ESPN has issued an apology to the entity overseeing the Sports Emmy Awards after admitting to the submission of fabricated names in categories where eligibility for recognition did not exist.
In a statement released on Thursday, ESPN acknowledged the wrongdoing, stating, “Some members of our team were clearly wrong in submitting certain names that may go back to 1997 in Emmy categories where they were not eligible for recognition or statuettes.”
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The scandal was exposed by The Athletic, revealing that ESPN personalities such as Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, and Desmond Howard from “College GameDay” were improperly awarded. The report clarified that there was no evidence suggesting the on-air winners were aware of the fraudulent activities. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, responsible for the Sports Emmy Awards, uncovered the deception through an investigation, prompting ESPN to conduct its own inquiry.
“This was a misguided attempt to recognize on-air individuals who were important members of our production team,” ESPN explained in its statement.
The Athletic’s report indicated that on-air talent was not allowed in the Emmy category for an outstanding weekly studio show. While hosts, analysts, and reporters on the show could win individual awards, they were prohibited from “double dipping,” as per academy regulations.
To circumvent these rules, fake names sharing initials with on-air hosts and reporters were submitted. Examples included Kirk Henry (Kirk Herbstreit), Lee Clark (Lee Corso), and Dirk Howard (Desmond Howard) appearing on credit lists as associate producers.
The Athletic’s review of credit lists for the years “College GameDay” won for best weekly show (2010-11, 2014-18) revealed several phony names. The individuals responsible for the fraud, including Craig Lazarus, Lee Fitting, and Drew Gallagher from ESPN, were ruled ineligible from future participation in the Emmys by NATAS.
Upon becoming aware of the scam, ESPN conducted an investigation with external legal counsel and disciplined individuals found responsible.
News by Breaking911