Seeing this ESPN story on Bobby Reid and Mike Gundy (h/t The Wizard of Odds) made me reflect further about that ridiculous segment on Bob Costas’ show regarding blogging and the higher standards of journalism that bloggers are routinely accused of disregarding. Why? Well, read this passage:
… That morning, a columnist from the Oklahoman, Jenni Carlson, wrote that Reid was benched for being soft, for not playing through injuries, for being coddled by his mom. And, to prove her point, Carlson wrote Rajika had fed her son chicken after the Troy game.
In a lot of ways, it was a cheap shot — because Rajika had fed no one but herself and because Carlson hadn’t even been at the Troy game. But, in a lot of ways, the article reeked of everything the OSU coaches had been saying behind closed doors…
This is great on a couple of levels. First, there’s Carlson writing about things she neither directly witnessed nor properly attributed to someone who did. But, even better, Tom Friend, in writing the article for ESPN, does the exact same thing he chides Carlson for doing. He obviously wasn’t a party to any “closed door” meeting, and he doesn’t bolster comments like this – “There was a sense now that Gundy didn’t trust Reid, that Reid wasn’t machismo enough for his tastes. And the gossip got out there, even made its way to the beat writers. They just weren’t brave enough to print it.” – with confirmation from either a coach saying these things or a reporter hearing them.
Now, I’m not going to indulge in what Buzz Bissinger did by painting an entire class of folks with a very broad brush. Quite the contrary. While none of the parties to the Mike Gundy rant story have exactly covered themselves in glory, it would be moronic to take that episode as an excuse to tar everyone in the sports journalism profession. My point here is that blogging should hardly be held to a different standard – particularly by sports journalists.