The Yang Slinger: Vol. XII
The question I've been itching to address: Are we at a place where sports journalists can (should?) openly root for teams? Plus, five questions with Roland Lazenby and yet another journalism screw-up.
An important note before I dig into this week’s Substack.
OK, deep breaths.
Here I go …
I, Jeff Pearlman, am a dinosaur.
It’s true. At age 49, I’m an authentic journalism dinosaur. Which means a few things:
A. I came up learning to lay out newspapers (print newspapers) with actual paper, glue and exacto knives.
B. My dream as a lad was to write. And, eh, just write. Not Tweet, not become Internet famous, not to have a podcast or Twitchy Twitch or Zamboodaloo. Nope—simply produce words that appear on surfaces.
C. I love the scents of ink, paper and press box soda taps.
D. I don’t believe members of the sports media should root for teams.
That last one—it’s a dandy. It’s also why we’re here today. Or at least why I’m here today. So I’ll say it again, this time in bold type with an extra funky layout …
I don’t. And I’m not just referring to, oh, the Milwaukee Brewers beat writer doubling as an avowed Milwaukee Brewers fan (an enormous no-no, if you’re wondering). I’m talking about we, as members of the sports media, having pronounced loyalties toward this franchise or that franchise, this club or that club.
I think it’s wrong.
Actually, scratch that. I know it’s wrong.
[Again, I’m a dinosaur]
Back in the day, growing up on the mean streets of Mahopac, N.Y., I was a loyal supporter of the New Jersey Nets, the New York Jets and the New York Mets. Strangely, the team I rooted hardest for was actually the Seattle Mariners—located 2,887 miles away but employer of both a boyhood neighbor (pitcher Dave Fleming) and the son (Ken Griffey, Jr.) of my favorite ballplayer.
Man, I loved my teams. I have vivid memories of sitting before the TV in our den, football in hand, pretending to be Freeman McNeil or Wesley Walker as the Jets played the Dolphins. Or a basketball resting atop a palm as I watched Pearl Washington and Buck Williams help the Nets lose by 28 to Philly. Those were the moments that made me a sports fan and, ultimately, guided me toward the career I’ve enjoyed for nearly three decades.
And yet …
On the day I arrived at Sports Illustrated in the winter of 1996, I stopped. Cold turkey. Like an alcoholic taking his last sip of Bacardi, I liberated myself of fandom. The Nets? No longer cared. The Mets and Mariners? Goodbye. The Jets—my cherished Jets? Adios, pals.I stopped living with wins, dying with losses, and made a decision I knew had to be made. It actually went back to the lessons I learned as an undergrad at the University of Delaware, where my favorite professor was a man named Bill Fleischman. Although I thought of Bill first and foremost as a teacher, his life’s work had been covering the Flyers for the Philadelphia Daily News. By the time I arrived in Newark, Del. in 1990, Bill was one of America’s best-known hockey writers. And his reputation in the business mirrored what he told us more than once …
You cannot be a sports journalist and a fan.
This, from Bill’s 2019 Philadelphia Inquirer obituary, leaps from the page …
Bill was 80 when he died. Like me, a dinosaur of the profession. And through the myriad chats we’d have over the years, I know it bothered him to see what sports media was becoming. He didn’t understand how the title of Jerome Holtzman’s classic book, “No Cheering in the Press Box,” went from being hard-core dogma to fermented dog shit. He didn’t understand the blurring of fan and reporter. He didn’t see how one can overtly love the Philadelphia Flyers while simultaneously covering them fairly as a journalist.
None of it made sense.
And yet, here we sit on the lip of 2022, and what was up is down, what was left is right, what was standard operating procedure is now 1,000 sheets of loose leaf paper fluttering in the wind. Or, put different: When it comes to fandom, the rules of journalism are no longer the rules of journalism.
Not only is it OK to maintain your team loyalties.
It’s often (sigh) encouraged.
Soooo … is this a good thing?
“Cheering for a team undermines our credibility—but by this stage in the game, that ship has long sailed.”
The man on the other end of the line is Howard Bryant, one of the best sports journalists on the planet and someone I’ve known for a couple of decades. If Howard’s name doesn’t sound familiar, it means you don’t intake enough quality sports material. And if it does sound familiar, you’ve likely either read his ESPN columns or one of his nine books.
Again, Howard is one of the best sports journalists on the planet.
I called because I wanted to see if, perhaps, I’m all alone. I mean, times do change. And while I’ve spent much of the past 15 years either isolated in a home office or isolated in a coffee shop, Howard has worked places. He’s seen, up front, the transformation of attitudes regarding sports media and team loyalties. He’s been a part of websites and magazines.
So I asked: Am I being irrational and unrealistic?
And Howard basically divided his answer. No, I am not being irrational. Yes, I am being unrealistic.
“Being a fan is part of the brand now,” he said. “We’ve all learned along the way that we’re not supposed to have a rooting interest. But look around. Your value goes up when you either root for or root against. There’s a currency in it that people exploit.”
To be clear, to Howard those words taste like roasted dog intestine. He and I have the shared experience of long ago dumping our childhood allegiances, and we agree it’s not particularly difficult. “It’s the job,” he said. “Period—it’s the job. You’re supposed to say goodbye to those loyalties. When I speak to college journalists about this, I ask them what they want to do. If you wanna be part of the clown show, embrace debate and go on TV—hey, by all means go partisan. But if you want credibility and to be taken seriously and cover important subjects, cut that shit out and don’t do it. Let’s say, for example, you’re covering the lockout. How are players supposed to trust you during a lockout if you’re a die-hard Red Sox fan? Why would they trust you, confide in you when they know you’re loyal to the organization?
“It’s childish,” Howard said. “You and I—we’re in the minority. But it’s still childish.”
I want to pause here.
Just for a second.
In the course of researching this week’s Substack, I engaged with about, oh, 40 people from the industry. And what became clear quite quickly is a divide. The Divide. Basically, there are two camps—those who believe sports journalists can root for teams, those who believe they should not. And the dividing line (with some definite blurring) seems to involve two factors:
Age and experience
First—age: If you’re older than, oh, 35 and have spent more than a decade as a reporter, odds are strong you came along in a world where a Bill Fleischman hammered home the point that media+fandom=bullshit. Tyler Dunne, the longtime football writer who now runs his own fantastic Substack, grew up attending Packer games at Lambeau Field with his father. “Those trips to Green Bay were the best times of my life,” Tyler DMed me. “But once I got into college at Syracuse, and started interning out in Green Bay at 19 and 20, I shed that fandom immediately. You root for the story, not the team. That was all thankfully beat into my head at a young age.”
When I texted Lori Nickel, the superb Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist, to ask what she thought of our cheering/rooting colleagues, I felt her distaste leap from the phone. Like Howard and Tyler, Lori is a traditionalist who has devoted herself to the pursuit of unbiased-as-possible coverage. “The only thing we can try to achieve in journalism is to be reputable,” she said. “And that means any attempt to be fair is appreciated. You can’t possible objectively cover the downside of a golfer if you’re a huge fan of him and his phenomenal play. You can’t possible objectively cover a Big Ten match-up if you openly root for your alma mater which is one of those teams. You can’t cover the Tour de France if you have an American bias and you can’t cover the Olympics fairly if you think Americans should dominate the gold medal count. The fact that we are seeing this more and more, especially with young journalists, is concerning to me. It is an indication of: They didn’t go to journalism school at all and didn’t take an ethics course. Or even journalism 101. Or they are former athletes themselves who will always favor certain programs and teams. And also didn’t take ethics courses.”
Lori is correct. I’m not even sure there’s an argument to be made against anything she said. Sports journalists sign an invisible contract to be fair, to be accountable, to be unbiased. It’s there—even if you don’t see it—in the ghosts of Red Smith and David Halberstam; of Ralph Wiley and Dan Jenkins. Hell, it’s literally the late Holtzman’s book title. We do not cheer in the press box. Ever.
But then there’s No. 2—medium. And the question: Are we, America’s sports writers, living beneath the same professional umbrella as, say, ESPN anchors and sideline reporters?
Scott Van Pelt, the funny and talented SportsCenter king, lets it be known he’s a Washington Wizards, Capitols, Nationals and Football Team fan. Mike Greenberg loves the New York Jets, as does the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen. The one I find most fascinating is Mina Kimes, ESPN’s NFL analyst, a fantastic writer and a person sporting a Seattle Seahawks-related tattoo on her arm. Back in 2014 Mina—a business reporter at the time—explained the ink in this enjoyable essay, and the end result was a job offer from ESPN. Which, admittedly, is sorta surprising, because not all that long ago sporting a Seattle Seahawks-related tattoo would result in a person not landing a job in sports media. Mina, however, was hired, and wound up writing a slew of features on NFL players before transitioning strictly to television.
From afar, I have never much cared for this sort of thing. I like Mina, I like Mina’s writing, I like Mina’s willingness to help young journalists. Clearly, she’s a good egg and she didn’t get the tattoo while working as a sports media member. But … I dunno. Can one fairly opine on a league when she openly roots for one of the teams? Can there be a lack of bias when one is biased?
So I texted Mina and asked.
She (kindly) replied …
And … I get it. Sincerely. Even 13 years Mina’s senior, having never worked for a network, I get it. The point is a sound one: Look, I’m not reporting. I’m analyzing. And since most people know about my Seahawks ties, I just need to be extra careful. I cannot write this entry and say, definitively, Mina is wrong. There is no wrong, per se.
But here’s my gut feeling: Perception is reality. That’s not always fair, but it’s almost always true. If I know the person feeding me NFL insights is a Seahawks fan, I’ll see what I want to see. If I hate the Seahawks, every negative point Mina makes on the 49ers or Rams will come down to my knowledge that she’s a diehard Seattle loyalist and deliberately shitting on my club. If I love the Seahawks, that imaginary kinship with Mina means I’ll read her positive takes (“Russell Wilson belongs in the Pro Bowl”) as a fellow fan doing our team right. It actually renders all efforts to be fair and balanced moot, because with bias there is no fair and balanced. This applies to folks like Van Pelt and Greenberg as well. If I know you want a team to win, why should I consider your takes authentic? Even if you are busting your ass to be authentic?
I recently had a fascinating discussion about this very subject with Kavitha Davidson, the Athletic’s former investigative writer, HBO Real Sports contributor and avowed New York Yankees fan. Like Mina, Kavitha sports a team tattoo (hers, I believe, is the Yankee symbol) and roots openly for the Bronx Bombers. And, like Mina, it makes me (journalistically) queasy. Do I think Kavitha is a deliberately biased reporter? Fuck no. The opposite—she’s dogged, determined, hard-nosed, exhaustive. But (and this is an enormous but), by publicly embracing the Yankees she opens herself to a boatload of criticism. Example: Let’s say Kavitha writes about Trevor Bauer, the Dodgers pitcher accused of various sexual assault allegations. But she doesn’t write about Aroldis Chapman’s domestic assault issues. What am I, the reader, supposed to think? How can I not jump to some sort of conclusion? And if she does write about Chapman, I’m looking to find spots where she went easy. And the crazy thing is—even if they don’t exist, I’ll find them. And even if Scott Van Pelt isn’t going soft on Ron Rivera, I’ll figure out how he’s gone soft on Ron Rivera. This doesn’t mean they are going soft (again, both are exceptional at their jobs). But it all comes back to perception being reality, and reality being perception.
One of my profound sports media disappointments is Michael Wilbon, who once reigned as one of America’s fantastic columnists at the Washington Post. I mean, the guy was a Top 5 scribe—and unbiased in his etchings without fail. When he left for ESPN, and made the leap toward TV, all of that changed. He’s now a stated-and-stated-and-stated again rabid Cubs fan. One of the biggest Cubs fans. And when I see him blathering on about anything Chicago-related, my first thought is, “Who gives a shit? This guy is compromised.” I have no reason to buy anything he says, because it comes from the perspective of a fan—not a researcher, not a digger, not a person with 20/20 vision working to offer viewers a nuanced and informed take.
If you’ve been trapped beneath a piece of heavy furniture, this whole debate dates back 20 years, when ESPN.com hired a man out of Boston to be The Sports Guy.
His name was Bill Simmons.
Before Bill came along, ESPN.com columnists did what all sports columnists pretty much do. This player choked because of X. This coach should be fired because of Y. Here’s an amazing story of a kid with cancer who loves the Red Wings. Here’s another amazing story of an athlete’s wife who saves zebras.
Bill was different. He wrote from the vantage point of a guy on his couch, complaining about the sorts of things all (sports-loving) guys on their couches complain about. Clemens sucks. The Celtics need rebounding. This Brady dude has talent. And before long, The Sports Guy was a national phenomenon and ESPN.com’s readership exploded. Which was cool, because Bill is a legitimately funny and original voice who entertained scores of people.
What should have been a one-off, um, wasn’t a one-off. With the rise of Bill Simmons came the simultaneous rise of the idea that, hey, this letting-everyone-know-you’re-a-fan thing might (cha-ching) work. “When the most famous sports writer has an active rooting interest, that resonates,” said Richard Deitsch, the fantastic Athletic media writer. “I’m not sure he was the first, but he was the biggest in terms of a well-known sports writer actively connectng to certain teams.”
Pre-Simmons, aspiring sports journalists attended college and learned about the division of church and state. Post-Simmons, it’s super murky. “Everything has changed so much,” said Lisa Olson, a former New York Daily News columnist who now teaches journalism at Arizona State’s Cronkite School. “First, because there are so many more students who want to be sports journalists now than when we were coming up. But also, there are so many jobs nowadays where you can root. Where you’re almost encouraged to root. I can’t blame the students. Many of them arrive as sports fans, and they see peers get jobs working for TV stations, wearing Arizona team T-shirts on the air. It’s a different world.”
I asked a couple of younger writers whether they think it’s OK to remain a fan of a team, and—with near-100-percent agreement—the answer was, well, yeah. Zeke Warren-Weigmann, recent winner of the Big Scribble college journalism contest, said he has no problem with fans knowing what teams writers support. “It may even increase your credibility,” he said. “Let fans know you’re one of them and have gone through their pain/joy as well.” Luca Evans, the pride of Chapman University and a Los Angeles Time stringer, added that, “I think the majority of sportswriters start out having a deep love of one or a few teams and that’s what starts them in the business.
“I think that’s impossible to truly eliminate.”
Maybe Luca is right.
But, in this case, I don’t think so.
This is (admittedly) going to sound a bit asshole-ish, but after spending so many of these years interviewing athletes, interviewing owners, watching games, watching loyalists, seeing stadiums built, seeing stadiums demolished, watching players drafted, watching players fade away, seeing the impact of knee injuries and shoulder injuries and CTE and on and on …
I don’t get being a sports journalist and remaining a fan.
I get loving sports—because I still do. I get the thrill of a 500-foot home run, of a 90-yard touchdown scamper. I can appreciate the brilliance of Daniil Medvedev, the explosiveness of Tyreek Hill, the savvy of Candace Parker. The colors. The sounds. The smells. But, as I sit here four months away from my 50th birthday, I do not understand experiencing all I’ve experienced and still remaining steadfastly loyal to … laundry. Because, Seinfeld jokes be damned, that’s what you’re rooting for: Laundry. Save the green and white uniforms, there is no real tie between the Richard Todd Jets of my wide-eyed childhood and the Zach Wilson Jets of today (Hell, I’m old enough to be Wilson’s father). The team is a multi-gazillion dollar company that sells apparel, food and unjustifiably expensive tickets. Why would I view this the same way I did as a kid with zits and a retainer?
And really, that’s what it all comes down to for me. Although my early interest in pursuing sports journalism was certainly tied to men like Todd and Dwight Gooden and Michael Ray Richardson, it changed quickly. It became about telling a great story. It became about plopping down across from someone legitimately interesting and hearing what they had to say. It became about sitting courtside at a Suns-Bulls game and thinking, “Man, this is sweet.” It became about seeing phenomenal plays made by phenomenal athletes, and being gifted with a paycheck to chronicle the moments.
If I’m an aspiring sports journalist, and I want to sustain a career, that’s what I’d keep in mind. This job has its share of shit stains, but it remains a profession that’s brought me far more joy than pain.
And like Howard Bryant and Lori Nickel and Tyler Dunne and the late Bill Fleischman (RIP), the keys to survival have been working hard, thinking outside the box and showing myself to be an unbiased, uncompromised professional. In this era of #fakenews and endless attacks on the press, where everyone presumes we’re compromised and full of shit, it’s the one antidote I can think of.
Is it the only way to make it? No.
Is it the most lucrative way to make it? Probably not.
But it’s our way.
And I believe in its righteousness.
The Quaz Five with … Roland Lazenby
When I began work on my 1980s Lakers bio, “Showtime,” I wondered how Roland Lazenby would feel. I mean, the guy has a long career chronicling the team, which means there’s a universe where he views my efforts as encroachments on his turf. Well, turns out Roland isn’t merely one helluva scribe, but a classy and good person to boot. He also happens to be working on a Magic Johnson bio, which I’m sure will be great. One can follow Roland on Twitter here and buy his books wherever these things are peddled.
1. Why do you continue to put yourself through the torture of writing books?: It is torture. But I like researching and writing. I discovered a while back that it’s first about your emotional relationship with the research. Then it’s about the writing. Also, writing is so idea-based, not just in the topic but in the development of all the details. And I love ideas, maybe too much sometimes. Also I love looking for things that nobody else, or few other people, know.
2. When you hear someone say, "I wanna write a book!"—what's your general response?: Well, I taught writing in college for 21 years, so I’m sort of a grease monkey about it. Let’s put up the hood and see why this sucker won’t start. I enjoy visiting with people about their writing projects. I do that a bit. Like any published writer, I tend to have a number of folks reach out about their writing. I was a terrible student in school so I can also relate to people who approach writing without thinking they’re Earnest Hemingway.
3. I got the impression you enjoyed writing/researching the Jordan book more than the Kobe book. Why?: Both books produced tremendous burnout for me, but the Kobe book was much more difficult. It took me about three years to write the Jordan book, and so much of it was truly fun discovery. However, the work load was so heavy, I got burned out, recovered, then got burned out again, the recovered again. I wanted to do another book rather than Kobe, but my editor used analytics to say Kobe was the book I should do. Then he gave me a ten-month deadline, which was ridiculous and impossible. I finished the book in twelve months. But I ended up with a contract editor who had never edited a book before. Worst of all, my sister died the day I turned the book in. So I had all of this anger because I was so busy with the book I didn’t realize she was as ill as she was. Then my anger fed into all the mess with the inexperienced editor. I don’t even like writing about it here because it still pisses me off. I am glad I did the book; however, I needed another year with it. The Kobe book left me with tremendous burnout. Never thought I’d write again. But now I’m finishing up a project that I’ve spent three years on, a bio of Magic Johsnon.
4. Do you find modern sports as intriguing/interesting as sports from your boyhood, or the 80s/90s? Can you muster the same enthusiasm for modern topics?: No, I enjoyed immensely being there for both Jordan and Kobe, watching them compete up close and writing about them, getting to know Tex Winter so well, then getting to process it all years later and write biographies about them. I’m angry that the suits in basketball have juiced the game the way they have today. I played a year of college football and got away from really enjoying that sport. Strangely, however, I have really rediscovered the joy of being a football fan, both college and pro, in the past few years.
5. Rank in order (favorite to least): A.C. Green. Coke Zero, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Bob Gibson, Peter Criss, Costco, Tupac Shakur, electrical tape: 1. Bob Gibson, my main childhood sports hero, not from watching him on TV at first but from reading about him in the newspaper. He was such a badass. 2. Tupac. He opened up hiphop for me. 3. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. This is a lie. I probably like them best of all. 4. Electrical tape has some use. 5. A.C. Green. Is a nice enough guy. But I never related to him on those Laker rosters. Perhaps he served a higher purpose by offering a contrast to what was going on around him. 6. Peter Criss. Love music, even have a son who’s a musician. But never much of a KISS fan. Didn’t dislike them. Just not all that interested. 7. Costco. Never shopped there in my life, at least not that I recall. 8. Coke Zero. I’m a Pepsi guy, Diet Pepsi, which is like crack for me, although I usually limit the number of them I drink.
This week’s college writer you should follow on Twitter …
Aubriana Lowery, Alcorn State University senior and contributor to The Campus Chronicle.
So Lowery clearly does an excellent job covering Alcorn’s football team, and her article archive is definitely worth perusing. But what really caught my eye was this simple-yet-stunning offering that has little to do with journalism and everything to do with heart …
Aubriana is on Twitter here. Bravo, kid …
Yet another story of one of my myriad career fuckups …
I had a brief run as a Tennessean music writer. This was around 1995, and a sweet gig. Tom Roland covered country (we were in Nashville, remember), and I got all the other genres.
Well, one night I was sent out to review Sheryl Crow, who was performing live at the Ryman Auditorium. It was a brilliant two hours of music, and when I returned to the office I had roughly 45 minutes to file.
So I typed and typed and typed, read it over on the quick—then (poof!) sent it in.
The next morning someone asked, “Did Sheryl Crow cover Elvis?”
Um, not that I’m aware of.
“Weird, because you had her singing ‘Viva Las Vegas.’”
As opposed to (glub) “Leaving Las Vegas.”
Random journalism musings for the week …
Musing 1: It’s an understandable belief to think there’s nothing left to write about Tom Brady, Tampa Bay’s 147-year-old quarterback and subject of only 800,001 profiles these past few years. Well, then Jon Wertheim steps up with his Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year piece. And it’s … magical. Worth reading, x 1,000.
Musing 2: Since we’re on the topic of Sports Illustrated, when did it become OK/normal for a news publication to offer “prayers up” to athletes and teams? I know it’s something people say, and that’s obviously appropriate. But why is SI’s Twitter feed offering prayers up to anybody? Your role (the role of a news outlet) is to report, convey, explain. Not offer hopes and prayers. So, seriously, cut the shit. It’s stupid. Also, not for nothing, prayer is a real thing. Like, people actually believe in prayer. The 23-year-old kid responsible for SI’s Twitter feed is merely writing the words, not (likely) praying. So it’s even worse than first blush—it’s lip service. And my guess (as an agnostic Jew) is that the 23-year-old SI intern typing “prayers up” for a fallen athlete will not produce the desired healing.
Musing 3: One of the year’s most fascinating journalistic voices has to be Serena Daniari, who covers trans issues for them.us. Serena’s piece earlier this year, “The Joys and Fears of Transitioning During a Pandemic,” is must-read, and also speaks to yet another subject/group of people who are terribly unaccounted for in mainstream news. This recent Q&A with Daniari is fantastic.
Musing 4: In case you missed this one, a batshit crazy legal decision against the New York Times strikes me as a legitimate threat to the First Amendment (that’s not the one concerning guns). Justice Charles Wood of the Westchester County Supreme Court directed the newspaper to return to Project Veritas any physical copies of legal memos prepared by one of the group's lawyers, and to destroy electronic versions. This after Project Veritas objected to a Nov. 11 Times piece that drew from the legal memos and purported to reveal how the group worked with its lawyers to "gauge how far its deceptive reporting practices can go before running afoul of federal laws." A.G. Sulzberger, New York Times publisher, said the ruling would be appealed, and it the next day it was …
Musing 5: Really strong work here from Emma Gilchrist of The Narwhal beneath the headline, STOP ASKING IF JOURNALISM IS OBJECTIVE. START ASKING IF IT’S RESPONSIBLE. Money point: “When a traditional news outlet that receives millions of dollars in fossil fuel advertising revenues calls Indigenous people on their unceded land ‘protesters,’ that choice conveys a point of view just as much as when The Narwhal chooses to call those same people ‘land defenders.’ One happens to come from a colonial, corporate worldview, while the other is more informed by an Indigenous worldview. But let’s be very clear: both represent a choice.”
Musing 6: Heartbreaking to learn of the passing of Jeff Dickerson, an ESPN Chicago veteran who died at 44 of colon cancer. Jeff leaves behind an 11-year-old son, Parker, who has lost both parents to cancer. Kevin Seifert with this ode to a good man/journalist.
Musing 7: So this week marks the 22nd anniversary of my John Rocker profile in Sports Illustrated. I was 27 when it came out, and the lesson that’s stuck with me: Don’t make yourself part of the story. In the immediate aftermath of publication, it was decided that I would do a single radio interview (with WFAN), then stay quiet. I didn’t know what to make of the strategy, but it was 100-percent correct. As Rocker danced the fool’s jig and dug a deeper and deeper hole, I remained silent. I was the writer, not the subject.
Musing 8: New Two Writers Slinging Yang stars Steve Cannella, co-editor in chief of Sports Illustrated and my former patrner on the baseball beat. We go back 22 years and break down this amazing/nightmarish project. Link to the episode here.
Quote of the week …
I will note, I still pay attention to the exploits of the University of Delaware. I don’t root for them. I don’t care whether they win or lose. It impacts me 0%. But I do pay some attention.
Writing books is not a social endeavor.
In a way, busting your ass to be fair makes you less fair. If you think about it.
I agree with you and put away my fandom in college once I began reporting on the team(s). It drives me bonkers to see other reporters not do that, and I see it especially with local TV sports reporters. I'm not surprised anymore that local news anchors dress in team colors, but it's become the case even more so with sports reporters on TV — and especially with team reporters. I believe there should be a clear separation there, too, but that's rarely the case.
Announcers using "we," "our," and "us," is unlistenable and so is team reporters tweeting "Our fifth win in a row!!!"
Jeff, I love the substack, I’m guessing there’s a digital/business reason for this but when I get it in my email only half of it displays and then I have to click a link at the bottom to see the other half. Why is this?
And no, you obviously cannot root for the teams you are covering. How is this even a question?
I am embarrassed for the local TV anchors who are wearing the team’s jersey on air, would they wear a policeman’s outfit when covering a cop story?