I have officially had it with ESPN. I think everyone knows that we have been in a heated, borderline-violent feud for a while now, but tonight they crossed the line.
It all dates back to a rainy afternoon in September when we took on a stout (LOL) Idaho Vandals team. About midway through the 4th quarter, in an perfect example of absolutely egregious sportsmanship, our coaching staff added insult to Idaho’s injury by putting a player in the game who is known throughout the southland for producing more touchdowns than Harvard does lawyers and NC State does farmers. As I jogged out onto the field, the announcer explained to the ESPN3 television audience that Alex Dixon had just entered the game at quarterback. Wait, hold up… Alex Dixon? I realize that Crib Calls has stolen the majority of ESPN.com’s readers and fans, but that is a low blow. Here I am, trying to focus on handing the ball off in the proper manner, and some announcer from ESPN is trying to cruelly mock me in front of my family, friend(s), and a regional audience. Needless to say, I was outraged, and Alex Dixon probably was too.
As if that was not enough, about two months later ESPN slapped me in my figurative face again on a Thursday night in Charlottesville, Virginia. About mid-second quarter, I was taking a walk, collecting my thoughts on our sideline. That was when I saw Samantha Steele, ESPN College Football’s new sideline reporter, standing behind our bench in a banana yellow jacket. This season was her first trying to fill the shoes left by Erin Andrews—a well-known and well-liked journeyer of football sidelines. With this, and the truism that the only thing bigger than my courage is my heart, in mind, I felt for Samantha and went over to speak to her, you know, to offer a few words of encouragement. I told her that if she needed anything—a Gatorade, an interview, or a complete layout, play-by-play, of what we were planning on doing in the second half—just to let me know. She smiled, and gave the impression that she would definitely take me up on my kind offer. Well, when the game came to a close and she had still not approached me, I knew that something was wrong. So, I did the only thing a man can do: I tweeted at her multiple times on the bus ride home. It is not like I was trying to make some kind of inappropriate advance at her. I have a girlfriend, and that’s just not what I’m about anyway. I was just trying to make sure that she was, in fact, still breathing.
Hours past by, yet, there was no response. That is when I began to become truly infuriated. I was enraged for the following reason: I know she saw my Tweet, and wanted nothing more than to send an appreciative, thoughtful, serious-but-still-with-like-1-one-liner, 160-character response. However, her bosses over at ESPN told her that if she typed one more character in that reply tweet, that she could pack her bags as they called Dijana Kunovac out from the bullpen. Typical move on the behalf on the “worldwide leader in sports (LOL).”
This leads me to last night, when ESPN decided to relieve it’s exploding bowels on my figurative front porch. Long story long, last Wednesday I get a call on my cell phone from Bristol, Connecticut. At first I thought it was my friend Barack, who’s phone always displays a random city in the Caller ID. However, when I answered the phone, “What do you want,” I was surprised to hear an unfamiliar voice on the other end of the line. “Hello Caleb. This is John Skipper from ESPN. First and foremost, I want to apologize for our lack of respect for your figurative possessions over the last few months. What I am calling about today is something that we here at ESPN think could help mend our relationship.”
Naturally, I listened to his proposal. He told me that they wanted to send down Jeremy Schaap to do an intensive story about my life. I told them to send Samantha Steele and we had a deal.
A week later, ESPN arrived on campus and everything went as planned. I revealed some of my deepest, darkest secrets like a famous linebacker, and I said some motivational things while fake crying like another one. ESPN liked what it saw, and told me my interview would air in primetime instead of the UNC vs. Georgia Tech basketball game the next Wednesday night. They also mentioned it would be the topic of an Outside The Lines report, two 30-for-30 documentaries, and 4/5ths of the questions on Pardon the Interruption. Obviously I was okay with this, because I am an attention-whore.
That was the last I heard from ESPN until I tuned in for my special at 9:00 PM last night. Lo and behold, they had duped me once again; this time with absolutely no regard for my American rights or personal feelings. Not only did they not play my special in primetime, but they rubbed it in by showing a short clip from my interview after a TV timeout during the basketball game. Heck, they even went as far as to show the part they showed completely out of context. My quote, “They have enough talent, but they are definitely going to have to start playing better,” was not about Carolina basketball at all. In reality, I was answering Samantha’s question, “Do The Lumineers have a chance to move into your top three bands in 2013?”
ESPN, I truly do not even know what to say right now. Time and time again, you have disrespected me in front of millions of people. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that Crib Calls has single handedly collapsed your online following, but still, this time you have taken it too far.
This is a call to arms for all of the Crib Callers out there. I am only one man. I can only do so much to a worldwide corporation. Please assist me in defeating ESPN by writing a letter to your local congressman. Play me out to be the victim, and feel free to make up a heinous crime that ESPN perpetrated against me. Also, about every four or five minutes, send profanity-filled hate tweets to employees at ESPN. They are all guilty by association. Because I know that since Crib Calls came out, nobody visits ESPN’s website, or even knows its URL anymore, I have taken the proactive measure of confirming that their employees do, in fact, have Twitters. Please harass them as you see fit. DO NOT think about the fact that everything you say can and will be held against you in the court of law.
Until next time,
P.S. Buddy Blackjack is getting hungry.