Lupica-ESPN Twitter War Headed Off At The Pass

We knew there had to be a reason for ESPN to ban its employees from Tweeting about stuff that might affect the Mother Ship. A case in point came on Monday, when ESPN THE MAGAZINE senior writer Bruce Feldman took a shot at NEW YORK DAILY NEWS hobbit Mike Lupica via the Twitter Machine.

Mike Lupica, Bruce Feldman

Feldman had taken exception to something Lupica said on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters,” and did what few in the sports media have the backbone to do these days — take Lupica to the virtual woodshed. That he did it via Twitter is both unfortunate and hilarious. Let’s take a closer look.

Here’s what Lupica said about USC football coach Pete Carroll on “The Sports Reporters.”

“Carroll is in his ninth year there, his record is 89-15, and I swear, they’ve underachieved. I really believe SC should have won more national championships than it’s won on Pete Carroll’s watch.”

Like many of us, Feldman found that statement to be nonsensical blathering. He should have written about it in a more traditional format — maybe a magazine piece on how Lupica is the most overrated columnist in America. But he chose to take a potshot on Twitter. Well, OK. And it was pretty funny:

Mike Lupica sez Pete Carroll’s team is “underachieving” Right, cause Carroll’s the one who’s been livin off his rep & mailin it in 4 years.

That Tweet got a lot of play around the ‘nets, including here, where Brooks Tweeted on it. Then “Oh no he didnt!” became literally true. That Feldman Tweet was gone. Deleted, amigo. It’s getting so that the deleted sports Tweets are a lot more entertaining than the ones that survive. If only there were a way to look up all the deleted … wait a minute … there is!

Yeah, it’s called Tweleted, and the one above is the deleted Feldman entry in all its glory. But why was it excised in the first place? ESPN made him delete it, of course. FANHOUSE explains.

Feldman later deleted the tweet from his Twitter profile, and I e-mailed him to ask him why he did it. He replied, “I thought about it last night while watching the game and figured it was out of line.”

I also e-mailed ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz, who told me, “It was inappropriate and we’ve spoken to Bruce and he completely understands.”

Of course, “thought about it last night while watching the game” actually means “I got a threatening phone call from my bosses.” But you knew that.

Meanwhile, Lupica’s reign of terror goes on virtually unchecked. Consider the charges that he’s driven away many of the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS’ finest writers with his prima dona antics, including Lisa Olson. And read what Jason Whitlock has to say about him.

“Lupica is an insecure, mean-spirited busybody. He’s upset because I put a clown suit on him on that show (”The Sports Reporters”) and in a follow-up column I wrote for ESPN. His little disingenuous overreaction to an opinion I’d stated previously on the show was staged to try to put me in a bad light. I guess no one had ever informed Mike that the E in ESPN stood for Entertainment. The Little Fella probably won’t let the producer (Joe Valerio) have me back on the show again. That’s cool.

“They’re mostly upset that I wouldn’t participate in their Barry Bonds witch hunt and help them single Bonds out as the creator of steroids. Lupica doesn’t like to be disagreed with, and he’s spoken so abusively to that producer for years that the producer probably doesn’t realize people are allowed to disagree with Lupica. I enjoyed my time on the show. But if the price of admission is stepping to Lupica’s drum, I’m more than happy to go without.”

So the verdicts are in: Twitter is fun! Lupica can be set free if you present him with a sock. Feldman: Twitter and video game privileges taken away for one week. Whitlock: Still bitter.