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'How Sports Illustrated Botched the Michael Sam Story'

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Good stuff from Stefan Fatsis here.


    Among the reveleations:

    • Jon Wertheim had the story and could have gone with it, but deferred to Sam and his rolling-out party. Personally? I don't think I could have held it.
    • Peter King granted anonymity to his sources up front to talk about Sam's prospects. He didn't even try to get anybody on the record, because he thinks they wouldn't be truthful.
    • Thamel and Evans quoted only "second tier" insiders - Fatsis thinks this was shotty work that triggered a national conversation based on a faulty premise.

    "[W]ith its first-out-of-the-gate story, SI helped shift, or at least bifurcate, the conversation. The Times and ESPN owned the news. SI owned the instant reality check: The NFL is institutionally bigoted; Michael Sam isn’t that good; Michael Sam isn’t worth the trouble; Michael Sam is on his own; good friggin’ luck, Michael Sam. The comments in SI rocketed around the Web. The Los Angeles Times published a story devoting one paragraph to the announcement and 10 to the SI quotes. The echo chamber was open for business."
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    With apologies to Mister Creosote, here is Slate's new logo:


    Disappointing that Fatsis would fall into this.

    But seriously, Dick, put a ban on all Slate postings.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    If nothing else, the Wertheim bit is definitely worth discussing.

    Fatsis - who I liked well before his Slate days, when he was at the Wall Street Journal and writing about Scrabble and the Northern League - is a little too impressed by Michael Sam, the player, though. Can't believe he rolls out, "Defensive player of the year in the SEC!" on us.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  4. The only one of the three points I agree with is possibly the third. My thought on the SI 'reaction' story was that if you talk to enough people and promise them anonymity, you will be able to build a story around your preordained premise.

    As for the first, there are any number of people who could have "broken" the story over the last year. That doesn't mean it would have been right or appropriate.
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I don't think that's the same. Wertheim would have been outing him, yes. But minutes or hours before he was going to out himself in a coordinated fashion, with a flak pulling the strings.

    You don't out him six months or even a month ago. But once he's in cahoots with your competitors, you damned sure do.

    By comparison - and I'm sure it still happens - I remember times when reporters would break a kid's verbal commitment before a kid's big to-do press conference. Fans would absolutely flip out on the reporters for doing it. I think Rivals actually had a policy against breaking it before the kid's big self-promoting moment in the spotlight.

  6. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Good analogy.

    You could work for Slate.
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I think Wertheim made the right move.

    If you're a Mizzou football beat writer and a player tells you that Sam came out to the team before the season, and you confirm it, do you write it?

    I would not. That's not to say there is a right and wrong answer to that, but I would not have gone ahead with that story unless confirmation comes from Sam.
  8. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It's a perfectly valid analogy.
  9. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    I'm sure in Whitman world, it is.
  10. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    In the fall? No.

    Hours before my hand-selected competitors get it? You're fucking right I write it.
  11. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    You don't sit on news.
  12. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    There is no news value in Michael Sam's sexuality that would override his wishes to make it known or keep it private. Unless there's a damn good reason, you don't out him against his wishes.

    Also, I said when it was published that SI was blatantly trolling, and promising anonymity is the best and most chickenshit way to do that. It needlessly skewed the argument.
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