ESPN’s baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza was just hired by the New York Mets as baseball operations adviser to the general manager, constituting a conflict of interest when she reports on the sport for the TV network. In addition, she can’t report “anything she gleans from our operation,” the Mets manager Brodie Van Wagenen told New York Times.
“Her focus will be in the areas of player evaluation, roster construction, technological advancement and health and performance,” the Mets said in a press statement, noting her dual role at ESPN.
ESPN spokesperson Josh Krulewitz told iMediaEthics by e-mail, “There are numerous examples across networks of these type of arrangements where commentators work closely with teams, and we will be fully transparent about Jessica’s relationship with the Mets. We have complete faith in her ability as a leading MLB voice for ESPN.”
However, not everyone shares that sanguine attitude, as the New York Times has noted. “The network has long covered sports while also paying leagues billions of dollars each year to air them, and it has increasingly seen its own employees blur the lines between covering and participating in sports,” the newspapers reported.
In addition, the Washington Post reported that Mendoza isn’t the first ESPN employee to have a dual role. “Her partner in ESPN’s Sunday night booth, Alex Rodriguez, is an adviser for the crosstown Yankees,” the Washington Post reported. “Another ESPN analyst, David Ross, calls games and is also a special assistant in the Chicago Cubs’ baseball operations department.”