Ripping Darren Rovell is Fun, but We're Better Off Ignoring Him

Ripping Darren Rovell is Fun, but We're Better Off Ignoring Him

ESPN personality Darren Rovell is evocative of a cartoon shill monster.

Specifically, the villains of a “Simpsons” Halloween Special vignette. On this particular episode of the animated series, characters from advertisements came alive and grew into monsters terrorizing Springfield.

The Simpsons got rid of the monsters by following a Paul Anka jingle: “just don’t look, just don’t look.”

That’s how you get rid of cartoon villain shill monsters.

Both haters and lovers of Darren Rovell call him a shill; and he’s embraced the villain role. He’s also gotten a bit cartoonish lately with his “corporations are people” bit. Rovell is the sports media equivalent of Rush Limbaugh. However, he’s not the monster that Limbaugh is. Rovell is a blatant corporatist; and the corporatism practiced in America today is monstrous, but ripping Rovell further won’t help.

We’ll only get rid of Darren Rovell if we…”just don’t look, just don’t look.”

Deadspin published a must-read piece ripping Darren Rovell to shreds yesterday, exposing him for what he is. I’ve always said Rovell is a corporation disguised as a human being, but Drew Magary expounded that idea, and reminded us why creatures of Rovell’s ilk can be monstrous.

The whole posting is excellent, but this passage is by far the most important:

 The reason I think Darren Rovell sucks is because he represents a specific breed of self-branding shitbag. He is the guy harassing you with a LinkedIn invite every five seconds. He is the motivational speaker with a handful of self-published books sitting on a card table. He is the guy clapping enthusiastically during the unveiling of a new Pepsi can. He is the guy rehearsing his elevator pitch in the mirror before heading out to the Holiday Inn Express breakfast buffet. He’s THAT guy, and there are wayyyyy too many people like that.

 In a sputtering American economy, there is a growing number of people who are so desperate to remain afloat that they will happily allow their humanity to be subsumed by whatever stuffed-crust pizza chain employs them. They buy in all the way. And Rovell is their champion. If you want to understand how companies like Enron and Goldman Sachs can become such inhumane, awful places, Rovell is the prototype. He is strictly about the brand—the face of the enterprise


I started my MBA at Michigan State, but had to transfer twice to be closer to home due to family issues. When completing it at Loyola in ’06, I realized something about all three business schools I attended- dealing with those people was much tougher than the curriculum. Because business school is 90% d-bags like Rovell. I was surrounded by these pathetic losers so long that I became all too familiar with people pathetically identifying themselves by corporate allegiance.

Even worse, I learned to coexist with them. I even lived with/was once engaged to a corporation uber alles woman. Too many Americans have sacrificed individuality, for the sake of rigidly adhering to corporate Fascism. Darren Rovell revels in being reviled in this narrative. He’s the heel, the villain of the “free market.”

Or to use PR language, or “corporatespeak,” he welcomes his status as a “polarizing figure.”  Whenever you hear the word “polarizing” it means either “everyone is getting sick of this person’s overexposure” or “some people like him/her, but most hate.”

See Tim Tebow, Notre Dame, the Miami Heat, Lebron James, Danica Patrick, the Dallas Cowboys etc.


Rovell’s Twitter account is where he’s most “polarizing.” Many of his tweets are breaking sports news, business news and sports business news you can’t find anywhere else. If Darren Rovell wanted to be loved, he would only publish these tweets. Unfortunately, these tweets are only a small percentage of what he publishes.

The rest are:

asinine polls, insipid pointless statistics, corporate shilling, egocentric braggadocio, figures that remind you how much more momey coaches/players make than you do, OMG VCU DOESN’T HAVE A SPONSOR FOR THEIR JERSEYS! HOW CAN THEY EXIST WITHOUT A SHOE CONTRACT, arrogance for the sake of being arrogant, corporate shilling, corporate shilling, intentionally offensive tweets in order to grab attention and corporate shilling.

Therefore, Rovell keeps you around by placing the stuff you follow him for, in with all the stuff that would get anybody unfollowed.

It’s a very clever strategy; so you can’t fault him for finding a voice that everyone will have an opinion on.

However, you revoke all that credit you gave him once you realize Darren Rovell would NEVER do the things you envision yourself doing if you were in his situation.

Why does Darren Rovell engage the trolls and haters? He is notorious for often responding to many of the hate @mentions and direct messages. I know media members that have interviewed him/worked with him, and they say Darren often brings the conversation back to his haters. He’s very interested in bringing more attention on the “polarization” he causes.

Why is that?

Why can’t he just turn these people off?

Kick back and just rest easy, saying to himself: “I got the big money contract with ESPN. I get to meet Kate Upton at Playboy Super Bowl parties at the Playboy Mansion, I have 500,000 followers, and all my haters have NONE of these things. Period. They’re critiquing me at my job. I’m too important to even know/care what they do for a living.”


Darren Rovell would never do that.

He’s way too narcissistic. The hatred and backlash fuels him.


Which is why we need to stop hating on him. (I’m aware of the irony of writing something this long in order to say we should ignore him instead, so don’t bother pointing that out)

So I’ll follow my own advice here. I’m hereby terminating the Darren Rovell Award. It’s like the Darwin Award, a mocking award given to to the person/outlet who either

a.) gives us obvious product placement in their “journalism” or

b.) engages in prodigious self-promotion.

Darren Rovell Award Ring of “Honor” ends today, with just five ever recipients

Mark Silverman, President, Big Ten Network

Chicago Cubs

Terry Hutchens, Indianapolis Star

Darren Rovell, ESPN/ABC

Katie Nolan, co-host of Fox Sports 1′s talk show that no one watches

I’m going to miss the Darren Rovell Award, but we all must “incorporate” a “just don’t look, just don’t look” policy. If I can do it, you can do it. Because it’s for the greater good. It’s not about just pushing back against Rovell…it’s about pushing back against corporatism.

Magary was critical of a place “where press releases are scripture,” and that place is very real, loathsome and disgusting. Teams are writing worse press releases with even bigger lies each and every day. Whenever I get a press release from a team about tickets going on sale, or detailed ticket sales information- that’s a Darren Rovell award.

Almost every press release from NBC or ESPN is 1,000 Darren Rovell Awards in one email. CBS and Fox are really bad too, but ESPN and NBC (and Comcast SportsNet, which is owned by NBC) stand out as being the most repulsive and obnoxious.

I simply don’t have time to hand out a Darren Rovell award every time a team thinks the media’s job is to directly sell their tickets. I don’t have the energy to critique every “news” mailing from a sports media company granting self-fellatio over television ratings or “break news” that they have a broadcast to shamelessly plug.

It’s scary but Rovellian ideals (corporations are people) are winning.

Like Magary said:  “a brand isn’t anything. It’s just an abstract concept—a logo, a slogan, etc.—built mainly on lies and designed to cover up the fact that someone’s trying to part you from your money.”

Spot on. And because of this fact, a brand can be easily defeated. That’s the good news.

The only way to stop the Rovellian acolytes is to ignore them; not criticize them.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan and 1620 The Zone, he also writes for Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and Facebook

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