ESPN's All-Male "Monday Night Football" Panel On Domestic Violence Is Not Real
An article on Esquire.com suggests that ESPN is hosting a domestic violence panel discussion during Monday Night Football featuring only men. Not true.
Updated — 6:30 p.m. ET
Esquire has apologized to ESPN.
Esquire.com posted the following note to the top of its article "ESPN Has A Problem With Women" and changed the headline to "On ESPN And Domestic Violence":
The original opening sentence of this piece was widely interpreted as saying that ESPN was set to run a special panel, hosted only by men, which would address the specific subject of domestic violence in the NFL. In fact, we believed the pre-game show was to run as normal, with a segment on domestic violence. We apologize for the confusion that the language of our opening statement created and we have been told that ESPN was not planning to cover this topic in such a format and has covered domestic violence on air before with its female commentators. The first sentence and headline have been amended to reflect this change.
Additionally, we would like to apologize for saying that ESPN is not in the business of journalism. They have produced excellent journalism over the years, such as last year's NFL At a Crossroads: Investigating a Health Crisis.—Kate Lewis, VP, Content Operations & Editorial Director
On Friday, Esquire published an article titled "ESPN Has A Problem With Women" that suggests the network was planning to host a male-only panel discussion on domestic violence during this week's Monday Night Football broadcast.
The article begins:
On Monday night, a panel on a two-hour pregame show for Monday Night Football will, among other things, address domestic abuse. This panel will discuss, once again, the appropriate penalty for hitting a woman.
The panel for that discussion will include the following people: Chris Berman, Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Adam Schefter, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, Jon Gruden, Mike Tirico, Stuart Scott, Steve Young and Ray Lewis.
Up to 11 men, all between the ages of 39 and 74 will sit at the table for a domestic violence discussion on ESPN. Zero women. Victims of domestic violence in America are most likely to be women aged 20-24.
When the show has updates from the field—brief reports about injuries and the upcoming game—they'll cut to female sideline reporters, Lisa Salters and, on some weeks, Suzy Kolber.
These people are not allowed at the table.
The assertion that ESPN would host such a panel discussion and not invite any women to participate sparked outrage.
Several other blogs wrote posts questioning why ESPN would let only men participate in this domestic violence discussion. (H/T Deadspin)
Esquire writer Ben Collins, who posted the original article, took to Twitter to attempt to clarify what he wrote.
On Monday, ESPN's John Wildhack, executive vice president of programming and production, released a statement refuting Esquire's original report that the network scheduled any sort of domestic violence panel discussion.
Contrary to published reports in Esquire, there was no panel on domestic violence ever planned for tonight's Monday Night Countdown. We will present our normal Monday Night Football pre-game show, with Suzy Kolber hosting. ESPN is proud of the work it has done covering the issue of domestic violence, and is committed to continued coverage. Much of that work has been informed by several talented female colleagues from our television and espnW platforms, including Hannah Storm, Jemele Hill, Jane McManus, Kate Fagan, Sarah Spain and more.