After a tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, ESPN has instructed its staff to refrain from tweeting about sports until noon Sunday, according to internal emails obtained by Deadspin. The network has also eliminated the “Showdown Sunday” label for NFL football games and asked that editorial staff not use the word “shooter” in the context of sports.
Bristol is about 30 miles from Newtown.
ESPN plans to have all on-air personalities open by acknowledging the tragedy, then move into sports-world reaction to the shooting before actually starting highlights or analysis. Additionally, details of the shooting will not be addressed, just general acknowledgements that it occurred.
Anyone covering sports is in a difficult position for the immediate future. While continuing to cover sports can be viewed as insensitive, it also isn’t necessarily prudent to take away from legitimate news coverage of events by moving outside the normal realm of competition. There aren’t necessarily any right or wrong answers, but it is an interesting philosophical question.