Jemele Hill, Browns vs. Ravens, and More: While We’re Waiting

Happy Friday, WFNY people. We’re locked into the most epic regular season baseball we’ve ever seen from the Indians. We’ve got Cleveland Browns moral victories to enjoy, including a quarterback that gives us at least a bit of hope for the future. Let’s send the week out right with some talk about… Jemele Hill? We could, but let’s not do it the way everyone else is doing it.

Jemele Hill needs to be smarter about Twitter usage…

Most of the Jemele Hill conversation has been tied up in the politics of what she wrote and whether she has the right to say those things about the President. To me, that’s barely even the issue. WFNY is not anything remotely close to ESPN. We don’t have employees, let alone an employee manual. ESPN has contracts with their employees and a legal team including an HR department as well as many layers of management, and somehow, WFNY is just as equipped to handle this with our boilerplate to prospective writers.

This is what is sent to prospects, and many of the new folks can vouch for this:

I’ve done a cursory glance over your social media, but I want to make sure you understand the voice and style of WFNY publicly. We tend to avoid fighting with fellow media members. We have the ability to get media credentials for sporting events, and part of that is maintaining a professional public image. That doesn’t mean you have to be nice to the teams we cover, but you have to be professional with your criticism. You don’t have to be agreeable with everyone else or avoid having your own opinions, but we expect anyone who associates with WFNY to help us maintain our standing in the community and not hinder it. That’s pretty non-specific, but if you’re planning on daily flame wars on Twitter or @’ing Browns players who had bad games, it’s not going to work out.

That’s it. And since we started sending that out, we’ve conveyed the responsibility with associating with our platform, as little as it might be in the scope of sports media. Jemele Hill has to be smarter as a headliner for ESPN.

Her error in judgment was in how she was carrying herself, not necessarily the opinion she had on the topic. Why was she engaged in a tit for tat political argument in front of the world with some people who had 743, 34, and 32 followers each? When you have the ability to make statements and engage with influential people, why would you spend your time engaging in that manner? I’m not saying she shouldn’t interact with random Twitter users, but she probably shouldn’t engage in something bordering on a flame war with random people like that.

Whether you like her or not, Jemele Hill is a high profile host on a huge network. She has over 650,000 followers on Twitter. She’s allowed to have an opinion, even a polarizing or unpopular one. Going into Twitter battle from 5 p.m. on September 11 until nearly 8 p.m. is not what ESPN has designed for any of their high profile employees. She should be allowed to express herself, even on Twitter. Still, if you’re ESPN and you want your high profile hosts to carry themselves in a dignified manner, this isn’t it.

So you can get into ESPN’s inconsistent meting out of punishments and try and discuss the finer points of Linda Cohn’s suspension for criticizing ESPN publicly or Curt Schilling’s dismissal after his third or fourth offense, but I’ll just focus on her bad Twitter judgement.

Previewing Browns vs. Ravens with Ben Axelrod

The 3SportsPodcast continues into the Browns’ season with the good guys heading to Baltimore. I explain why I don’t expect the Browns to cover the spread this week and why there isn’t a better rivalry with the Ravens despite the necessary hatred for a rivalry.

Have a great weekend everyone. Hope you’re enjoying the Indians’ historic period of baseball heading into the playoffs. It sure feels good to see Progressive field rocking every night.