Somewhere during the transition from a 1980s broadcaster of curling and ping-pong competitions to becoming today's corporate colossus, the folks at ESPN learned how to take irrelevant items and somehow implant them in the consciousness of the general public.
Always masters of well-plotted synergy, the Bristol, Connecticut-based Entertainment and Sports Programming Network has proven itself capable of blowing up relatively innocuous comments made on its radio, print, and television properties into subjects of discussion.
Case in point: recent comments by fading sportscaster Joe Theismann on the subject of Brady Quinn's professionalism.
Theismann, an ESPN sportscaster recently replaced on ESPN's Monday Night Football by Ron Jaworski and relegated to ESPN's college coverage, managed to push his way back into the edges of the national spotlight by commenting on new Browns quarterback Brady Quinn. The comments were made on ESPN's Mike and Mike radio program (carried locally on ESPN 850).
You'll undoubtedly be able to read about it next month's ESPN Magazine.
Thus spoke Theismann: "The only thing I was disappointed in with the young man, and I hold his agents responsible for this, was to me, when you walk out on stage in front of millions and millions of people, that's a job interview. You don't go to a job interview chewing gum. And I felt like he could have presented himself in a much more professional manner."
"It looked like his tie was the first time he ever tried to tie one," Theismann continued, "It looked like his hair, he had just walked out of a shower, and he stands there, relieved as all get-out, chewing gum. And to me, that's not a professional image. And maybe I'm reading into it, but when it comes to drafts, when it comes to analyzing players, I think you have to look at everything."
For reasons unclear to this writer, Theismann's channeling of Mr. Blackwell managed to save him from complete irrelevance for a couple of days, and became a subject of discussion after Quinn's first practice as a Cleveland Browns.
"Yeah, I tried to look a little more business-like," Brady chuckled after being asked about his obvious recent visit to the barber shop.
"I've been hearing some rumors that I haven't been very well-spoken of by some of our strong alumni at Notre Dame."
With an unprecedented media horde gathered in Berea, Quinn offered a mea culpa for the offenses exposed by Theismann.
"You know, it's tough. I apologize to anyone, obviously, who is a Notre Dame alum, or for those fans out there that thought I wasn't being very business like. I think I was there for awhile, and at that moment and time, when you finally get picked after waiting for four-and-a-half hours, I guess the last thought in my head was spit out your gum, fix your hair or make sure your shirt and everything is looking good."
"I was just trying to get on that stage as soon as possible and get that Browns jersey in my hand."
With that, another bit of inane non-news created, maintained and advanced by ESPN's self-sustaining media ecosystem can hopefully be dismissed.
Barry McBride is the impeccably-dressed and well-coiffed founder of the Orange and Brown Report. You can contact him with your thoughts on all matters sartorial via email at firstname.lastname@example.org