Saturday, January 23, 2010
Seriously Chapter 70: Comparing That Mexican to Joe Willie Namath?
Seriously received a call yesterday from Rick Seitz, an NFL guy at the news track desk of the Associated Press. I've known Rick for years and yet I was picking up on a distinct lack of familiarity in his voice. He asked me if I cared to comment on a Jets-related story he was busy writing, a story pertaining to That Mexican as "the second coming of Joe Namath at the New York quarterback position." "What do you see,?" he asks me. First of all, like I said, I was struck by his lack of familiarity. Not that Rick and I have been together in the trenches a million times but he knows what I do, I know what he does and we know each other from around. Not only that, my second ex-wife is his ex-wife's best friend. I told him, "I haven't seen him win a game yet, Seitzy, and why are you dishonoring and trampling the memory of Joe Namath with this article? And who put you up to talking to me, anyway? Who's pulling your string?" He hesitates, yammers for a few moments about reporting "the feeling on the street towards their rookie star" and then he all of a sudden confesses (nearly breaking down as a matter of fact,) that he'd been to compelled by his boss to pursue the angle and write the story, "no matter what." I was like, "What the hell is going on over at the Associated Press? I mean, I've heard of a puff piece before but this is down-right sacrilegious. Not to mention wrong on about 13 different levels" That Mexican in the same breath as Joe Willlie? Rick was gnawing at himself at this point and saying it was the fault of the new "Conglomerate Monstrosity Syndrome" where principles and journalistic integrity are often swallowed up and cast aside. "Do they actually think your readers are ignorant, with zero sense of history,?" I asked him. "It's all about generating new demographic eyeballs," he said, almost in tears. "They want the kids and what do kids not know? History. To them, Namath wasn't even that great in the game anyway because he didn't throw a touchdown pass." I went on to further chastise Rick Seitz's boss, an ass-whole who's name I won't mention. No doubt he had sent Rick to me for comment as a way of sending him to the wood shed for some reason or another. His boss knew damn well what my reaction would be. He wanted to see Rick squirm, the heartless son of a bitch. Ultimately though, all I could do was shake my head and thank almighty God, not just for you readers who are kind enough to follow Seriously and Sports Seriously, but for the fact I have my own independent news agency where we don't have to chase that corporate dragon. Maybe we don't have thousands of stock holders and bunches of millionaires walking around, but we at Sports Seriously do have our souls. That Mexican as the second coming of Joe Namath? Not yet and probably not ever. Sometimes, I swear, this business we're in makes me want to blow my stack. I'll talk to you guys tomorrow after the games so you understand why everything happened the way it did.
Stay tuned and thank you again.