ESPN Cancels Sacramento’s ’30 for 30′ Over Kevin Johnson Scandal


The run of good news stories coming out of Sacramento has come to a grinding halt. ESPN just announced on Monday that Down In The Valley, the 30 for 30 that was set to debut October 20th on ESPN has been indefinitely postponed due to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s major role in the film.

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If you somehow hadn’t heard, Johnson is in the midst of some serious allegations, both of a financial and darker nature. Our Zack Zolmer went through all of these issues in his brilliant write-up of the problem with glorifying Johnson in this very 30 for 30 two full weeks ago.

Zack covered these issues better there than I could here, but the jist is that Johnson should absolutely not be a role model or a savior for the city of Sacramento. It doesn’t matter what he did for the Kings–that doesn’t make him a good person.

There appears to be credible evidence that Johnson swindled the city of Sacramento out of a whole lot of money and committed despicable acts of child molestation. I’m absolutely willing to go out and say it–if either or both of those things are true, I sincerely hope this film never sees the light of day.

The level of debauchery that professional athletes get away with in this country is disgusting. Johnson isn’t the only example of this, but his case is especially disturbing. This man is the mayor of the capital of California, and he’s been accused of molesting young girls multiple times.

Johnson isn’t the savior of any franchise, and he sure as hell shouldn’t be the mayor of any cities. If these allegations are true, he should be in jail. This isn’t just some baseless rumor–Johnson paid Mandi Koba $230,600 for her silence to ensure he didn’t have to appear in court and actually face charges, according to that Deadspin piece.

And that wasn’t the only case of Johnson taking advantage of young girls. Horrifically, he is suspected of molesting a girl attending a charter school he founded in Sacramento in 2007.

None of this information is especially new. Why ESPN waited this long to pull their movie is odd, but still it’s important to give them credit for doing what is absolutely the right thing. If these allegations are true, Kevin Johnson doesn’t deserve to be the savior of Sacramento.

I can only hope the city itself soon realizes this too. How Johnson continues to get elected is really beyond me, although Deadspin’s Dave McKenna tried his best to explain it:

"Johnson is a youngish, attractive Democrat with a reputation as a national leader on education issues, a gift for making powerful friends, and a superficially impressive background—UC Berkeley, a long run as a top NBA star, a successful business career. He’s just the sort of politician a lot of people want to believe, and a lot of people have done so. His mayoralty will even soon be the subject of a laudatory entry in ESPN’s acclaimed 30 For 30 documentary series.The scandals didn’t much matter in 2008, when he easily won election in the face of credible accusations that he’d molested teenage girls, defrauded the federal government of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and lorded over an empire of slum holdings. And they haven’t much mattered since, as he’s gone from success to success, his star rising ever higher in the Democratic Party firmament through most of his career.As mayor, he’s incurred sexual harassment charges in the course of waging a bizarre war on an obscure non-profit organization; soaked taxpayers in his hometown for hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new arena for the Sacramento Kings; and used public employees to do his own private political work while attempting to hide the evidence by keeping email records off the books, Hillary Clinton-style. Most recently—and brazenly—he got a major national law firm to sue both the city of Sacramento and the Sacramento News & Review simply because the tiny weekly newspaper had filed a public-records request."

Does this man really sound like he deserves to be honored in a documentary? Because he has been. Sacramento went ahead and showed a screening of the film tonight, and the crowd reacted with all the blissful ignorance Johnson fans have shown since he was in the NBA.

It’s despicable how many people are either unaware or completely ignore the other side of celebrities. I usually try to have clever ways to end articles, but I can’t even bring myself to have a proper conclusion here.

This man shouldn’t be a mayor or a savior–if the allegations raised against him are true, Kevin Johnson should be in jail.

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