Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What Happened to Dan Patrick?

I have been an avid fan of Dan Patrick for as long as I can remember. I listen to his radio show daily. I loved him on Sportscenter and in various other ESPN appearances that he made in commercials and at sporting events. When he announced that he was leaving ESPN in 2008 I was worried that we would be losing a great radio and TV personality.

By the end of 2008, we found out that Dan was going to have a column in Sports Illustrated and a new radio show on a different network. ESPN has their own sports magazine which is very popular but it definitely does not have the readership or the prestige of Sports Illustrated. I could understand his desire to move into a different direction after almost 18 years of working for ESPN.

Unfortunately, the Sports Illustrated column is just a cliff notes version of a popular interview from the past week of Dan's radio show. There is no new material and no actual journalism. It is disappointing and I hope that in the future he actually starts writing a column. I suspect that he has the knowledge and ability to write a column but that he has found that it is easier to just regurgitate old information.

Initially I didn't notice a difference in Dan's new radio show. The show featured the same regular guests and jokes that we were used to hearing on the ESPN radio show. But the tone of the show quickly turned from fun-loving and entertaining to bitter and unprofessional.

I don't know if there is some behind the scenes drama that lead to Dan leaving ESPN. He made the decision to leave, they did not push him out, but maybe there were extenuating circumstances that the general public is not aware of that made it unbearable for him to continue working at ESPN. Whatever the reason, his constant attacks on ESPN personalities reduce his credibility.

Dan critiques every major interview and every personnel change that occurs at ESPN. He has appointed himself as the judge for all that ESPN does and tries to push his opinions as facts and not the blatant, generally unfounded criticism that is really is. I don't care about his opinion of Peter Gammond's interview with Alex Rodriguez. I don't want to hear about how ESPN didn't train Emmitt Smith properly to be an on air personality. On a daily basis he mocks ESPN personalities and uncovers "secrets" about what he witnessed while he was there that he claims are still going on and make ESPN a horrible place. Get a therapist Dan and get over it. There have been days when I had to turn off your show because the constant ESPN bashing is not what I tuned in for. Talk about sports. I get it, ESPN is the center of the sports universe so it is impossible not to mention them at all. But the personal attacks are getting old.

The worst part is the listeners who are pandering to Dan's ESPN bashing. It's like the listeners feel like they are Dan's buddies and bash ESPN in e-mails and phone calls to Dan's radio show to try to endear themselves to him. It's pitiful. Dan used to be insightful and entertaining but now he sounds like a jilted lover. You decided to leave Dan, they didn't fire you, why are you so bitter. Do you think that the constant criticism of ESPN makes your show more relevant? You come across as sad and insecure and that reduces the credibility of your show.

A lot of media personalities got their start on ESPN and have now moved on to different avenues. It is fun to see the old ESPN commercials and interviews that feature these personalities. If it weren't for ESPN many of these people wouldn't be where they are now; it was the springboard for their careers. ESPN is not going to remove these pieces from their archives because the people are no longer employed by ESPN. I'm sure when you work for ESPN you sign a contract that states that ESPN owns every interview, commercial, etc. that you appeared in while working for the network. So why do you need to mention every single time that you appear on ESPN on your new radio show and obsess over it for the entire show? You worked there for 18 years. Do you really think they are going to erase everything that you touched during that time because you are no longer there? You're not that important Dan.

The best part of all of this is that ESPN isn't responding to your taunts. If you break a story or get an interview on your show ESPN gives you credit for that and then moves on to discuss the story. There are no snarky remarks or cheap shots taken at you. Because really your just another source like any other media personality.

You claim that ESPN does not allow many of their experts/personalities to appear on your show because they are bitter about you leaving. The reality is that until your show stops being an ESPN-bashing show who would want to come on your show? Would you accept a dinner invitation from someone who hated your wife and talked about how much he hated her constantly? Of course not.

There are moments when he sounds like the old Dan. In these moments, the show is sublime entertainment for even the most casual sports fan. But these moments are coming less frequently. I challenge Dan and his cast to go an entire show without making disparaging remarks to ESPN. I encourage him to make the most of his new career and stop obsessing about the past. I really don't want to listen to Colin Cowherd but lately you haven't left me any other options.

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