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ESPN criticized for covering gay sports issues

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ESPN is being criticized by a media watchdog group for giving too much attention to the issue of gays in sports. The Media Research Center Network, a media critique site run by self-described social and religious conservatives, is upset with ESPN's recent coverage.

Gay 'rights' and same-sex marriage have been all over the news lately. Sick of the issue? Why not tune to ESPN for the baseball scores and an update on the football lockout? But there, instead of 'Web Gems' is … gay marriage.

ESPN is supposed to be in the business of sports, but lately the network has allowed social advocacy to creep into its programming, and the Disney-owned sports network's take turns out to be identical to the pro-gay mainstream media.

The article goes on to list recent stories ESPN has covered, including the athletes who got involved in the gay marriage debate and Cyd's article in Out magazine on Michael Irvin and his gay brother.

It's a rather bizarre argument the writer, Catherine Maggio, is trying to make. Gays in sports is a hot issue (as is gay marriage) and ESPN would be remiss in not covering it. She accuses ESPN of "gay advocacy," but I am not sure how accepting gay people as part of the sports culture should be controversial for anyone. What's the "other side" in this debate? That gays in sports should remain closeted?

Maggio does mention Jemele Hill's column on ESPN.com defending David Tyree's anti-gay marriage stance, which should disprove her advocacy thesis. But she then says Hill's column "had to be followed up with a defense itself."

Huh? Hill's followup was a routine letters to the editor column that focused on the Tyree piece but also hit subjects like golf and the NBA. And far from being defensive, Hill writes that she "couldn't have been more delighted with the discourse." Sounds like the only thing ESPN is guilty of is not "social advocacy" but allowing various points of view to be debated.