Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It Continues, ESPN and Others Trot Out Their "Don't Forget Ben is a Bad Guy" Pieces

I guess at the end of the day I shouldn't be surprised. If the goal of a media outlet is to get eyeballs on the site and people buzzing about the content, bloggers like me are seen as low hanging fruit--easy to rile up, further the conversation and generate interest. I generally don't care what "the media" says or writes about teams or players I root for. I certainly try not to get worked up about it. I play on the fringes of being part of that media. I can come up with my own opinions, and I try to share some of those here with the few of you that care to stop by. Like most bloggers, I try not to post entries that you might also read in the daily paper or easily find on the web. I hope to, on occasion, bring a unique angle or insight that is, if not eloquently expressed, at least readable. But, when I think someone has really missed the boat, I feel I have to enter the fray. "Have to" probably is not phrase. When I feel someone has really missed the boat I can generally work myself into a mild frenzy. Then, it is probably less "have to" and more "probably shouldn't." This week I have.

Earlier in the week I responded to an article by Ann Killion from I like Sports Illustrated. I like the magazine and the website and I know people who work there. But Ann wrote a bad piece. It was an opinion piece that lacked insight. From where I sit, she had a well-formed opinion, didn't like what she was reading in the media and wanted to add a voice of reason to the hysteria surrounding the "redemption" of Ben Roethlisberger. Problem is that hysteria doesn't exist and Ann didn't do any background research on what has happened in the 11 months since events in Georgia. If what she wrote reflects her opinion that is fine, but the article ignores the facts surrounding the story she chose to write about. Turns out Ann isn't alone. She was just first horse out of the gate.

Yesterday published this piece which, today, is featured and linked to on the front page of their website. Wins don't give Ben Roethlisberger a free pass. Clever title, better than Ann Killion's. But rather than "nauseous" like Ann, Jane McManus of ESPN is "a little wary" of stories about the Pittsburgh quarterback. Good. Don't want anyone else getting sick. First question, do people at ignore Did her editors not say, "Hey Jane, a woman at just wrote the exact same piece. You probably won't get nailed for plagiarism, but this isn't exactly unique?" Or, did someone notice that that article at SI.comwas generating a lot of traffic and decide they had to have one of own? Just wondering.

Generally my response to Jane is: Please refer to my "Open Letter to Ann Killion." I'd like to leave it at that, but Jane makes a few points I can't ignore. That's where the mild frenzy part kicks in. She writes, "Roethlisberger has had a number of interactions with women that have involved courts or police to one degree or another." This is disingenuous at best, factually wrong at worst. I and the population at large know of two occasions. I am not in any way dismissive of these two events, but suggesting their have been a number of interactions when there have been two is misleading. But maybe that is splitting hairs.

This is where Jane really gets off the rails:
Now the Steelers are in the Super Bowl. What that means is that reporters will want to write about what happened [in Georgia], but will have a hard time using phrases like "alleged rape." Instead, you might hear a lot of references to "off-the-field distractions."
So weak. You cannot lump DWIs, drug use, alleged rape and assualt charges into the same phrase you'd use for trying to talk and text at the same time.
You're right Ann, I mean Jane, you can't. The reason is the word "alleged." Alleged is defined as: stated, doubtful, suspect or supposed. If you said alleged DWIs, alleged drug use, alleged rape and alleged assault charges you could lump them all in the same phrase. But, if rape is the only one that is alleged you should probably exclude it. Otherwise it would not only be weak, it would be slanderous to lump them together.

You later lump Antonio Cromartie, Big Ben (your term, not mine), Mike Vick, Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant together as "antiheroes." One is a convicted felon, the other four are not. Careful not to be hoisted by your own "lumping" petard.

There are lots of other points to make. Santonio Holmes is Charles Barkley 2.0. Charles is the original "I am not a role model." But that isn't particularly germane to your point, that's just me showing off that I actually read your whole article, painful as it was.

Jane, like Ann you didn't add to the conversation or the dialogue about Ben Roethlisberger and you didn't bother to research your topic or include anything that didn't fit your story line. Again, I ask, how did this get past the editors at But, I've written this all before. Please see In Defense of Ben Roethlisberger: An Open Letter to Ann Killion of Sports Illustrated. Insert your name and ESPN where appropriate and you'll get the idea.

(Too read similar pieces go to and among others.)

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