For those who don’t like ESPN college basketball analyst Chad Ford, the reveal that someone (him, perhaps?) has been changing his old draft boards to seem more accurate after the fact was great news: finally a chance to show him for the terrible analyst he is and for the zero integrity he has. But despite the quite clear evidence, the network isn’t doing anything about it.
Redditor sharpinator uncovered the changes made to Ford’s draft boards over the years, to make it seem like he was a genius about certain things right from the start. While some changes are really minor, there are quite some blatant shifts – from raising Giannis Antetokounmpo who no one paid attention to before the draft eight spots in his mock draft board (from #17 to #9) to dropping busts like Hasheem Thabeet completely.
Once the story came out on Reddit and then Deadspin, ESPN or someone within the organization changed things back to the way they were. No harm done, right? Well, wrong. This is probably the worst thing a journalist can do besides plagiarism. But it seems priorities have changed over the years, and Chad Ford simply saying that he didn’t make the changes himself seems to be enough. No one is going to look any deeper than that.
ESPN.com’s system works the same way most sites and blogs work. A writer needs to log in to the system in order to post stuff, edit articles and so on. Although there’s an editor that can make changes to everything, the system marks every log in made – by who and when. It’s quite funny to think ESPN have no idea who changed the Chad Ford articles, and their flat response of ‘looking into it’ is another way of saying ‘we don’t give a f@#$’ and will brush it under the rug.
Journalists make mistakes. Those who dare to make predictions make them. That’s how it works. And in picking draft selections, in any sport, there’s quite a big margin of error, when often one selections causes a chain reaction of different picks by teams. Journalistic integrity should be something held in great regard – by the media outlets, by their workers and it should mean something to the customers and the fans reading all this stuff.
ESPN acknowledging that something went on but going on to say Chad Ford had nothing to do with it seems more than weird and suspicious. But just look at what the biggest sports network is pushing at all times and you’ll understand that integrity isn’t of the highest priority. From time to time they let an Ombudsman write something about the inner dealings at the network, but never something too outrageous. This is an entertainment mogul which focuses on sports, but calling things like they are without any hidden agendas? You won’t find that among their ranks. Money rules, and always will.