Friday, April 07, 2006

Protected Status 

This article comes under the heading of "Dream on." It advocates hard-hitting sports journalism because sports are big business. The article is smart enough to discuss the problems with that idea, but it fails to note that sports writing historically has been imaginative (read, "inaccurate") and opinionated ("He shoulda caught the ball.")

Sports figures have a semi-protected status unlike other professionals. They expect -- and get -- much adoration because they have fans who swoon over them. Some behave well: Many behave badly. Sportswriters ignored the drunken parties of heroes such as Mickey Mantle. They were just boys having fun.

Sportswriting has changed some in recent decades and the "purple prose" emanating from typewriters in press boxes is gone. The business hasn't moved into hard-hitting journalism and probably won't for reasons the article enumerates.

Put another way, sports publicists live in a different world from the rest of us. On the other hand, publicists have stresses that are peculiarly their own and make for short careers working for teams. Win some: Lose some.


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