Clemens, Earnhardt, and the Patriots: Sports Tabloid Jounalism at its Finest

Mike ZoranCorrespondent IMay 30, 2008

When did reporting the news turn into creating the news? When did sports journalism turn into sports tabloid journalism?

When the major sources of sporting news make a bigger deal out of who Roger Clemens is sleeping with then how many career wins he has, something is wrong.

Well my friends, something is wrong.


I used to read the newspaper everyday for news and current events. Here in Baltimore that really used to mean one choice. There is a little competition now, but it wasn't that way for a long time. I have become sick and tired of reading into the stories and seeing the writers try to sway the public to their take on the story. Sometimes they even create a story when there really isn't one, just to sell a paper. That is BS.

What is really bad is that the major sporting media is starting to follow suit. The Roger Clemens statement above is a prime example. Who cares who he is sleeping with? The man can pitch. I am not asking him to baby-sit my kids, I am asking him to entertain me for as many innings as he can. But sex sells, it always has, and you see it in the headlines such as that.

When did ESPN start guessing the story instead of researching the story? The experts like to say us bloggers are amateurs. Well anytime I write a blog I research the living heck out of it. Now I do most of that research on the Internet because most major sporting teams do not recognize blogging sites right now. So knowing the Internet the way I do, I make sure I see it more than one place before I use it. How does a so-called sporting expert look in the mirror knowing he just asked Roger Clemens about his sex life?

I am a fan, first and foremost. I am a fan of a good game, no matter who is playing. I am a fan of good execution, no matter who does it. I will not badmouth your team unless you come at me with opinions and try to pass them off as facts.

Facts. There is an interesting word.

How many times has a major sporting news site come out with something and passed it off as fact, only to be later proven wrong when the actual story comes out the very next day? In the rush for the scoop, they are less concerned with accuracy than they are getting that scoop. I HAVE NEVER SEEN A RECANT on a major site. These are the experts, and we are the amateurs. I guarantee I take more pride in my writing than most of them do. I do it because I love the games. They do it because of the paycheck and free access to games.

The day before Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he was leaving DEI last season, the company his father created, ESPN announced that he was having a press conference the next day. That is news.

They further reported that he was going to announce he was leaving DEI. That was news that they must have gotten from a good source because it turned out to be true.

Then they said he was going to start his own team under Jr Motorsports. This was the guess reported as news. My immediate reaction was to call BS. Dale Jr wants to win a championship. He has seen other drivers try to own a team and drive at the same time struggle and struggle often. Especially a NEW team (ie Michael Waltrip). There was no way he was going to run his own team.

The next day he announced his free agent status, and they were wrong. Like Britney Spears said, "Oops, I did it again." No recant, no apology, no nothing. They just moved on to the next guess.

This is what major sports reporting has come to. In the bid to make a story, they leak major news that teams are working on deals. They reported that Matt Walsh has further tapes that showed the Patriots spied on the Rams walk-through before the Super Bowl. Based on this, the commissioner threatens further disciplinary action. The New England Patriots overnight become the most hated team in the NFL.

Did I mention that this was done right before the Super Bowl? Talk about a distraction. Talk about interfering with the outcome of a game. Where was the investigation by Congress about the leaked lie?

It has since been said that Matt Walsh had no such tapes and never said he did. But in the media's reporting, he did. The public opinion is swayed. Before I get beat up too hard, no, I am not a New England fan. But I hate what it has come to. The commissioner has to go to Congress to explain why he destroyed the tapes.

The NFL is a private business and they took action about the incident. Why is Congress involved? I will tell you why: because the media reported it so hard the public demanded action and Congress wants to stay in office.

I could go on and on and on. Steroids in sports for one. I think it is totally hypocritical to keep Mark McGwire out of the Hall of Fame. The same goes for Pete Rose.

People have been cheating and betting on sports as long as there have been sports. How many people that are IN the Hall have taken drugs? How many of those that are IN the Hall have bet on baseball? Just because the world is smarter now than it was in 1930 doesn't mean they didn't do it back then. Probably not steroids, but I guarantee something.

Babe Ruth was famous for drinking and partying all night and playing the next day. How was he able to do that? Mickey Mantle played in severe pain half his career. How was he able to overcome that and become known as one of the greatest ever? I do not know, and neither do you.

Do I think Barry Bonds is juiced? Heck yeah. Do I think Mark McGwire is an angel? Heck no. But until you can hold EVERY member of the Hall of Fame to one standard, how can you penalize those you THINK cheated?

I will tell you why: THE MEDIA. They have swayed opinion so much that it is now unpopular to vote them in.

     Report what you know, and if it an opinion, write an editorial. But leave it to me, the reader to form my own opinion. I am smart enough to do that. Tell me the score, who won and who lost, who hit a home run and who struck out four times. Let me decide if ARod is playing badly because the fans are booing him. Why do high profile draft pick fade early? The media puts too much pressure on them to succeed, always in their faces asking why did you do this or that.

     Let the players play, the fans cheer, and just report what you know. Enough is enough. Go back to sports journalism and leave the tabloids to the tabloids. What is next? ARod had Roger's illegitimate child with help from aliens?

(These opinions are all mine and mine alone. Who else could come up with this crap?)