Crank It Up, Feel the Health
I never thought I'd get a chance to experience Tiger Woods, or Brett Favre, but here I am. As best as I can tell, NBA blogging exists at this point to type, all drivel-like, about whatever someone told someone else in the last hour. Good thing I am busy with the book. However, one thing's clear: There's a lot of bullshit in the air, of the worst, inflammatory kind. And once that stuff is said, there's no going back. No correction ever really repairs things. The process by which a celebrity beats back initial false reports is almost as fascinating as it is sickening. And as I've said, some public figures simply lack the clout to move past it.
I come here not to blindly defend Arenas, or offer explanations as I did when Delonte rolled around strapped. I still don't know, any better than you or the constantly updated news stories do, what happened and how it interfaces with the law. But a lot of the reporting here, and blog dissemination of it, is straight out of last summer's campaign. I know, Sharpton's contrasting the arena Obama watches games at with steel in the locker room. And yet isn't this "where there's smoke, there's outrage" b/w "there's always next hour's web update to clean things up" approach to news exactly what allowed the right to get traction with stupid shit throughout the campaign?
But in a lot of ways, this is even worse. Dear everyone, do you remember who broke the John Woo-ready version of the story? Peter Vecsey. Along with Sam Smith, he's pretty much the one reporter whose rumors you might as well write the opposite of and go from there. Now in this case, he did have a kernel of truth in what he wrote. Yet he wrapped it up in every conceivable layer of sensationalism, and continues to even in the thrice-scrubbed-over version of the story that sits on the Post's site now.
(Lang reminded me that Gil pointed out that one of Vecsey's original sources was a street ball player. Appropriate, seeing as Vecsey's the And1 of NBA reportage.)
Vecsey unleashed a scene right out of the old cowboy Pacers, Yahoo! actually came first, but theirs was much more solidly on the back of previous reports about the investigation. And from there, all hell broke loose. We built this city on Peter Vecsey; Yahoo!'s far more responsible report inadvertently added fuel to the fire. It was a classic example of going for broke with the news micro-cycle—and, if anyone cares, setting up readers of print dailies to be completely misinformed for days on end.
Have I brought up Vecsey enough? Anyone remember when he claimed Josh Smith and Zaza were fightin' with fists in their locker room, and then had Smith attacking bouncers? These were major blows against a young player teetering between "future star" and "head case." Then, lo and behold, AJC beat writer supreme Sekou Smith—who was there—set the record straight. Read the whole link, but the gist: Peter Vecsey is a snake who makes shit up for tabloid reasons. Anyone who doesn't conduct themselves with this fact in mind is no better than him.
Now I'm just getting angry, which is when I'm at my least beautiful. Suffice it to say that I also find it odd how conveniently Gil's "moral turpitude" fits in with the Wizards long-term business interests. As was Monta's with the Warriors. So in conclusion, this would be a good moment for us all to learn to take a deep breath, not listen to false prophets, and realize that like it or not, sometimes these things take time. Otherwise, you might as well believe message boards. Those shits get updates like every five seconds!