Sentiment Rains Attraction
There was this thesis I had been working on for a while that basically said that Sports News websites (Foxsports.com, cbssportline.com, and most notably ESPN.com) focused far too much on negative stories. I had a perfect screen-capture of ESPN's top stories from one day earlier this summer--all of the stories involved either a DUI, an injury, a firing, or some A-Rod-related scandal (I just spent an hour searching for that screenshot on my computer, to no avail). I even had some Silverbird5000-esque statistical evaluation planned in which I had compared the proportion of negative headlines on ESPN.com to the proportion of negative headlines on Google News' general news (my rough analysis proved that negativity in the ESPN headlines far outweighed that of news in general, killing the argument that "if it bleeds, it leads" is just as applicable in sports as it is in world/national news). But then I kind of lost interest. Then I regained interest when I saw Jameer Nelson's father's disappearance as a top story...It made me uncomfortable. Like, I know it's pro athletes, but isn't there a certain amount of respect involved in at least waiting until Nelson's father is confirmed dead to blast the story on the front page? Also, isn't there something sort of odd and insensitive about giving Nelson's father lower billing to "METS SWEEP D-BACKS" ?
These are two completely separate TYPES of news. In Shaq's terms, "apples and pumpkins." The whole format needs a shake-up...NOW, with the OJ bizness in full swing, I am again pissed off at the misguided priorities of these sports moguls. I swear the top stories when I was younger were SCORES. Then everything else. I hate to sound crusty, but Jesus Christ, the baseball races are killing shit right now, and the first thing I see on Sportscenter is Donovan McNabb defending himself about comments that black QBs take more shit than white QBs, which by the way has BLOSSOMED INTO A STORY THAT IS PROVING EXACTLY HIS POINT. (Sorry, another topic for another time).
Now, of course, this was the summer of our discontent. Barry Bonds, Michael Vick, Tim Donaghy, Davydenko, Kobe demanding a trade, the Tour De France, Pac Man Jones, and on and on and on. The fact remains, though, scandal and gloom have been around forever in sports...and only recently has it received such top billing. My solution to all of this is not to thrash ESPN and co. for acting like tabloids or to bury these negative off-field stories. We need this stuff as 21st century consumers of AS MUCH INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE. Rather, the solution is for Sports News outlets to act like General News outlets, and to segment the news into finer categories. Just as the New York Times has travel, world news, business, sports, and arts sections so too should ESPN have theirs. My suggestions for sections are as follows:
Larry Johnson records a rap song, Derrek Lee is on a new episode of ER.
Chris Henry, OJ, Elijah Dukes
Eddie Griffin, Bill Walsh.
Ken Griffey Jr., football players.
A woman that wins a marathon turns out to be a man.
Front office reorganization
Hirings and firings.
Your favorite player gets traded from the team he has played on for 12 years.
Wade Wilson, Rodney Harrison, Jay Gibbons, Floyd Landis.
Glavine's 300th win, no-hitters.
In completely unrelated news, I am posting this MP3 of Company Flow (El-P and Len) and Cannibal Ox performing "Patriotism" at a Madison Square Garden Ralph Nader rally ("Where the Knicks fans at?") back in 2000. For anyone who has ever asked what the term Free Darko means, this is it.