Lousy & Lazy Sports Writers/Reporters Make Me Angry

One of the things I do a lot of on Twitter (and on here, too, to a lesser extent) is go after those in the mainstream media who I feel are doing less than a good job. I’m then sometimes told I shouldn’t for a variety of reasons, including: 1) I shouldn’t waste my time on idiots. 2) I’m not qualified to criticize. 3) I’m not as established as them so I should shut up. 4) The idiot in question is saying something about your favorite team so thus you automatically side with them like a brainless lemming.
And so on.

Last week, I was in a particularly surly mood after seeing some of the latest nonsensical crap coming from Dick Weiss’ Twitter. On Thursday, in the wake of Gary Williams retiring from Maryland, Weiss puts up this:

“so who’s next at md? Mike brey? Jay wright? Shaka smart? The list is starting for this plum acc job.”

Uh, what? As I said to him in reply, just throwing sh-t at the wall to see what sticks, huh? This assclown is nicknamed “Hoops”? Sorry, but it’s time to rescind that nickname. But if his personality is any indication, he’s one of those George Costanza types that gives himself his own nickname. Jackass.

Yes, maybe Mike Brey or Jay Wright are going to Maryland. For as much as we attack the nonsense that the Big East is far superior to the Big Ten, well, it is far superior to the ACC, at least these days. Brey hasn’t really taken Notre Dame anywhere, so why would a team that just lost a legend and national championship winning coach want him? And as for Wright, even the most casual observer can tell he is entrenched at Villanova. Has he given indications he wants to leave? No, but Hoops Weiss wants you to think he knows something you don’t.

And then, of course, he mentions Shaka Smart, mainly because Smart’s name has been in the news in recent months. Prior to March, do you think Weiss even knew where Smart coached? We’ll never know, but I doubt it.

Dick Weiss reads the headlines on ESPN.com and then makes things up. That’s his routine. And he’s learned in his 70 years in the business that people forget things you say five minutes after you say them, unless you turn out to be right. He’s also learned this sly little trick employed by lazy-ass people all over the world, and that is to pretend you’re “in the know” and you have some kind of “insider information” on something that “might” happen. Of course, it might not, too, and he’ll want you to think you’ll never know just how close Shaka Smart was to taking the Purdue job and hiring Barack Obama as a consultant. Shut up, Dick.

He also tweeted on Saturday that Sean Miller of Arizona was the “emerges as leading candidate for md job.” Really? Weird. Not even close.

Remember, this is the colossal jackass who reported Matt Painter had agreed to coach Missouri when he had done no such thing. He tweeted it out because he obviously misheard someone else and wanted to jump on it, all without realizing how many people were paying close attention to the situation. We questioned his sources that evening, to which the candystriped clown who runs the ESPN 1450 Lafayette Twitter feed lectured us on not questioning someone with the reporting pedigree of Dick Weiss.

This is exactly the problem. There’s this misconception out there that if you’ve done some job for a certain period of time, you’re not obligated to be good at it any more. You’re entitled to just say whatever you want and be wrong more than you’re right, etc. This is NOT okay. And it’s a slippery slope.

People like Dick Weiss are paid to report and know these things. Paid..to..know. We’re lowly bloggers who don’t get paid a dime and yet did a better job reporting from our homes than clowns like Dick Weiss did from their JOBS. This is not okay. And it’s even less okay to act like we’re out of line for asking someone to do their job more carefully and with more effort.

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Changing to a new target, most people who are under 45 know that Rick Reilly is a hack. He has, over the years, written a few really good columns. But he has also rewritten the same columns on more than one occasion, as documented by Deadspin, and he has become more and more of a prick as he has aged.

Witness last weekend, where he gave a commencement address to Colorado’s school of journalism and ripped people who “write for fee” and basically bloggers in general. (Thanks, Awful Announcing.)

The two sections being skewered in the blogosphere the most are the following:

"When you get out there, all I ask is that you: DON'T WRITE FOR FREE! Nobody asks strippers to strip for free, doctors to doctor for free or professors to profess for free. Have some pride! What you know how to do now is a skill that 99.9 percent of the people don't have."

He told graduates that journalism will always be relevant, and the "digital house of cards will fold" without trained professionals to dig up documents, check facts, interview people and write well. Bloggers who hold down couch springs in their mothers' basements and write for a few people, he said, aren't carrying out those duties.

Indeed, doctors don’t work for free. Except those at free clinics. And professors don’t “profess” (clever) for free. Except those giving free lectures, which does happen believe it or not. As for strippers, well, I’ll leave that one to Rick’s expertise, but I do like that strippers were the first profession he thought of.

It’s also hilarious to me that Reilly isn’t smart enough to understand how he looks when he refers to the “digital house of cards” and how it will “fold.” Yes, Rick, we understand you’re scared and technology is something you simply cannot understand. How do all these people get to share their opinions? It’s not right! Somebody stop them! (This leaves aside the pesky fact that Rick Reilly left SI to churn out his tired content on ESPN.com -- which is part of the "digital house of cards," genius!)

That’s right, only hack writers with moldy journalism degrees from Colorado (oooooh, Colorado! What a pillar of higher learning!) are entitled to make hackneyed jokes about bloggers in their mothers’ basements.

You stupid, arrogant 'bag.

These are just two, high-profile examples of sports writing and sports reporting going off the rails. I do have hope that this is going to change, though, as younger guys who embrace social media and interacting with the fans are out there and are getting more and more prominent. Guys like Jerry Palm, Jeff Borzello, Andy Glockner, Luke Winn, Derek Schultz, Mike Hall, Brent Yarina, Mike Miller, and a host of others are doing a great job and, as I said, give me hope.

It’s not that hard, as those guys (and others – that list was by no means exhaustive) have realized. You interact and listen and respect others’ opinions. Yes, there are jerkwads out there who try to ruin it for everyone, but just like the rest of us, you need to learn how to ignore them.

It’s the people like Seth Davis who worry me. Seth has a thin skin and is a complete prick if he decides he doesn’t like your questioning or challenging him. He’s far too sensitive and believes that he is smarter than everyone else, simply because he gets a paycheck from CBS Sports, I guess. This is always disappointing, and I’ve told him directly that being obnoxious to the people who are passionate about the topics you cover is…kind of stupid. One of my personal rules/quotes to live by is this: "Until you admit you don't know everything, you'll never learn anything."

My point in all of this rambling is that it’s okay to expect more from guys like this. It’s also okay to question them and it’s NOT a waste of time.

Nobody says you need to first be elected to public office in order to criticize or question politicians, so why do so many talentless hacks in sports writing/reporting act as though you need to be paid by ESPN to have an opinion that matters?

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