPN has officially run out of things to talk about.

Yes, The Worldwide Leader is shorthanded, as most of its on-air personalities are on vacation for an extended Fourth of July vacation. And that’s not to say that the likes of Christine Williamson, Courtney Cronin, Kimberly Martin and Harry Douglas did a poor job filling in on Tuesday’s edition of First Take. They were simply dealing with the hand they were dealt.

And of course, they were always going to talk about the annual tradition that is the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating contest, which was supposed to air live from the iconic corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues on Coney Island at noon Eastern. (The event was postponed and even seemingly canceled due to inclement weather and lightning in the area, but is now taking place on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. ET.) This will mark the 20th consecutive year that ESPN has televised the event, and the network will continue to do so at least through 2029.

However, instead of reveling in that fact, the panel decided to take on some important debates on ESPN’s platform, specifically on if reigning champion Joey Chestnut (who has won every men’s title but one at this event since 2007) is an athlete or not.

“Is Joey Chestnut an all-time athlete?”

“How do we define a sport?”

“This takes a lot of skill,” Cronin said. “He’s an athlete in my mind.”

“Who can argue that he isn’t?” Martin asked. “Because none of us here can do that…I agree with Courtney, he’s definitely an athlete. And shame on anybody, like Harry, I imagine who’s going to say otherwise.”

Douglas refused to call Chestnut an athlete, though he can only eat one and a half hot dogs himself.

“He’s a pro at eating the most hot dogs,” Douglas said of Chestnut.

Well, there you have it.

Even if viewers weren’t able to watch the annual tradition that is the Nathan’s Hot-Dog Eating Contest at its scheduled time (again not ESPN’s fault, blame the weather), they were able to at least watch a debate of whether professional eaters are actually athletes, which was supposed to lead into Tuesday’s event.

Perhaps we can try again next year and debate Chestnut’s standing as an athlete again!

[Awful Announcing on Twitter]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.