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Hell froze over yesterday when ESPN named Robert Lipsyte as its new ombudsman.

Lipsyte is the former New York Times sports columnist and prolific author (his young adult novels are perhaps his most enduring and important work). To say that I admire his body of social criticism is a little like saying an ant admires Pixar Studios’ A Bug’s Life.

Marc Tracy has a good piece about this development in The New Republic: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/113010/espn-ombudsman-robert-lipsyte-interviewed-marc-tracy#.

Yesterday I emailed Bob, who has become a friend, my congratulations … sort of. I also sent him the link to my skeptical essay about ombudspersons in general, and ESPN’s ilk in particular: “Sports Journalists and the Great ESPN Co-Opt (Continued),” January 30, 2006, http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=2886.

Bob wrote back, “Thanks, Irv. I’ve tucked that baby in my new ESPN file. I know I don’t have to tell you to keep me honest.”

Irv Muchnick

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