Even though the ball's still in ESPN's court, it looks as though they're going to drop it.

At one time the nation's foremost go-to sports channel, ESPN has been in a steady downward spiral. The network reportedly has lost 87.8 million subscribers, according to Nielsen, and continually loses paid viewers each month.

In November alone, ESPN lost over 600,000 subscribers, its worst month ever, PJ Media reported. The Walt Disney owned sports network then announced in January it was laying off 100 staffers due to the decline in viewership.

What's been happening at ESPN?

Liberal politics -- that's what.

According to Heatstreet, "growing evidence would suggest the subscriber slump is also driven, in part, by viewer disgust with ESPN’s politics. The network has become increasingly liberal of late, not bothering to disguise the left-wing sympathies of its presenters and commentators."

The network increasingly has narrowed its focus on a core audience of black and Latino viewers -- to the exclusion of white subscribers, who also like to watch hockey and NASCAR.

More and more, ESPN talking heads have traded traditional sports talk for liberal mantras and various other manifestations of leftist thought.

Notes ESPN public editor Jim Brady: "As I wrote in November, the desire to draw a boundary between sports, culture and politics is a fool’s errand. The volume of non-sports content within ESPN’s empire has increased significantly in recent years. Some of that has been driven by the athletes ESPN covers, who have, in recent years, begun to speak more forcefully about societal and political issues. Some of it has resulted from the breakdown of the wall between on-field and off-field activities, thanks to the explosion of social media and proliferation of media sources that make any utterance by any sports figure potential news."

ESPN needs to get its programming orientation straight. Either its purpose is to cover sports or its mission is to spout liberal political views. It can't have both and hope to survive.

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