To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the HBO series “Real Sports,” Bryant Gumbel sat for an interview with Robert Silverman. Among the topics they discussed, whether it’s possible to cover an industry you’re also paid to promote. Gumbel didn’t hold back:
At this point ESPN is so conflicted, it makes no sense to even discuss them, you know? Even 60 Minutes did something three weeks ago on the NFL and player safety. It was like a big wet kiss, to allow Roger Goodell to sit there and say “We care about player safety.” Does it occur to you at some point to say, “Excuse me? If you cared so much, why as recently as two years ago, were you saying there was no link? As recently as two years ago, were you fighting in court spending zillions of dollars to make sure these guys don’t get anything?”
I have all the respect in the world for 60 Minutes and for Steve Kroft. But when you sit there and watch something like that, you’re inclined to say, boy oh boy, it’s nothing more than a marketing plan.
He also goes after the NFL:
They’d sell body parts if it would sell some tickets. They really just don’t care. They truly don’t care. That’s why, I’m sorry, the NFL and its so-called concerns about player safety? No. Its concern is the public image of player safety. There’s a difference.