ESPN apologizes for NFL graphic about Tee Higgins' mother
|Monday, April 27, 2020, 11:51 AM- -|
ESPN had its highest rating ever in an NFL Draft as their 3-day 2020 draft coverage had more than 55 million total viewers.
However, it didn't come without some scrutiny as many viewers were confused about why ESPN was sensationalizing so many family tragedies during their telecasts.
Players work and grind their entire lives to get the opportunity to be selected in the NFL Draft, and they probably don't want to re-live their family tragedies as part of their special moment.
One of the players that was impacted by ESPN's odd coverage was former Clemson receiver Tee Higgins.
@espn this is disgusting on your part, Tee Higgins is enjoying his entrance to the NFL. And y’all have to announce his personal family business, by putting his moms drug addiction battle. Y’all should be ashamed of yourselves. pic.twitter.com/0oO1LbVZGr— Roy Resendez (@royresendez32) April 24, 2020
Higgins took the family coverage in stride as he is very proud of his mom's hard work in overcoming her addiction.
"I'm proud of my mom for turning her life around for me and my sister!" he posted on Twitter. "I have no problem with them showing the world that my mom is a true fighter."
ESPN got enough backlash from their 'tragedy' coverage with Higgins and other players that they had to apologize.
The Higgins graphic "should not have aired," ESPN vice president of production Seth Markman said in a statement.
"It was a mistake, and we apologize for it," he said via the Washington Post. "We want our draft coverage to personalize players and, where appropriate, acknowledge the obstacles they've had to overcome on their journey to the NFL. This graphic lacked proper context."
Twitter had more reactions to ESPN's coverage of the draft regarding personal family matters:
I understand everybody has a story & motivation, but ESPN doesn’t have to highlight the worst moment that happens in some of these folks lives. Am I tripping?— Bradley Chubb (@astronaut) April 24, 2020
Draft pick: “I had a tragic death in my family”— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) April 25, 2020
ESPN DRAFT PROFILE— BUM CHILLUPS (@edsbs) April 24, 2020
Name: Tee Higgins
Strengths: Ridiculous hands, huge catch radius
Personal: As a child watched the vicious landlord Chiu-Feng slaughter his entire family, lives only for vengeance against the dastardly land barons of Sichuan province
ESPN NFL Draft producers when they find out a draft pick grew up in a loving household with both parents present pic.twitter.com/yLDP0UmEsb— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) April 25, 2020
ESPN needs to stop brazenly exploiting this draft class’ family tragedies. It’s ridiculous to see details about the death of these guys’ family members right above their career highlights.— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) April 25, 2020
It was even worse last year but it’s still terrible this year.
Re: ESPN's "Tragedy Porn" during the NFL draft.— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) April 25, 2020
It's a very fine line between providing human interest stories to show adversity players have overcome and just sensationalizing tragedy.
I hope ESPN takes this draft to review where that line is.
I’d be fascinated to hear any explanation from @espn after this draft is over with about this strange fixation on dead family members, personal tragedy and conduct issues.— socially distant since ‘86 (@brianneubert) April 25, 2020
people: “this nfl draft will be a great distraction from all the tragedy in the world right now”— maybe: chris (@noturfatherscpa) April 24, 2020
espn: “here is everyone that has died in this player’s life”
I'm not sure I understand the producing philosophy at ESPN to play-up every tragedy/death in each draft pick's life? I think the audience is sophisticated enough to understand this is a big day in their lives--do the viewers need a tragic reason to appreciate the significance?— Travis Lee (@TLee_WMTW) April 24, 2020
ESPN's formula:— Zach Halverson (@ZachHalverson) April 25, 2020
- Draft pick announced
- Highlights of draft pick from college
- Stats and analysis from NFL and NCAA Football experts
- Story about a heartbreaking tragedy the draft pick suffered from 10-20 years ago
- Video of draft pick's father working out. (if applicable)
ESPN: tell us about yourself— Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) April 25, 2020
NFL DRAFT PROSPECT: so i like football, hanging out with my friends, playing video games! looking forward to helping at the next level!!
ESPN: yea sure anyway what's ur greatest personal tragedy and do u prefer soft piano or harp as background music