Over the past few years the number of NFL and scouting blogs have grown exponentially. It seems as though that’s not the only thing that has grown. The disdain by the professional sports journalism and commentator establishment of this new media movement has grown as well. Can the two worlds ever coexist? Should they even try?
Obviously this set off an understandable backlash from all of the hard-working scouts and bloggers who run several websites in their spare time.
Or this from Phil Mackey of ESPN1500: “sports bloggers want to be friends w/ players and think they can be GMs” and “I appreciate the work of some sports bloggers. But at times I think some of their platforms are too large in 2012. No accountability.” (Shout out to firstroundbust.com for the quote )
— Cuban said there are so many blogs, everyone has to really work hard to stand out. “The shortcut is just to make something up. Bloggers will claim an inside source when it’s not legitimate.”
— He also blamed traditional media for not trusting their own sources and abilities and following every blog rumor.
Were any of these comments justified?
I think one of the biggest gripes the establishment journalists have against the blogging community is the freedom and ease at which we operate. For a professional sports writer, accountability and credibility are everything. Most go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the facts they report can be corroborated through multiple valid sources. They do that to protect themselves, and to protect their employers from a myriad of legal and credibility issues that could damage the brand. They also spend years devoted to building relationships with players, owners and management. This takes time, great people skills, trust, and attention to detail. I think there is a natural tendency to despise content and buzz created by less “professional” means.
While I agree with that premise, and can also appreciate the annoyance of having 15-20 blogs devoted to each NFL team spreading MSM viewership thin, I say get over it. In this digital media age, fans are savvy. They have enormous amounts of choices when it comes to sports content. This is one area I agree with Mark Cuban 100%. It is very hard to stand out, and the sites that do, earn it through credible, knowledgeable, insightful, and entertaining content. So for me, this argument falls a little flat. There is more than one way to deliver quality sports content, and good website owners are making that statement more true every day.
This brings me back to Pat Kirwin and his very laughably insecure Twitter post. There are a ton of us who love the game of football and spend hours reviewing game tape, writing articles, and communicating with thousands of fans through social media, all while working full-time. Moreover, most of the ex scouts, and coaches who run scouting websites do so for free because it’s their passion to do so.
When sports establishment professionals go out of their way to criticize the “fake FB guys” It tells me that we have a long way to go before both sides can find the middle ground needed to coexist peacefully. But fear not…A sports writing revolution is coming, and the old and stale ratings centered MSM (enter Tim Tebow, Lebron James, Lakers, Yankees, Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots, Jets and NFC East continual coverage as exhibit A) is beginning to take notice..
That’s a good thing. For fans everywhere.