For some reason, Fox wants to ram “FUN!!!” down the viewers’ throats, and that means mostly ex-jocks braying with fake laughter and confusing bigger with better—sets, graphics, the whole shebang. While not everything on the channel is as nausea-inducing as boxing commentator/raging misogynist Chael Sonnen’s shtick, the whole “Be jocular, dammit!” vibe misses an essential point.

For devout sports fans, sports aren’t fun. Games involving their favorite teams are survival events, not opportunities to riff. Believe me, when my Bengals are playing, I am not in the mood to laugh, even when they wins. I don’t think I’m alone here. Fox should realize this, up its journalistic standards, and try to outflank ESPN by being less of a shill to its corporate masters, not by going for the drunken frat boys who apparently find ESPN too much like trigonometry.

 

Robert Weintraub is the author of The House That Ruth Built. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and Slate, and a television writer/producer based in Atlanta.