Thursday, November 29, 2007

UNDER THE GUN TO JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS ABOUT A DEAD BLACK ATHLETE

Dan Le Betard's column on the coverage of slain NFL safety Sean Taylor is worth a read today, if you have the time...
"I can't imagine how terrible it must be for Taylor's broken family to watch the television and see their late son/brother/boyfriend turned into a talk topic and one-dimensional stick figure because we, the media, didn't and couldn't have a complete picture of their beloved and didn't have the time to wait for one to develop ... too much of Taylor's televised eulogy became noise and speculation and gossip-cloaked-in-journalism about his troubled past.

"A DUI and a gun-waving incident aren't irrelevant, but they weren't all Taylor was, either. Brett Favre, rest assured, won't be eulogized with excessive emphasis on his pain-killer addiction, especially not if he were to die this horrifically. How do you think your grieving family would like to see you defined on television by your one or two worst public moments?"
The absolute pits of the Taylor coverage on this side of the border was last night on Sportsnet Connected. A very blond pseudo-journalist who shall remain nameless as a public service asked Jamie Dukes of the NFL Network, "What can the commissioner (of the NFL) do about these unruly players?"

Is that an ignorant question, or a racist question? Way to blame the victim. That's right up there with, "she shouldn't have worn that dress."

Related:
Media has failed with Taylor coverage (Miami Herald)
Taylor's death a grim reminder for us all (Jason Whitlock, FOXsports.com)

(It doesn't really matter if the VBPJ in question was Martine Gaillard, Evanka Osmak or Sean McCormick ... everyone asked that question. Everyone should have thought better of how to frame it; Whitlock provides another side to the story.)

7 comments:

Tyler King said...

Evanka Osmak.

sager said...

Tyler, are you accusing Evanka Osmak of kowtowing to tacit racism?Way to fall into the trap this knee-jerk limousine liberal set.

Tyler King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sager said...

Sorry, Tyler, I should have put the 'sarcasm' tag at the end of my comment....

Dan R. said...

I think I've said this or something like it before, but:I think a big part of the problem lies, as you sort of pointed out, with the lack of real journalism at many of these all-sports radio and TV outlets, especially in Canada. Leaving all of the problems with Evanka Osmak aside, which Sportsnet Connected on-air personality is properly equipped to handle a story like this? Sports generally are fun - so fun that you don't even need to wear a tie. But once in a while, the real world gets in the way and your "attitude" won't help quite as much as it does when you are introducing the "Fights of the Week."

sager said...

Other than Bob McCown, Elliotte Friedman, possibly Tony Ambrogio at The Score, there aren't many in radio/TV in Canada who wouldn't get laughed out of a serious newsroom. Thankfully a lot of the serious newsrooms in the world of the written word are becoming more like TV. The pendulum does seem to be swinging back to people of substance, though.

Dan R. said...

That's reassuring news. It's about time that things balanced themselves out.

And I agree with you on McCown and Friedman (I haven't seen enough of Ambrogio since I moved out of the country). It has always been strange to me that the Canadian sports networks haven't been as aggressive in hiring print reporters (with the exception of hockey "insiders") like ESPN has. They even have Josh Elliott, a former SI employee and Columbia journalism grad, anchoring the 6 p.m. Sportscenter on a regular basis. That sort of experience and training is helpful when your show has to deal with the Taylor murder, the Vick situation, etc. I'm opposed to all of the consolidation and convergence, but is seems like CTVglobemedia be wise to throw a boatload of money at someone like Rick Westhead, who has broken major sports stories for the Star and seemed fairly telegenic on a recent HNIC appearance, to have him report for TSN and The Globe and Mail.

Sorry, I'm off topic and monopolizing the comments, so I should say that I agree with Le Batard. Good piece.

Keep up the good work, Neate.