Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thanks a Million, Stray-Rod

I really don't care that a married Alex Rodriguez picked up a skank at the rippers in Toronto this week. Seriously, why is this news?

I can't say I'm surprised at the New York Post for grabbing this story and running with it; this is what the Post does -- they're a tabloid. I can't say I'm surprised one bit... but I am pretty unnerved by the whole thing.

Tabloid journalism is nothing new to the sports world. We hear about players' personal lives constantly; think about things like the Vikings' sex cruise or Michael Vick's alleged dogfighting rings. And papers are not new to the party: look at the source of this "Stray-Rod" business, the New York Post. The Post has been notorious for years for creating news amongst New York sports teams--whether it's the interminable rumor-creation in regards to Joe Torre's job security or pretty much anything Peter Vecsey writes--but it all appears tame to the world of sports when compared to the "story" they "broke" this week.

First off, this whole story is a smear campaign. If this had been Jeter or Rivera or Posada the Post might have considered not even buying the photos. But since it was a man who has yet to earn his Yankee pinstripes, a man the fans are all too happy to run straight out of town, the Post paid a likely king's ransom for the photos so they could slag A-Rod on their front page for a couple days. If it's a real story, they'd run it no matter who it was.

Secondly, it sets a dangerous precedent to pay mercenary paparazzi photographers to follow athletes around and snap pictures of everything they do -- especially on the road. You may say, "Teeple, this is the fault of blogs! You are a commenter on Deadspin, a site that made its name publishing photos of Ben Roethlisberger and Kyle Orton getting wasted!" And you have a semi-valid point by saying so... kinda. I don't blame the blogs one bit; the photos Deadspin occasionally runs are usually taken by people who are at a party and say to themselves, "Hey, check it out, that's Greg Oden grinding on a tiny white girl," whip out their camera phones and snap a quick shot of it. These people aren't ruthless mercenary hounds like the celebrity paparazzi that borderline-terrorize movie stars in L.A., they're guys like you and me who think it's funny to see Brady Quinn doing the Y.M.C.A. at A.J. Hawk's wedding. There's a bit of a humorous innocence to saying "Hey, Michael Jordan is a rowdy, lecherous drunk in Cabo, just like me!"

When you cross the line into following athletes around with cameras, especially on the road, you get yourself onto a slippery slope because the fact is that most athletes are not like us at all; THEY ARE ENORMOUS DIRTBAGS. When you get reasonably good-looking men (and in a lot of cases even ugly ones) that are filthy rich, horny and thousands of miles away from their wives, it won't take them a ton of effort to go and find a bimmie at the gentlemen's clubs. What I mean to say is, SportsCenter won't have any room for actualy game highlights if all we do is report the extramarital sexual conquests of certain star athletes.

Please, let's keep paparazzi-style tabloid journalism in it's place: Hollywood; and leave the "real sports reporting" to the likes of Pedro Gomez, Rachel Nichols and Shelley Smith.

...wait a second...

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