The Big Ten Network announced today (Monday, September 3, 2018) that it will suspend indefinitely Braylon Edwards for a tweet (right) he sent out during Michigan's 24-17 loss to Notre Dame to open the season Saturday night. The tweet included a swear word and called out specific players on the Michigan squad.
For many, this is yet another indication that we've grown soft as a society. Blame ESPN, blame politics, blame whoever.....for anyone to be "offended" from this tweet is either living in a bubble or in complete ignorance. Why am I being offensive? If you watch football, or have played football, using a swear word shouldn't be "shocking". It happens every play, by players to each other, coaches to players, coaches to refs, fans to each other and so on. Braylon has been in that fire and likely didn't feel the "shock" of using a curse word.
Therefore, I believe The Big Ten Network is suspending Braylon Edwards purely on image and so their bottom line isn't affected, not by some imaginary "gentlemen's" code of conduct. Surely the network realizes the violence on the field is likely way more shocking to children than the "F" word, right?
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Here's why I think the Big Ten Network is dropping the ball:
First, the Michigan fan base is enormous. They've been relatively irrelevant since Lloyd Carr's 2004 Big Ten Title, Michigan's last. They need some fire, some news. What better way to get this large fan base to tune into your network by having an ex-Michigan player calling out the current team. Even more significant, the coach, HARBAUGH himself, has responded!!! This is TV gold (it's gold Jerry, gold!! - gratuitous Seinfeld reference).
Harbaugh pulled his best Mike Gundy impression with this nugget (courtesy of NBC Sports):“No. 1, it’s not true. It’s not factual,” Harbaugh said. “There’s nobody in our program who thinks those things about any player on our team, let alone the two players described. On the other level, it’s disappointing that a member of the Big Ten Network would choose to attack the character of two of our players. And, if someone wants to attack the character of anybody on the ball club, come after me.”
Embed from Getty Images
That's right, he said "come after me" - how is the network missing this!!!!! Braylon and Harbaugh can't feud on the network if Braylon is suspended. Does the Big Ten Network really want Twitter or Facebook or (god forbid) ESPN to profit from this epic feud!?!?
Secondly, speaking of ESPN - does the Big Ten Network know there's serious competition that's ripe for the conquering? The Big Ten fan base isn't exactly enamored with national media outlets. I even saw a tweet from a fan that they didn't even know The Big Ten Network had a pregame show. Not only could they win over Big Ten fans during yet another period of ESPN hate, but they could potentially gain some viewers around the country. Maybe even have both join each other in the studio (via video of course, not physically together).
Lastly, and looking on a more positive basis....the Big Ten Network could play Jerry Springer, Phil Donahue and Oprah Winfrey...all with this single feud!! Yes, they could take credit for rallying the fan base, by getting these two men to find common ground.
Instead they took the same approach everyone else does in this era...overreacting. They were scared of the "backlash", forgetting the backlash leads to huge ratings. They thought this would cost them tons of money, I think it would've gained them so much more.
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