I have only been a contributing member of Bleacher Report for about ten days, and I must say, I really love this site. I've always enjoyed writing and discussing sports, and this site has combined the two so well that I have become a Bleacher Report junkie.
I originally saw an advertisement for Bleacher Report on Facebook. Soon after, I started noticing that some of my friends on Facebook were posting links to articles they had written. Indeed, it piqued my curiosity, but not enough for me to check it out.
I must admit, at first I thought this site was just another collection of sports blogs. Not that I have anything against people who write blogs, but for the most part they aren't my cup of tea.
I shouldn't say that. I like to read blogs that are written with a great deal of thought, research and passion. Many blogs have that. Many blogs do not. There are blogs that are written extremely well, and there are blogs that are nothing more than vulgar rants by people who feel that the more irresponsible they are with they're words, the better the fan they are. Unfortunately, I have read many more blogs that are closer to the latter than the former.
Once, I noticed that my close friend, Jason Burke, a brilliant writer and former aspiring journalist, was contributing articles on here, I figured I would give it a look.
I was pleasantly surprised.
Bleacher Report was not just another collection of blogs. It was real articles. It was fresh opinions. It was thoughtful and thought-provoking. Its authors were knowledgeable. It was writing that was so good—you would think it was scribed by professional journalists.
Best of all, it wasn't just mindless, vulgar sports blogging.
I immediately signed up and began writing. I am proud to be part of such a great community of sports fans.
Unfortunately, I feel many people, especially professional journalists, may paint the writers of Bleacher Report with the same broad brush that they paint the bloggers with.
I recently read an article on here by Ron Johnson, titled, "HOW ESPN DOES IT'S BEST TO DESTROY ATHLETES, WRITERS AND BLEACHER REPORT". The article is absolutely great, and if you haven't read it you should. In it, Johnson describes how the writers of Bleacher Report don't get the respect they deserve and even points to former Chicago Sun Times writer Jay Mariotti calling people like us "half-assed sports writers". Johnson's article has inspired me to weigh in on this subject.
Mariotti is not the only member of the media to feel this way. Anyone who watched "COSTAS NOW: SPORTS AND THE INTERNET", and saw Buzz Bissinger's profanity laced tirade toward Deadspin creator Will Leitch (who is an excellent and intelligent sport writer by the way) knows that. It seems to be a growing sentiment in the sports media, especially amongst its members over the age of 40.
It seems that many of these people feel we should not be writing. It seems as if they feel that the first amendment only applies to the sport fan who has a degree in journalism. Even the mean-spirited and vulgar bloggers deserve to be protected by the first amendment. I may not agree with what they're saying, or even like it for that matter, but I do believe they have a right to say it. The same way Mariotti has a right to voice his opinion about Ozzie Guillen. The same way Bissinger had the right to say Leitch was quote "full of shit" (this coming from a man who was complaining about the mean-spirited undertones and vulgarity of sports blogs).
I guess since we are not professional writers with journalism degrees, we should stop writing, no matter how good we are or how seriously we take this passion.
I guess Mr. Mariotti or Mr. Bissinger shouldn't sing along to their favorite songs while driving because they haven't had vocal training. I guess they should never cook because they haven't graduated from culinary school. I guess they should never play a pick-up basketball game because they've never been a professional player.
When put into a proper perspective, it's really a ridiculous argument.
I love sports, and I love talking sports. I also love to write. I started my family young, and because of that, I was unable to finish college and get my degree. I have had positive feedback on the Bleacher Report articles I have written thus far, and I like to think I am a fairly decent writer. I take these articles very seriously. I research, and I make sure my facts are correct. I put a lot of effort into my work on this site, and I'm not alone.
There may be a few questionable articles on here, even a few questionable writers. Just like there are professional sports journalists who questionable. But for the most part, Bleacher report is full of quality articles by quality writers.
I seriously doubt that many of these professional journalist critics of us amateur writers have even given us the respect of reading the things we write before they pass us off as wannabes. They are judging a book by its cover, and it's a damn shame. Maybe they could have learned something.