ESPN didn't kill rollerblading. Skateboarding did. ESPN doesn't cover rollerblading in North America anymore because North American skateboard marketing successfully convinced teenagers that rollerblading was gay. Worldwide, ESPN still covers a shitload of rollerblading at X Games Asia
, for example.
Killed vert skateboarding? You must be referring to the controversy over ESPN's short-lived decision to eliminate skateboard vert from Summer X 14. Skateboard vert has been reinstated to Summer X 14
however. If your interest in the information went beyond a desire to impress your friends with a sure-to-be-popular dissing of ESPN, you might have already known that.
They bastardize every sport they touch. If by "bastardize" you mean, "bring sports to an audience that otherwise would never have seen them," you're absolutely right.
ESPN's target market might be "toolbags, rednecks, and jocks." I don't know, I haven't seen their press kit. Regardless, thanks to ESPN, those toolbags, jocks, and rednecks think that skiing is cool now, and love people like Simon Dumont and Tanner Hall because they're sick skiers.
If Sportscenter makes you want to chop your balls off, do yourself, everybody around you, and especially those who will exist in the future a favor and do it already.
Who doesn't hate hockey?