SacBee sportswriter Joe Davidson says ESPN created a lot of animosity when it decided to telecast a high school football game between teams from Folsom and Sacramento’s nationally-ranked Grant High School:
- Coaches said the sports network barged into Folsom this week, flexed its biceps and took control of seemingly every working detail of the Folsom-Grant encounter, turning a lot of heads and stomachs.
- It wasn’t the broadcasters or reporters or the grunt crew that laid down yards of cable or put in portable lights that muddled matters. It was the overall sense of the ESPN superiority that flustered school and district officials who did their best to make this a smooth, memorable event.
- ESPN, in conjunction with Paragon Marketing Group, requested the student bodies of both schools to engage in early morning, on-campus rallies. They pulled players out of class to do interviews.
- The coaches were glad to see ESPN arrive, then frowned as a season opener turned into a chaotic circus late in the week. And the coaches were collectively glad to send the “World Wide Leader” on its way. “Playing the game,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said, “was the easy part.”