ESPN labels it purely coincidental that it chose to cut Curt Schilling’s bloody sock victory out of a documentary on the historic comeback of the Boston Red Sox to defeat the New York Yankees for the 2004 American League pennant. Some things are harder to believe than a team winning a playoff series down 0-3 to the hated “rival” that big brothered them for the bulk of the previous 86 years.
“When a live event runs long,” ESPN maintained regarding its peculiar edit, “it’s standard procedure to shorten a taped program that follows. In this case, we needed to edit out one of the film’s four segments to account for the extra length of the softball game.”
Naturally, they deleted the most dramatic part of the comeback, the game in which the guy they just fired allowed just one run in seven innings on a torn tendon sutured to in place by a Dr. Frankenstein-like procedure.
Deadspin’s Timothy Burke explains away the egregious edit by maintaining that “programming is regularly edited for time constraints.” He characterizes the outrage over whitewashing the bloody sock as “dopey Red Sox fans [who] teamed up with dopey conservatives to form a coalition of derp in protesting what they believed to be a conspiracy.” As a broadcaster, Schilling, Burke maintains, should know about the nuances of fitting taped programing in time slots necessarily abbreviated by live programming, “further proving that he’ll share any misinformation that aligns with his beliefs, Schilling disingenuously raised a stink about it.”
Sure. Like the time ESPN cut Willis Reed limping onto the court in Game Seven in its documentary on the 1971 NBA Finals or when the network omitted the part about Kerri Strug dramatically nailing the final vault in its 30 for 30 on the gold-medal winning American gymnasts at the 1996 Summer Games.
Okay. So the Worldwide Leader in Political Correctness never did that. But Curt Schilling did break the Bronx Bombers in Game Six of the 2004 ALCS. And if the broadcaster can airbrush that out of history, why can’t the viewers enjoy creative license, too?
A chronicler of another four-letter entity detailed its sins of omission in a book called The Commissar Vanishes, which displayed a famous picture that cropped out Soviet officials cropped out of life by Joseph Stalin. ESPN adds a new chapter called “The Commentator Vanishes” to its evolving story of political correctness. It gives new, nefarious meaning to “network censors.”
It’s bad enough that Mickey Mouse points pink slips, visible if only the cameras pan back, at its talking heads. The Disney Corporation’s entity now rewrites history in a petty vendetta against a former employee who dared state opinions contrary to the company line.