Earlier this week, I had Sports Center on in the background. I wasn't really paying attention to it too much, but I perked up when I heard Chris McKendry issue a network apology for airing images of Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd when discussing the recent sexual allegations involving former Amateur Athletic Union president Robert "Bobby" Dodd.
I did a bit of poking and found this thread on a GT Scout board. The details as best as I can tell are in this post quoted:
Here's what happened.
Bob Ley is standing in front of a full screen collage of 2 photos of OUR Bobby Dodd. He says that decades of child sex abuse charges have been levied against the "legendary Bobby Dodd."
They then cut to an interview with the accuser. The interview lasts several minutes and is pretty graphic and awful and the name Bobby Dodd is mentioned several times.
At this point all you've seen is a photo of Bobby L. Dodd, great GT coach and the interview with the accuser. The interview also continually references AAU basketball in the 80's so you and I know something doesn't add up. But the rest of America doesn't.
They finally cut to several photos of the actual accused Bobby Dodd. Clearly a different guy. He's in his 40's in all the pics from the 80's and appears to be in his 60's now. They also discuss the fact that he was CEO of AAU up until last week. Again, you and I are now certain that this is a completely different guy. But the general public still thinks it's our former coach or at least they are confused as hell. I never heard Bob Ley or anyone else make a correction.
If you read the Scout thread in its entirety, you see a range of responses. You will see someone claiming to work for ESPN somewhat defending the network, and on the other side, you will see someone so emotionally upset that he irrationally thinks this could start the downfall of the network.
I am in the middle of the spectrum. ESPN did a very bad job of getting the Dodds confused. I didn't see the Ley interview, but his using the phrase "legendary Bobby Dodd" sounds like he thought it was the GT coach. I don't know anything about the AAU. Was that president "legendary"? It seems unlikely. So not only did someone feed the wrong photos to the production team, but also it seems possible that Ley really thought these two Dodds were the same person.
To ESPN's credit, when it realized its mistake, the network issued at least one correction on-air and also posted a somewhat tepid correction online.
I look forward to seeing whether the ombudsman will address this issue in a future piece.
Did anyone see the original Ley piece, the correction, or another reference online?
What are your thoughts?