Then Randy Cross is some dumbass with a microphone
Yesterday morning I caught the first segment of The Opening Drive on Sirius NFL Radio, the drive time show with Bob Papa and former 49ers offensive lineman Randy Cross. I love the show so if you are reading this Randy and Bob, why the hell do you guys so often hate on football blogs?
Is it because Sirius NFL Radio is a league owned property and you are prohibited from commenting negatively on star players like Terrell Owens? I call this the lapdog defense.
Is it because you perceive because blogs, message boards and other internet based properties that do not compete for scarce radio or TV time as direct competitors to your media and as such cannot be legitimized for competition purposes? I call this the elitism defense.
Or is it even simpler, that like so many in the traditional media outlets of radio, TV and newspapers, you literally have no idea that said unregulated, unconstrained and multiplying like Tribbles football blogs, message boards and internet properties are slowly putting your head underwater and rendering you less useful every day? I call this the lack of self awareness defense.
The thing that ticked me off yesterday was the opening segment, the banter started between Randy and Bob about how Terrell Owens was a no show for the Bills' voluntary workouts. Randy Cross then segued awkwardly into a story that broke three days ago and has had very little play.
The story as reported on TheDirty.com gossip blog is that Terrell Owens, on Saturday 21 March 2009 exited MYNT nightclub in Miami Beach, obviously intoxicated, got on whatever fad pseudo motorcycle new money young men are riding these days, was pulled over immediately and not only was not arrested but wound up giving the officers involved autographs.
AND OH BOB AND RANDY WERE IN AN INDIGNANT LATHER
Calling it innuendo and lacking facts Randy railed that Bill coach Dick Jauron and the Buffalo media were now going to have to address this non event because some numbnuts on a blog put something out there.
Bob petulantly told us that Wednesday Terrell was awarded the Young Champions Award of the National Alzheimer's Association, Terrell's grandmother is afflicted with Alzheimer's and it has been his philanthropy for years. Bob then angrily mentioned that numbnuts with the blog did not bother to mention this award while trashing Terrell with hearsay about a near miss DUI.
I say again Bob Papa berated a gossip blog for not mentioning Terrell Owens' philanthropy efforts while reporting that Terrell came stumbling out of a bar near 4am and immediately drew police attention.
I ask you to have another look at the story. I am not a professional journalist but I know a little about how decisions about running a story work.
Is it plausible? In other words, is it believeable that Terrell Owens came staggering out of a nightclub in Miami Beach, where he makes his offseason home, drunk as shit, got onto a motor vehicle conveyance and had a brush with the law. I would submit yes that is plausible.
Is there corroboration? No names are named but if you look at the piece, three sources are cited with relevance to the story, a club employee that said Terrell had his own bottle of vodka, a hotel employee that said Terrell arrived at the hotel late night and was visibly impaired and the female that witnessed the sobriety test who says the Miami Beach police forced her to delete all images of the test from her camera or phone.
So it is back to first amendment versus libel laws. The impugned demand regularly to have defamatory material removed from the internets. Lawsuits are always available to rich people like Terrell Owens. If they take it down and apologize it does not mean it is not true, it may mean simply that TheDirty.com is not willing to fight that fight.
If however it is a fabrication, even a second hand made up story passed along, then all originators deserve the scorn and legal action they will earn. But my guess is this is a true story and Terrell will just wait it out, after all there was no arrest and apparently no longer any pictures.
The lesson here is not journalism 101. The lesson is not that numbnuts bloggers are above the law or beyond ethics. There are two lessons here.
The first lesson is ignore a story you do not like if it really has no bearing on your existence. Or else you risk keeping it alive another day. By attacking the story, the blog and the medium, Bob and Randy look as though they have some reason to defend Terrell and a league owned property would want to tread lightly as to whether listeners believe the hosts are in the tank for league stars, regardless of their character.
The second lesson is attack the story and not the medium. Football blogs and other internet properties are busy working for free or little to help shovel cash into the pockets of the league and all its sycophants. Why? Because we love the sport. While all those beat reporters Randy loves so much are slowly being turned out on the street as their newspapers go away, sports blogs continue to skyrocket in popularity, by one measure each of the nearly 200 SBNation sports blogs has more than twelve thousand unique vistors a month, and this little site is averaging nearly eight thousand visits a month and has experienced little dropoff in the offseason.
I do not yet possess the power to take over all known media.
Randy Cross 1976 rookie playing card from here.