The Mating Call of Roger Goodell — Or, What’s Really Happening to Sports Journalism Today

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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86 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak
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    Sports journo’s especially SI and ESPN are solidly in bed with the leagues they cover especially the NFL. They depend on access from the league and have repeatedly pushed league talking points. I guess Grantland dude missed the guys from ESPN who were wondering if Rice’s 2 game suspension was to much. Peter King and the big ESPN NFL guys all parroted the league message that if we knew what was in the second video, before it came out, we would view Rice differently. It is easier to make a point if you ignore all the evidence that doesn’t fit.Report

  2. Avatar George Turner
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    Roman sportswriters and fans didn’t get too worked up about an athlete who’d committed violence, even multiple murders, in public. That was kind of the point of being an athlete, unless you’re one of those people who consider chariot racing a “real” sport (those folks evolved into NASCAR fans).

    The sportswriters could easily swing the other way on a player and portray him as a villain without doing much to hurt his marketability, because people love watching villains, too. Just look a professional wrestling.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to George Turner
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      Average age of death for chariot racers was 22, apparently. Plenty of murder and death there too…Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to George Turner
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      Justinian I was almost overthrown by a mob of enraged chariot-racing fans. He’d have fled the city rather than face them. Took his wife to order the top general and about a thousand soldiers into the stadium to kill 30,000 of them, and then to later crucify the guy who they acclaimed their new Emperor despite the fact that he seemed to have nothing to do with it. Point is, it was sports fans — followers of the Blues and the Greens — who did it. Think soccer hooliganism meets Kent State meets Srebrenica.Report

  3. Avatar Murali
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    I didn’t watch through the whole of Michael Jordan’s speech, but which part was supposed to reveal that he was bitter and vindictive?Report

    • Avatar Mo in reply to Murali
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      Aside from the part where he flew out the guy that made varsity ahead of him in high school just to point out that their high school coach made a big mistake?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mo
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        It seemed to me as though Jordan was saying it motivated him, that he wanted to prove to the coach that it was a mistake.

        Maybe I’m somehow unable to recognize bitterness and vindictiveness, but I’ve been hearing for years about this speech, and it’s the first time I’ve listened to it, and my response was like Nob’s. To me the whole speech sounded like “I was driven because every time someone go the better of me or said they were going to get the better of me I had to meet that challenge.” And it sounded like it was meant to be a little more funny than it was, but I attributed it to poor delivery– not everyone’s a comedian.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Mo
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        I didn’t watch the speech, but I skimmed a text version I found online, and I didn’t notice anything that struck me as particularly vindictive, either.

        Now, I only skimmed the speech. So maybe I skipped over something. I didn’t spend 23 minutes listening to something, maybe there’s a bit in his tone of voice that suggests the vindictive attitude. Finally, I’m not into sports and I don’t understand the sub-cultures and I don’t even know much about Jordan’s public image. So maybe there’s something shockingly arrogant I just don’t understand.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Mo
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        @james-hanley It’s one thing to bring it up, it’s another thing to fly the guy that made the team ahead of you to your NBA HOF induction just to rub it in his face that you were the better player. It would be like a Nobel Prize in Physics winner flying out his high school valedictorian to the award ceremony and taunting him with, “Who is smarter now?”Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mo
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        Is that what Jordan was doing?

        Maybe?

        I think it could be read as “my success all started with this guy, because he was the first challenge I had to overcome,” and as giving that guy some recognition by inviting him to be one of the select at the induction of perhaps the greatest player ever, so we could look at that guy and know, “once he was better than Jordan, and we, never in our lives, were ever, ever, better than Jordan.”

        he started the whole process with me, because when he made the team and I didn’t, I wanted to prove not just to Leroy Smith, not just to myself, but to the coach that picked Leroy over me, I wanted to make sure you understood – you made a mistake dude.

        I read that as Jordan saying he had the responsibility to demonstrate to his coach that he should have kept him (MJ)–not, “the coach made a dumb mistake,” but “I had to get better and then let the coach see that.”

        I don’t know–do we know if Leroy Smith felt honored to be there, or whether he felt humiliated? Trying to dig around online, I can’t find a direct answer to that, but what I do find is that Leroy Smith seems to be a guy with a great sense of humor who had some fun with his 15 minutes of fame. So, how much are either of us sure we’re reading Jordan’s speech right vs. how much we’re determining Leroy Smith’s feelings without having any idea what he actually thought about it?Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Mo
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        I had never heard of the speech except for the paragraph that Tod Kelly wrote before it. It didn’t strike me as vindictive either. I mean, competitiveness is kind of a jerk trait, and there was plenty of it, but I didn’t feel like he was any worse than that.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mo
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        And not that I have any particular devotion to Jordan, but this article, from when he tried minor league ball, presents a different side of him.

        One day at his house I saw him studying a booklet put out by the White Sox, containing pictures of all the players and staff members. He was looking at it for 20 minutes, and finally I figured out what he was doing. He was learning the names-matching the names with the faces. When he went into the clubhouse, he wanted to make sure that no one-ballplayer, locker attendant, equipment man-felt awkward about saying hello to him. He wanted to be able to say their names first. …

        Major league baseball is a sport in which many players are casually rude to fans, refusing to stop to sign autographs or even wave hello. Jordan, at the end of his hitless days, almost always worked his way down the stands, meeting the customers and signing whatever they handed to him. Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the White Sox, stood in right field of Ed Smith Stadium after one game, observing Jordan with the fans, and said, “I hope the other players are watching him. They might finally learn something.”

        I’m not suggesting he’s a saint, mind you. But I wonder if he’s not just fallibly human, and the reaction to an acceptance speech that wasn’t entirely gracious might be overdone precisely because we had–consciously or not, with intent or not–had a vision of him as superhuman.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy
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    This might seem like needlessly splitting hairs, but Jordan’s off-the-court/off-camera terribleness was well known to fans and sports writers alike. If all you consumed was PR, yea, I guess you wanted to “Be like Mike” but anyone who paid any real attention to the sport knew the guy was a dick through and through.Report

  5. Avatar Jim Heffman
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    Maybe they’re playing a tune you like, but that doesn’t mean it stopped being a bandwagon.Report

  6. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto
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    I dunno, have you looked at the things Rush Limbaugh is saying lately? Subscribing to his newsletters and supporting him seem pretty objectively pro-rape, pro-objectification, and pro-domestic violence. (Not to mention all the lamenting about the “pussification” of men on FNC)Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Nob Akimoto
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      Let me clarify: This isn’t to imply your father is pro-domestic violence or pro-rape, but that there’s a certain misogynistic set of attitudes that seems to be coloring a lot of conservasphere media these days.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Nob Akimoto
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        I don’t disagree but Rush Limbaugh is not sports media. His stint as an announcer not withstanding.

        That being said, I don’t know if Tod is completely right. I think the Internet is allowing for sports journalism to exhibit more than one variety of storytelling and this includes allowing liberals to become sports journalists. I don’t think a place like Grantland could exist as a non-internet operation. Or Slate’s sports coverage. Before then, sports coverage was largely about the play by play and what happened on field. An organization like Slate or Grantland can’t do stuff like that and has no need to. They can get behind the scenes though and like a social and cultural issues.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Nob Akimoto
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        The fact that Grantland can exist and allow horrible idiots like Bryan Curtis to write horrendous columns like the one he wrote, and the fact that ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith is still employed (not to mention for that matter his frequent sparring pattern and contender for “Most Wrong Person in the World” Skip Bayless) probably goes against the theory that sports journalism is somehow a big PC leftist conspiracy.

        Hell, Bill Simmons wrote some of the most blatantly sexist crap one will read outside of Maxim commenting threads in his Big Book of Basketball and ESPN gave him an autonomous website as a reward. I mean he’s been on the right side of this Ray Rice thing, but the man’s hardly a paragon of even moderately feminist virtue.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Nob Akimoto
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        Boy, it’s enough to make you just want to slap whoever came up with that dumb old First Amendment thing.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Nob Akimoto
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        Yes, because the first amendment has something to do with who private entities can publish and who we find tasteful in entertainment roles.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Nob Akimoto
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        @saul-degraw I disagree. A lot of the more in depth stuff existed long before the web. SI used to be quite good at it. They’ve since devolved in the web era as they tried to catch up with the ESPN and Deadspins of the world and even in newspapers, you had guys like Jim Murray who were writing about much more than just play by play.

        My opinion of Grantland is that, while it tosses bones to fans, it is far more targeted to people who don’t care about sports per se, but like talking about the things around sports.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Nob Akimoto
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        I dunno, Mo, SI has always been best known for big glossy photographs – and big glossy photographs of bikini models. (and football phones)Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Nob Akimoto
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        K, that’s definitely what they were best known for, but they always had a few excellent, in depth investigative reports a year (most of higher quality than their recent OSU clusterfish) and the long in depth articles about more than just a game or a seeason preview. I will grant that they probably wouldn’t be able to achieve the level of class to have a weekly “Don Draper Fingerbang Threat Level*” that you could find in Grantland.

        * No I did not make that upReport

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Nob Akimoto
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      That’s unfair, and frankly ridiculous.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird
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    I imagine that the NFL will weather the storm as best it can and then, somehow, start giving the best access to the best players and best coaches to the “reporters” who do the best job of forgetting to mention certain things.Report

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to Jaybird
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      I hear video games journalists have an excellent model for that.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to morat20
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        Indeed.

        But that eats itself after a while. People realize that they hated the end of Mass Effect 3 (or whatever example you think is a better one) and they read about “75 PERFECT SCORES!” (or what have you) and they realize “holy crap, I can’t trust these guys…”

        That feeling passes and evolves of course into something like “I can only trust these guys to *BE* these guys” and that evolves into “there is no News in Izvestia, there is no Truth in Pravda” and *THAT* evolves into “Well, I like the op-ed pages and especially this one really cynical guy…” and, when you started going for the news journalism, you end up staying for the opinion journalism.

        And thus games journalism (or sports journalism (or whatever)) eventually becomes an issue of Fox News vs. MSNBC. What things do you have the strongest opinions on? We’ll stroke ’em!Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to morat20
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        Mr. Troll called.
        He wants his Chaos Theory book back.

        *someone* needs a lesson on taking sarcasm literally.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to morat20
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        I was, indeed, bashing most games journalism which seems uninfected by even the specter of ethics. 🙂

        ME3’s ending was just dumb, although I do love the theory that Shepard was indoctrinated — which would explain the color reversals (‘Destroy’ was red, yet represented by Anderson — whereas ‘Control’ was blue and represented by the Illusive Man. A reversal of the Paragon/Renegade colors.)

        I sorta get where they were going, but it was implemented badly — especially in conjunction with the other possibilities. (Like if you did EVERYTHING right you could get the Geth and the Quarians — but then you were faced with genociding the Geth anyways?). The ending would have worked had “Control/Destroy” been the options for a bare-bones play — barely enough forces to win, having sacrificed everything along the way (heavy Renegade play, skipping loyalty missions and extras, going for victory at any costs) but for the Paragon plot? It just..didn’t fit. Synthesis was added as a patch to that, but not a good one —- Hero’s journeys that end in crap don’t make good stories, even if real life often works that way. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to morat20
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        Say what you will about sports journalism: if you want to know who won the game, a sports journalist will, in fact, tell you.

        Gaming journalists can’t even be trusted that far.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to morat20
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        Say what you will about sports journalism: if you want to know who won the game, a sports journalist will, in fact, tell you.
        To be fair, “who won” is a fact. Games journalists are closer to movie or restaurant critics in terms of what they do.Report

  8. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
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    Today’s sports journalism may have its failings, but they’ve done a good job at taking down the Sepak Takraw League.Report

  9. Avatar Damon
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    Let me get this straight. Sports “journalists” are shills for the industry? You mean like regular news “journalists” are? I am SHOCKED SHOCKED that such a thing exists!Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Damon
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      Not only that, but it turns out that when you take the jockiest jocks in a whole nation, put them all in one place and throw buckets of money and approval at them, they don’t magically stop being the godawful dudebros you remember from high school.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to dragonfrog
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        Both arrest rates in general and domestic violence arrest rates in particular are lower for NFL players than the general population.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog
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        Couldn’t possibly be that high public image and boatloads of money will help a person get away with stuff.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog
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        I mean, drug arrest rates for white people are also lower than gen pop, but it’s fairly well established that they are more likely, not less, to have some on them.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to dragonfrog
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        df,
        Which, still and simply, makes them better than the truly asshole rich.
        “There once was a deaf lad from Nantucket…”Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to dragonfrog
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        dragon, yeah, that’s the sort of out-of-the-ass opinion that really doesn’t help much. It may turn out to be true, but that’s the sort of explanation that requires data. I don’t know of anyone who has such data.

        However, I do know that the majority of NFL players are black, and I know that more and more the media seems to be portraying a bunch of black men as abnormally violent and dangerous as a group, even trying to provide potential medical/biological reasons for it. And I know that is pretty disturbing.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to dragonfrog
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        @kim – interesting link, though it veers uncomfortably close to phrenology (look at his heavy brow! Obviously violent.)

        @chris – I hear what you are saying, and it’s a valid point to keep in mind, but I can’t say that @dragonfrog doesn’t give voice to some of my suspicions too.

        When you are talking about a group of very large men paid very large sums of money to engage in ritualized combat against other very large men (combative enough that special armor is required to protect them from serious injury resulting from each others’ tender ministrations), I can’t help but think….yeah, those guys might be somewhat more likely than the average bear to be somewhat aggressive.

        My high school was about as white as it gets, and I was friends with some of the football players there; but those guys were probably more likely to take a swing (and maybe more importantly: a damaging one) at somebody than the guys in the marching band were.

        That’s not race, that’s testosterone/temperament/culture/selection/socialization. Applicable equally to hockey players, IMO.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to dragonfrog
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        Yeah, I did. Correlation is not…Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to dragonfrog
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        That was for Kim. I need to stop working between reading a comment and replying to it.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to dragonfrog
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        Glyph,
        you should see some of the twin studies, on testosterone and football.
        (I know next to nothing about brow size, but I have seen pictographic evidence that football and hockey have a rather pronounced effect on … other physical features).Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to dragonfrog
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        I’ve heard that excess testosterone can cause unsightly buttock mustaches.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to dragonfrog
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        Glyph,
        oh, no, nothing so wild.
        just testes size.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to dragonfrog
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        @chris
        Both arrest rates in general and domestic violence arrest rates in particular are lower for NFL players than the general population.

        Are they lower when corrected for *income*?

        Of course a bunch of wealth men have a lower arrest rate than the general population. Wealthy people *don’t need to steal things*. (They do sometimes anyway, but they don’t *need* to.)

        Likewise, even a good portion of domestic abuse is caused by financial stress. (I’m not saying it’s *justified* by it, but it does correlate pretty heavily.)

        I bet NFL players have a hell of a higher arrest rate than almost *anyone else* making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to dragonfrog
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        David,
        Wealthy people pay to rape children. No consequences, scot free.
        Welcome to America, buddy.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog
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        the majority of NFL players are black, and I know that more and more the media seems to be portraying a bunch of black men as abnormally violent and dangerous as a group, even trying to provide potential medical/biological reasons for it.

        I haven’t been reading much media coverage of this case, but the first part is disturbing and not surprising to me; the biological explanation business is both disturbing and surprising.

        My experience at school is doubtless a source of my prejudice toward believing devoted players of violent team sports more likely to be violent even when not playing those sports. But maybe my school was an outlier. It was also a very white environment FWIW.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog
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        (and my tendency to prejudge the culture around those teams as trending toward the awful, sexist, homophobic, and macho, as compared to the culture at large)Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to dragonfrog
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        df,
        large testosterone infusions don’t do wonders for the brain. The more guys get into strength training….
        If you look at the records, the large, aggressive, violent type of man has been consistently losing out in terms of money earned.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to dragonfrog
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        David, I saw the data in an article earlier this week, but can’t find it. However, I just found similar data here, and it looks like you’re right about income:

        http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-rate-of-domestic-violence-arrests-among-nfl-players/

        That 538 article is really messy, by the way (e.g., starting with one comparison and then switching to another for another group, making comparisons difficult to compare with each other).Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog
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        Now that Ray Lewis is no longer NFL, I expect the numbers to even out a little.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Damon
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      Does anyone here read auto industry journalism? It’s well nigh indistinguishable from sports journalism on just about every level, except that sports journalists tend to be better writers.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to James Hanley
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        To be fair, autoindustry journalism also has (or at least used to have) an enormous amount of client denialism (with the senior editor of Edmunds.com being the most guilty), combined with weird right wing talking points about how evil Obama is for demanding better emissions standards…and then at the same time waxing poetic about how great GM’s latest revivalist muscle car is (and glossing over the fact that such car would not exist absent an auto-industry bailout)….

        That is, auto-journalism is, REALLY REALLY bad.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to James Hanley
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        Auto journalism is a thing?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
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        Tod,

        Absolutely. There are quite a number of car mags out there, and the annual auto shows get quite a crowd of journalists, many of whom specialize in the automotive world.

        It’s particularly pronounced in the Detroit papers, of course. Oddly, though, it’s declined in prominence since the recession and near-collapse of the Big 3 (or at least 2 of them). Until a few years ago, it was a rare day that both the News and the Free Press didn’t have an auto industry article above the fold on the first page, where you could see it in the newspaper boxes. It astounded me when I first moved here.

        Some of it was, as Nob says, astoundingly bad. For me the high point of badness was when the Free Press reporter was regularly bemoaning the fact that GM was losing its position as the world’s leading seller of automobiles, bemoaning it despite the fact that GM was losing money on every single passenger car it sold.* It was making whatever profit it managed to make on its pickups, but still had to sell the passenger cars to meet CAFE standards. It was a business that actually needed to sell less, so it would lose less, but the reporter couldn’t seem to recognize that profitability mattered considerably more than size.

        _________________
        *The old joke of course is, how do you make it up when you lose money on each unit? Volume!Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to James Hanley
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        And by “client denialism” I mean “climate denialism”. It’s somewhat strange, too, because the mags know that they need to keep up with EV and Plug-In hybrid news to keep abreast of industry trends, but at the same time there’s a large number of editors who simply want to believe that burning carbon fuels has no impact on the environment and write snarky references to how climate scientists are ignoring the sun.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley
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        James,
        Hold on, wasn’t it making profit on GMAC? Wasn’t GM making profit by putting out loans for the cars it was taking a loss on?Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
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      at least sports journalists don’t let OTHER PEOPLE write their damn articles and take the fucking credit.Report

  10. Avatar aaron david
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    Yeah, this whole thing reminds me of nothing so much as John Edwards. You know, the National Enquirer, TMZ, whatever…Report

  11. Avatar Kim
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    Call me when they finish with the rest of college ball.
    Penn State ain’t the only one getting away with bullshit.

    What gets me is that people KNOW.Report

  12. Avatar Jonathan McLeod
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    Okay, I haven’t read all the way through (yet), but this:

    “Of course, no one expects a sportswriter to stick up for domestic abuse. But it’s striking that there’s a near consensus not just that Goodell’s two-game suspension of Ray Rice was too lenient, but that Goodell ought to resign.”

    It’s “striking”? Really, he uses that word? C’mon, man.Report

  13. Avatar Pinky
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    Tod presents and alternative theory to Curtis’s, and I think he does a good job of it. But I don’t think he disproves Curtis. In my experience, sports journalism has always emphasized civil rights. One could argue that (1) sports have played an important role in civil rights, and (2) sports have never played an important role in anything meaningful except for civil rights. I think that sets up sports journalists to be sympathetic to anything that’s presented as a civil rights issue, and these days, the political liberal is more likely to make and sell that appeal than the political conservative.Report

  14. Avatar trumwill
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    Am I the only person with a different response between Adrian Peterson being released by Nike and being tossed from the Vikings?Report

    • Avatar Mo in reply to trumwill
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      That’s the way the Vikings treated other players (that most people never heard of) that were under investigation.

      http://mmqb.si.com/2014/09/16/adrian-peterson-minnesota-vikings-double-standard/Report

      • Avatar trumwill in reply to Mo
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        Thanks. that helps. Just seems suboptimalto me that because of the abuse of the children, we’re going to deny them a chunk of their financial livelihood to prove we care.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Mo
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        It has nothing to do with proving we care, it is about protecting the brand and making good entertainment. That is why they ditch offenders or the alleged offenders.Report

      • Avatar trumwill in reply to Mo
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        That’s where it’s muddier for me. With Nike, he obviously could no longer do the job that he was being paid by them to do.

        With the NFL it seems more about keeping up appearance. Quite possibly further hurtingthe victims this istheoretically being done on behalf of.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Mo
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        I don’t think there is much difference between Nike’s and the NFL’s reasons. The NFL wants its stars to be marketable and be exemplars of the NFL brand. The NFL is fiercely protective of its image. Granted they care a lot more about image than substance but they do want to at least appear to give a crap about head injuries and its players being good citizens. They leave marketable villains to pro wrestling; it is Hero Athletes that move merch.

        In the case of AP, unless he has been truly unwise with his money and really what are the chances of a pro athlete being that way, he is set for life. He should be a rich man. He may end up out for this season but some team will pick him up next year if the Vikings don’t want him. Same thing witih Rice.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Mo
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        The role of a football player is ambiguous in the way that the role of a spokesman is not. That makes the two situations different, in my view.

        I mean, I know that the NFL doesn’t really care about anything but appearances and that this was purely a business decision. But absent some other information – like the mother(s) demanding it, or financial compensation to the families – this seems like making a bad situation worse in the name of a news cycle. How is this the right thing to do?

        I don’t care whether we point to the NFL in particular or the people demanding this. But have I missed the part where people have demanded not just the cry for blood, but that the kids are taken care of? If so, and the kids are taken care of, then I’m cool with all of this. Is this the case?Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mo
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        Quite possibly further hurtingthe victims this istheoretically being done on behalf of.

        If I suspect a shopkeeper down the street is abusing his children and stop patronizing his shop, I also may be “further hurting the victims” by the loss in revenue – but what’s the alternative (assuming I’ve already reported what I suspect, if I have anything to go on)?

        If I am abusing my kids, and I get fired because of it, the harm to my kids (in all senses) came from my hand, not the hand of my employer.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Mo
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        says:

        I don’t really care where we assign the responsibility for the bad here. I am mostly looking forward and wondering… is this the best outcome?

        The solution to this is pretty straightforward: Make sure the kids are taken care of. If the NFL wants to pretend it cares about this, take care of the kids. If the public demanding this of the NFL wants to argue that this is about the victims, make sure that the NFL doesn’t get to just wash their hands of it at the expense of the kids.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Mo
        Ignored
        says:

        Regarding the welfare of the children at issue there are a couple of problems. One they are young and with the moms, so it is pretty much up to the moms where the kids live to speak. If they don’t’ want to then we aren’t really going to know anything about them. CPS investigations are confidential so we actually shouldn’t be finding out what is going on with that part. AP will still have to pay child support so the kids shouldn’t be going hungry.

        I don’t’ really see the suspensions as making the situation worse. It is certainly a punishment for the athlete but that is sort of the point. The families aren’t going to starve and the dudes will play again. That said the NFL and various teams are handling this like morons, they are solely in protect the brand mode. They need to set up a standard list of suspensions instead of pulling it out of their butts when a star gets caught. If they really gave a hoot they could even link the abusers and victims with whatever help they need. All the athletes are rich enough to afford teh best therapist, classes, etc.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Mo
        Ignored
        says:

        …but that the kids are taken care of? If so, and the kids are taken care of, then I’m cool with all of this. Is this the case?

        Reports indicate that AP will continue to get his base salary, roughly $10.4M for the remainder of the year. Shouldn’t the expectation be, particularly in the case of athletes who are being paid or have been paid from millions to tens of millions in recent years, that their children are going to have a much more lavish lifestyle than you or I could provide our children?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Mo
        Ignored
        says:

        Ahh, okay, if he’s still drawing his salary, then that’s a different matter.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Mo
        Ignored
        says:

        Trumwill – I love the word “suboptimalto”.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Mo
        Ignored
        says:

        It seems to me that there needs to be a procedural method to perhaps setup a trust fund that disperses only to the spouse and/or child in these cases rather than the player. Something the NFLPA or the owners could probably come up with relatively easily, but they haven’t yet bothered, because, frankly, concern trolling about the abuse victims is just a way to try to weasel their constituencies out of having to pay any consequences.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mo
        Ignored
        says:

        “It seems to me that there needs to be a procedural method to perhaps setup a trust fund that disperses only to the spouse and/or child in these cases rather than the player.”

        Is this method something specific to athletes with multi-million-dollar sports contracts, or should every employment contract contain a clause that the employer will continue to pay out – for labor that they are not receiving, though they ARE getting plenty of bad publicity and possible legal headaches, in lieu of what they actually hired the guy for – to the family members of abusers, or addicts, or people who just sucked at their jobs, so they got fired?

        Maybe the EPA should get rid of this guy, who watches two to six hours of porn per work shift, but continue to pay his salary to his family. After all, it’s not the kids’ fault that dad’s a porn hound. Anything less would indicate a callous lack of empathy and blatant money-hungriness on the EPA’s part.

        http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/09/16/epa_porn_addict_not_fired_employee_with_two_to_six_hour_per_day_habit_still.html

        I’m being snarky, and there are real children here that we are asking “but what about…?”, but how do you draw the line?

        If I do something that gets me suspended/fired etc., the responsibility for the consequences and lost income to my family is on me; expecting my employer to bear the costs of that seems strange, no matter how deep-pocketed and otherwise unsympathetic they may be.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Mo
        Ignored
        says:

        Sorry, Glyph, my point was more that if AP was going to continue to be paid by the Vikings, then that money should be going to his dependents not to him.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mo
        Ignored
        says:

        @nob-akimoto – while I potentially don’t disagree in theory (everyone wants the money to go to the kid that got hit, not the guy that hit him), isn’t that what divorce/child support etc. is for? If the paycheck continues to go to married dad, the law assumes it’s being used in part for the support of his kids/spouse (of course, this may be untrue, whether he’s a childbeater or not, and no matter how much he makes; and conversely, we have no way of knowing that he’s not putting 100% of it in trust for his kids right now). If mom wants to divorce him, the law can garnish his wages for child support and probably alimony.

        Otherwise, it seems to me that his employment contract is with him, and I am not sure why it’s incumbent on the employer to work out various alternate contractual fallback arrangements if he turns out to be unsavory in one aspect or another. Honestly, that seems like a legal nightmare. You and I have a contract, and under its terms and our business needs you either pay me or not. If that money needs to go to someone else, the government needs to get involved. If he’s convicted of child abuse, an appropriate punishment might be some sort of mandatory trust fund for his kids or something, though honestly even that seems sort of perversely psychologically messed up (“Nice Ferrari, where’d you get it?” “Funny story, dad used to hit me with a stick…”)Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to trumwill
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      says:

      For Nike, I’m surprised it took so long. For the Vikings/NFL in general… well, the only thing I’m expecting is that this isn’t over yet.Report

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