Joe Cutbirth, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of British Columbia, writes in the Huffington Post that ESPN "owes its viewers, [Texas] Tech and frankly the journalism profession a look at its own ethical guidelines" after analyst Craig James filed a complaint against Mike Leach that resulted in the firing of the coach.
James has been called "a Little League dad" by Leach, who said James tried to leverage his position as an ESPN analyst to get more playing time for his son, Adam.
Cutbirth writes: "Everyone in journalism knows that credibility is a perception. That is why political reporters don't report on races involving their family members and why business reporters don't report on companies in which they own stock. ESPN could have avoided this whole situation by reassigning Craig James the minute his son signed with Texas Tech.
"The announcement that James would not be covering the Alamo Bowl — like that is some big step by ESPN — is so ridiculous it's offensive. It was absurd for him ever to have been near that game, Big 12 football and/or Tech athletics in the first place.
"Craig James has every right to be a pestering football dad, as obnoxious as that may be. However, if he wants to exercise that right, he owes it to his network and the reputations of other reporters who work there to move into a job that doesn't have these ethical temptations or create the appearance of impropriety.
"News organizations routinely reassign reporters to avoid even slight impressions of conflict over work their family members do in government, business — even sports. Why was Craig James any different?"