Yesterday, I did a post on the lessons to be learned from Deadspin’s Kyle Wagner making an egregious mistake. He wrote that 3-on-3 basketball is coming to the 2016 Olympics. Apparently, Wagner didn’t realize he was basing his story on a satiric piece.
On my Twitter feed, Jeff Pearlman pointed out a post he did on the same writer.
Pearlman was reacting to a Wagner post on Deadspin with the headline, “The Worst Sportswriting of 2014.”
Pearlman was on the list for a story on Ray Rice. He didn’t dispute his presence, saying his work was lacking that day.
Pearlman’s post then includes this passage:
“Well,” I wrote, “I certainly deserved to be there.”
“No,” he replied. “Did you see the others on it?”
In all my self-indulgence, I hadn’t noticed. So I returned to Deadspin, returned to The Worst American Sportswriting Of 2014 and read the entire thing.
I responded to my friend: “What the fuck?”
According to the article, among the “worst American sportswriting of 2014″ was this piece by the amazing Chris Jones, this piece by the amazing Wright Thompson and this piece by the amazing Bill Simmons. Other cited writers include Jason Whitlock, Mike Lupica, Mitch Albom, Peter King and Pete Thamel. With the exception of my dogshit blog entry, none of the highlighted articles were particularly bad. The best work ever from those guys? Maybe not. But “worst American sportswriting of 2014″? Not even on the radar.
Pearlman then addresses Wagner:
But here’s the thing: It takes an awfully arrogant scribe to tell guys like Jones and Thompson that their writing blows (I mean, if a writer is tearing down another writer in print, he surely believes his work to be superior). Just as I needed Catherine Mayhew in 1995, Kyle Wagner (in my opinion) needed an editor in 2014. He needed someone at Deadspin to pull him aside and say, “I know this is fun, I know this will get you a bunch of high-fives inside the office, I know ripping Peter King seems cool—but for something this disposable and unimportant, it’s not worth it. A. Because it just looks stupid to destroy the writing of people who are (at this point in their/your career) 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 times more accomplished and talented; B. Because you might want to leave Gawker one day. Maybe for ESPN, maybe for SI, maybe for the New York Times or the Daily News. Just maybe. And people are inevitably going to Google you, and they’re going to find your snarky amateur-ish December 31, 2014 critique of (with the exception of one shitty blog post) stuff written by their top staffers. And they’re going to tell you to go fuck yourself.”
Of course, Deadspin’s mission is to tear down everything and anything. Pearlman, though, is right. Wagner might want to consider whether this is in the best interests of his career.
Pearlman has more to say. Definitely worth the read.
Pearlman also wrote about Wagner’s gaffe this week.
As for Wagner, wonder if his erroneous post on three-on-three basketball in the Olympics will be included in Deadspin’s “Worst Sportswriting in 2015?”