It’s been nearly two full days since Wasingtion Nationals C Wilson Ramos was kidnapped from his Venezuela home. As NatsTown is doing everything it can to bond and support Ramos and his family during this trying time, including hosting a fan-organized candlelight vigil tonight at Nationals Park, it would be remiss of us to ignore the lack of coverage of this issue by ESPN, the so-called “Worldwide Leader in Sports.”
When Ramos was first reported missing, Penn State had just fired it’s long-time football coach Joe Paterno and their University President. SportsCenter, the stations flagship program, ran live all night long to cover the development, without taking a moment to mention the kidnapping of the Nationals starting backstop. Despite the fact that after the firing no “real news” broke. It was just reaction. I figured this had to change once the story lightened a bit; it hasn’t.
Now, ESPN has started covering it’s own basketball game scheduled for tonight between UNC and Michigan State on an aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, in addition to covering the Penn State saga. Ramos’s kidnapping, by my count, has earned about 20-30 seconds of every our of coverage. There’s no background given, no discussion of the instability and danger of living in Venezuela, no discussion of MLB players’ reactions to the situation. Just that he’s been kidnapped and no new information is available.
I understand that ESPN is a business that must cover what its viewers want to see, but do they not have some sort of moral obligation to make its viewers aware that a starting Major League Baseball player has been kidnapped and no one can find him? I’ve known for a long time that ESPN is a football-first network, followed by coverage of its own sporting events, followed by the rest of sports news. Why else would stellar baseball minds like Peter Gammons and Brian Kenny leave the biggest sports network in the world for baseball-centered networks? But the Ramos situation seems more worthy than half a minute of every hour.
I must admit, these observations are certainly made out of frustration that one of our own in NatsTown cannot be found, and there’s simply nothing I can do to help, but it doesn’t make them any less true. ESPN should be ashamed for not bringing the kidnapping of Wilson Ramos to the attention of more Americans with more regularity.