Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sympathy for the Devil?

Contributed by Auggie
My contempt for the sports media has been well documented in these pages, but more recently I’ve lightened my attitude. The key to my attitude adjustment is accepting the fact that the media’s true mission doesn’t necessarily meet my expectations as a consumer. Media outlets today are not about sports reporting - they are about sports commentary, opinion and hyperbole. They serve a market of sports fans that apparently thrives on this type of content. If that’s the business model that works, and the market responds, then so be it. If I don’t like it then I’m the one with the problem. Now that my expectations match reality, I simply filter out the insipid drivel and focus only on content that matters to me while my self-induced stress level plumments. However . . . I still have a set back now and again. The latest example involves Terrell Owens of the Buffalo Bills.

Let me begin by saying this: in my entire sports viewing life, there has never been an athlete I disliked more that T.O. I just can’t stand the guy. But even I have to stick up for him in this case. It seems he’s being ripped by some members of the media for not commenting after the Bill’s disappointing loss to the Patriots Monday night. Let’s see, there were 44 other active Bill’s players for the game that could have commented just as easily. Owens’ performance did not stand out positively or negatively, so why was it so important to get his take on the game? I’ll tell you why: the so-called reporters were hoping to prod him into a controversial comment that they could parlay into a “story” - a story that would spawn follow-up “stories” and faux analysis. In short, they were exhibiting the laziness we’ve come to expect and trying make their jobs easier at the expense of professional pride. Heaven forbid they would write a story about football. If T.O. had thrown one of his teammates under the bus, they would have had the story they craved, but when he doesn’t comment then he’s “not facing the music” and “not being a leader”. The guy can’t win, even when he doesn’t comment, he’s the story.

For fans interested in real football, and reporters interested in writing about football, I would recommend reading Allen Wilson of The Buffalo News. The following article provides some good insights including offensive line play, defensive formations, down field blocking, matchup advantages etc. Actual on-the-field game stuff. Thanks Allen, there is hope after all.


  1. Local media is where journalism still flourishes. They have the freedom to go in-depth. ESPN, and all 24 hr news networks are under arrest of their mission to entertain an ENTIRE nation ALL THE TIME. Anything beyond a minute and people are ready to move on.

    The story is figuring out what went wrong with the Bills monday. The coverage? Locally gets a half-hour play-by-play recap. Nationally? A minute debate on PTI... who also has to cover Sunday's games, MLB, NHL preseason, ultimate fighting and, because they are owned by Disney, Dancing with the Stars.

    I say pick sports coverage like you do fruits and veggies: LOCALLY!

  2. Good points J-Dawg. Even within the local media there are those who provide good insights, and others who gravitate toward the obvious story and seem to enjoy beating dead horses.

  3. Jeff Ryer9/17/2009

    HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumball addresses part of this topic on the current show. They are saying that the local sports coverage is dying a hastily death as the newspaper industry falls apart. Who else is going to write the good articles ?