Dan Le Batard discusses Knicks-Pacers Game 7 coverage by ESPN Photo Credit: The Dan Le Batard Show w/ Stugotz on YouTube

It was fairly obvious throughout Sunday’s Game 7 matchup between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers that the Knicks were the “A-side” of the series in terms of media coverage on ESPN. Naturally, this has led to the network receiving a ton of criticism for its perceived favoritism of New York, which Dan Le Batard piled onto Monday.

Many media outlets, including ESPN, have been accused of having an East Coast bias for years now. But there were some very obvious factors throughout ESPN’s Game 7 coverage that indicated that the Knicks were very clearly the story in this game.

NBA Countdown analyst Stephen A. Smith, an admitted Knicks fan, was in Madison Square Garden for the game, while the rest of the show’s crew was in ESPN’s studios in Los Angeles. On the pregame show broadcast, Smith was seen very publicly cheering the Knicks on, even spending time on the broadcast hanging with longtime Knicks fan Spike Lee.

In terms of the actual game broadcast, Mike Breen admitted before the series that he would “try his best” to maintain professionalism and remain unbiased despite covering Knicks games on MSG for decades now.

But despite his best efforts, most viewers caught on to the Knicks being the team more heavily discussed throughout the game, even though the Pacers largely controlled the entire game.

Dan Le Batard weighed in on the matter on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotzdetailing that he believes ESPN’s coverage was “disrespectful” to the Pacers.

“It was very celebrating of all things New York,” said Le Batard. “The same way that the big networks celebrate the Cowboys and the things that get ratings. But to me, if I’m a Pacers fan, the part that pisses me off is the last four minutes of that game – a historic game for the Pacers – only (Mike) Breen every once in a while would bring it back to the Pacers. It was the Knicks that they were talking about the whole time, and if I were a Pacers fan, I’d be mad at how slanted that coverage was.”

Le Batard’s co-host Jon “Stugotz” Weiner, who is notably from the New York area, then offered his opinion on the matter, disagreeing and saying that he believed that ESPN “did the right thing”.

This prompted Le Batard to respond by saying that “perceived disrespect” is something that sports fans care about, making it ultimately important when a network like ESPN goes about covering a game of this magnitude.

“Stugotz, when you say, ‘Who cares?’, sports fans care about perceived disrespect, and this was disrespectful,” Le Batard replied. “I’m not a fan of either of the teams I’m watching. I see one winning, the other losing, and the one that’s being talked about is the losers as if they’re the winners when they shit the bed at home, although there were valid reasons.”

For ESPN, it absolutely makes sense to cover the Knicks as much as they can. New York is a huge market with a rich history of fans who care about postseason basketball.

But at the end of the day, Pacers fans, or even just people who care about equality when it comes to sports coverage, certainly have a very fair gripe with ESPN.

[The Dan Le Batard Show on YouTube]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.