If you haven’t seen the video yet, here it is…
Emotion is wonderful in the eyes of television producers. And while Mark Ingram’s emotion was raw and authentic when he was read a letter from his incarcerated father on Thursday night, the moment was manufactured by Suzy Kolber and ESPN.
Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Pearlman went in on the network for the way in which it blindsided Ingram:
It’s emotional manipulation. You don’t spring this sort of letter upon a 21-year-old kid on national TV. It might make for great viewing, but it’s dishonest, dishonorable and wrong. This is the life he’s been handed—a father behind bars; trying to overcome that and somehow get past it.
He should be celebrated.
I think that the concept itself was great. Kolber and her peers had a good idea and pulled it off, but they made one big mistake: they didn’t warn Ingram.
That’s what was unfair about the situation. Kolber should have, at the very least, contacted the 21-year-old ahead of time and told him that she had an e-mail from his dad. Ingram still would have become emotional, obviously, but informing him that the bombshell was coming might have given him a chance to prepare himself for the moment.
Of course, it might have also given Ingram a chance to nix the whole king. And that’s probably why that step wasn’t taken.