The Case Against Chad Ford
I’ve known a lot of sports columnists. There are certain truisms about them: They have strong opinions. They think they’re always right. They usually don’t think they need editors to review their work. Here’s another: A lot of them are jackasses who don’t put enough of an effort in when they write their columns.
Case in point: ESPN.com’s basketball columnist Chad Ford.
What was Ford’s crime, you ask? Today’s screwup, in his column “Top 25 draft prospects since 2000” (this is an Insider column, and is password-protected), involves Ford’s analysis of former Gonzaga University player Adam Morrison. Here it is:
Morrison was an exciting, mustached scoring machine who averaged 28.1 PPG during his junior season. The inevitable Larry Bird comparisons and a “draft the ‘stache” campaign by fans raised his profile to the point that he moved from mid-first round material up to the No. 3 pick in the draft. Unfortunately for Morrison, injuries, a shaky 3-point shot and diabetes destroyed his career. He averaged just 7.5 PPG in three NBA seasons.
Excuse me? Diabetes destroyed his career? (Along with injuries and a shaky 3-point shot.) Where is the evidence?
Morrison’s NBA career failed because, in addition to his injuries and his poor outside game, he also didn’t have the athleticism to score on bigger, stronger NBA defenders. He played beyond his three NBA seasons; two in Europe, and has attempted an NBA comeback as recently as 2012. His career, basically, is a collossal bust. However, diabetes has nothing to do with it.
I commented on this story, saying as much, as well as what I thought of Ford’s “reporting.”
Could you clarify how diabetes destroyed Adam Morrison’s career? I can’t recall having ever heard about a hypo- or hyperglycemic event causing a problem for him, unlike his inability to score against better athletes than he faced in college. That was a completely irresponsible editorial comment, Chad Ford. You should be ashamed of yourself.
I emailed my complaint to ESPN:
Subject: Chad Ford Is a Disgusting Pig
In his “Top 25 draft prospects since 2000,” Chad Ford has this to say about No. 21, Adam Morrison: “Unfortunately for Morrison, injuries, a shaky 3-point shot and diabetes destroyed his career.”
No, it didn’t. Diabetes had nothing to do with his failure as an NBA player. For Ford to say it did is irresponsible and disgusting. As a person who’s been living with diabetes for 31 years, I’m sickened by the thought that the “Worldwide Leader” could promote the dissemination of bullshit like this.
Ford should be ashamed of himself for writing that. Your editors should be ashamed for allowing it to be posted. I’m sickened by this.
(Not my best work, I know.)
ESPN.com got back to me.
Thank you for contacting us.
I apologize for the inconvenience. We value the comments and opinions of our fans. Your comments in reference to ESPN Insider content will be forwarded to the appropriate department for review.
As of 8:30 p.m., the article in question has not been changed, so this incredible inaccuracy is still live on their site. I also tweeted Ford, letting him know about my disappointment. No word from him.
Then again, as a sports columnist, he probably doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
Update, 1:15 p.m., June 19: I emailed ESPN.com again to notify them that this terrible error was still live on their site. Here’s what I wrote:
Subject: Grossly Inaccurate Story Hasn’t Been Corrected
I’ve spent the past 24 hours trying to get a very simple correction made to Chad Ford’s “Top 25 draft prospects since 2000.” In it, Ford incorrectly states that diabetes played a roll in Adam Morrison’s failed NBA career. This is factually incorrect. There’s no other way to say it. I’ve reached out to Ford and you clowns via Twitter numerous times to try to have this issue resolved, but nothing’s been done.
How can you post terribly, horribly inaccurate stories and columns and then keep putting them in glory positions for the public to consume, and have no problems with the fact that the shit you’ve posted is just wrong. Diabetes didn’t derail his career, the same way it didn’t derail Chris Dudley’s 16-year career.
Your site is doing a serious disservice to all of the people (including me) who live with diabetes and are beating this disease. You’re creating the impression that people with diabetes can have limitations placed on them. You should be ashamed.
(Sidebar: I probably should have written something like this the first time, as it’s not as rude as my first note. You live and you learn.) I got a form reply from ESPN that included a phone number for live assistance. (I got this same form email yesterday, but thought something would be done. Additional sidebar, credit for the “Chris Dudley” reference goes to Twitter friend Brian Moses.) Since I was now tired of waiting, I called ESPN and spoke with a young lady. The column in question has been removed from the home page refers, and from their NBA page. However, it still exists, and is still blaming Adam Morrison’s NBA failures on his diabetes as much as the failings of his game. (The young lady had an incredibly difficult time finding the column. I had to walk her through how to search using the keywords “Chad” and “Ford.” It was a little embarrassing.)
After speaking with her and making my case, that to say Adam Morrison’s NBA was destroyed by diabetes would be the same as saying my NBA career was destroyed by diabetes; without mentioning the fact that I can’t actually play basketball effectively. It’s just false and grossly irresponsible. I told her I found it offensive as a person with diabetes.
Then she told me there’s nothing she can do, and that she’d forward my complaint to the proper channels. When I asked what I could do to escalate this if nothing’s done to resolve it, as has been the case for the past 24 hours, she basically said “Um, you could, like, call back and, um, contact our TV department.”
I don’t think I’m going to stop with this, though. In the words of Jean-Luc Piccard, the line has been drawn here. No further.
Update, 2:11 p.m., June 20: While I was getting lunch, I called ESPN again. I went to their TV department and spoke with a young gentleman and explained my issue again. I told him I found Chad Ford’s column offensive, in that it gives diabetes as much blame for the failure of Adam Morrison’s career in the NBA. I was put on hold.
The young man, after finding the article, said “Adam Morrison’s talked about how diabetes affected his career.”
(Note: You can find these comments if you simply Google “Adam,” “Morrison” and “Diabetes.”
I pointed out that he’s never stated that diabetes “destroyed” his career, and that was what I found offensive.
My young friend at ESPN said “Um … I can pass your comments along.”
I’m amazed they still don’t recognize that they’re doing anything wrong. I also contacted ESPN’s ombudsman via email and Twitter to voice my complaints. Still no word, and the column remains, still placing equal blame on Morrison’s failed NBA career on his diabetes.