ESPN Tabs Potentially Conflicted "Labor Analyst"

By Noah Davis 

Be prepared for a lot more Russ Granik.

The man who announced the second round of the NBA lottery and negotiated the last four collective bargaining agreements will work for ESPN as “labor analyst.”

In his position, blog inspiration Granik will attempt to explain to the Worldwide Leader’s viewing audience what’s going on in the negotiations between management and the players’ union in both sports.

But can a person so closely affiliated with the NBA – he served as deputy commissioner for 22 years before stepping down in 2006 – be an unbiased observer?

It shouldn’t be that difficult for him to just offer the black and whites of any potential NFL deals. On some level, labor negotiations are all similar, and his experience dealing with the NBA ones will help him explain what’s happening in football. In fact, having someone who isn’t involved with the NFL might actually be a boon as he’s unlikely to be swayed by the rhetoric spewing from each camp.

The NBA, however, is another story.

More troubling than Granik’s time with the NBA is his other employer, Galatioto Sports Partners, a firm that specializes in making money when teams are sold. Yahoo’s Kelly Dwyer points out the potential conflicts.

Granik is second in command at this collective, which essentially acts as a go-between when it comes time for an NBA team to change ownership hands. It will be an interesting balancing act for the pundit to-be, especially if he tries to cry poverty on the NBA’s behalf while GSP’s own website touts the lucrative selling of the Golden State Warriors for a record $450 million last summer.

So is Granik’s knowledge a benefit to ESPN? Absolutely. Will he do a good job? We can’t see why not. But just remember where he’s coming from when his head pops up to answer Hannah Storm’s killer questions.