Jeff Pearlman

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When a blog post absolutely sucks

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Earlier today, while walking through Target (of all places), it hit me (admittedly, several days late) that A. I owe Erin Andrews a big apology; B. I’m an idiot.

Admittedly, Erin Andrews probably doesn’t read this blog. But perhaps she heard of the post I wrote last week—the one where I called her “the Kardashian of televised sports.”

In a word: Awful.

Writers are responsible for their words. They’re supposed to measure what they write, then measure it again and again and again. Sometimes, unfortunately, I fail to measure. An impulse shoots through my brain, and I fire away, press SAVE, then press PUBLISH. I have an idea of what I want to convey, but I don’t bother to make sure it’s conveyed properly.

Guilty, times 1,000.

First, what the blog was supposed to convey: I love televised sports. But I hate (I mean, truly hate) the way network executives have reserved the sideline reporter position for women, while keeping the play-by-play and lead analyst roles almost exclusively male. I have met many, many, many women in sports media who offer tremendous insight; who know the game as well as anyone you’ll meet; who can break down plays like Chuck Noll and explain the intricacies like Kenny Smith. And yet, they are rarely considered for the key two slots.

Furthermore, when it comes to women reporters, networks (in my opinion) place too great an emphasis on looks. I know … I know—it’s a visual medium, and attractiveness draws viewers. Still, it strikes me as an awful double standard. Nobody’s demanding beauty and sexiness from, say, Chris Berman or Joe Buck or Stuart Scott. Yet it seems that—bottom line—women with sex appeal have an inside track over women with fantastic knowledge and poise but, say, a belly. Or a mole. I get it. Really, I do. It just infuriates me, because I’ve known very talented women who have felt they don’t really have a shot.

So … that’s what I meant to convey. And, interestingly, I received several e-mails from women in sports media, thanking me for making the point. But, ultimately, I failed miserably. I blasted Erin Andrews and killed the entire intent. The post wound up being juvenile and stupid. Some accused me of being sexist—which fucking tore at my insides, in that the whole goal was to speak on behalf of women. Boy, that went over well.

I don’t know Erin Andrews. I’ve heard she’s a nice person who works hard.

She certainly didn’t deserve this nonsense.

My apology. Sincerely.

PS: To the people on Twitter who have expressed your disgust with me—100 percent right on. One. Hundred. Percent. I earned it.

PPS: An important point: Oftentimes, when people work for corporations, the corporate entity forces an apology in a neatly worded statement. To be clear: I work for no one. I’m apologizing because my post sucked, and she deserved better. No other motive. I was wrong—period.

  • frank m

    Jeff,

    Your apology was complete at, “I’m sorry.” Unfortunately even your apology is riddled with hot air and sense of insincerity. Sometimes remaining a low profile is best. A sort of grounding one’s self.

    A good writer knows what to write. A great writer knows what NOT to write.

    But at least you made an effort

  • So….

    “I have met many, many, many women in sports media who offer tremendous insight; who know the game as well as anyone you’ll meet; who can break down plays like Chuck Noll and explain the intricacies like Kenny Smith. And yet, they are rarely considered for the key two slots.”

    I call bullshit. Give between three and five examples of women in today’s sports media that can compare to those two individuals you mention.

    Hey, I’m not in total agreement with your original point regarding Andrews, but you could take over Revis Island with this backpedal.

    The only thing worse than a strong opinion is tucking your head between your legs when it gets too hot.

    Sad.

    • http://Mikeylito.com/sports Mike Murray

      Off the top of my head, I can’t name three to five, but I’ll start with one.

      Doris Burke

      She’s knows women’s AND men’s basketball, both on the college and professional level. She can analyze with the best of them, can do play-by-play and, this year, her employer is trying her as a studio host. Also, while not unattractive, Ms. Burke is also not a stellar beauty. (On a ten scale, I’d give her a 7… eight if she removes the spectacles.)

      Surely, she’s not the only one.

      Robin Roberts
      Linda Cohn
      Rachel Nichols
      Lisa Salters

      Is that five?

      • So….

        Well, first of all you are not “Jeff”.

        Secondly, please provide any clips and/or articles breaking down as Mr. Pearlman describes. Four of the six you mention don’t do more than read what’s in front of them. I’ll even concede some at least are investigative in their reporting, but a far cry from what was initially mentioned.

        Hey, at least SOMEONE responded.

    • SloppyD

      “The only thing worse than a strong opinion is tucking your head between your legs when it gets too hot.”

      I read your version of “tucking your tail between your legs” as “having the humility and good sense to realize that you may have overstated your case in an inelegant, shrill manner that totally undermined your intent.”

      I’m not an avid Pearlman reader, but I don’t get the impression he’s known for melting into a puddle of apologetic goo at the first sign of opposition. Are you saying no-one should ever reconsider their POV and either recant or restate it to more accurately reflect their feelings?

      Having a strong opinion about certain topics is one sign of being a thinking human. Being unwilling to budge even when you’ve had time to reflect and realize you maybe have made a mistake is one sign of being an insufferable prick. I’m not sure if you’re one, or the other, or both, but taking shots at someone for what appears to be a sincere mea culpa ain’t a good sign.

  • Ben Kabak

    Smart move Jeff

  • Tex Antoine

    Dickless.

  • John

    Yep. When I read it, I thought it was misplaced. We all make mistakes, it’s great when we admit them.

  • Bob G

    Jeff, while you are in the mood for apologizing, how about one for the OKC reporter that you lambasted awhile back over the Sports Illustrated attack on the Oklahoma State football program. That blog was just as misguided as your Erin Andrews post.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      You mean the one who was 100% biased and had no business reporting on that story? That guy, Bob?

  • Bob G

    Pot calling the kettle black…..

    • Jeff Pearlman

      Please elaborate, Bob.

      • Bob G

        Last time I checked, Jeffy, we all live in America. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. The reporter simply expressed his opinion on Twitter. Of course it was biased. Opinions usually are. You threw a temper tantrum because his opinions shed a negative light on your buddies at SI. It seems you are okay with attacking an unknown reporter in OKC, but cave to the blow back you receive from attacking a nationally known female reporter.
        I agree completely with the person that responded earlier with “The only thing worse than a strong opinion is tucking your head between your legs when it gets too hot”. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • http://Twitter.com/RichWardJr Rich Ward

    I tried to respond appropriately on Twitter, but it’s simply impossible in 140 characters – especially a topic such as this. I’ve followed you and your work for a long time, and I’ve read nearly all of your books. I respect your work, and I respect you.

    I hated the Erin Andrews post; it made my insides sick. But I understood your intent…just hated the way it was converyed (which you acknowledged). Erin Andrews is not great at her job. She’s beautiful, smart, endearing, successful and shouldn’t give even a turn of the head to posts like yours or opinions like mine. But, like many male analysts and reporters, she’s not very good. Sex and looks matter not in that opinion.

    I, for one (and though my opinion matters little) respect your apology and appreciate that there was no hint of “I’m sorry, but…”

    You screwed up. You admitted it. I’ve been reading your work for too long to believe you would publish an apology just to save face. We’re too damn quick to condemn these days – I prefer to see the good in people.

    Keep up the good work, Jeff. You at least one reader who appreciates this post.

  • So….

    “I have met many, many, many women in sports media who offer tremendous insight; who know the game as well as anyone you’ll meet; who can break down plays like Chuck Noll and explain the intricacies like Kenny Smith. And yet, they are rarely considered for the key two slots.”

    Day 2. I’ll give you a chance to answer more than two, less than four.

    Hell, I’ll even give you Suzy Kolber.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      Day 2? Did I miss Day 1.

      Shit, easy …

      1. Angela Taylor—just named GM of the WNBA team in Atlanta, hosted an insanely good sports radio show.
      2. Bonnie Bernstein—As smart as they get about sports. Men or women.
      3. Jody Vance—Watch her. You’ll learn a shitload.
      4. Erica Herskowitz—WFAN. Should have had her own show years ago.
      5. Kim Jones—Also works for WFAN and NFL Network. Great shit whenever she’s on.

      You want another five?

      • Joe T.

        How about Lindsey Czarniak? She was local sports here in DC beforing getting the ESPN gig and knows her stuff.

        • So….

          1. A WNBA reporter you bashed as a sport before.

          2. Bonnie did a great job in her role, and a sideline reporter which most can do, no proof of anything more than that.

          3. Morning host in Canada. If I can’t find her on 600 channels on my TV, hard to learn a shitload.

          4. Local update girl. Yep, put her up against Chuck Noll anyday.

          5. I watch NFL Network pretty regularly. Any info on the ‘great shit’ she has broken down?

          Several days to respond Jeff, and that’s the best you can do. If you want to give another five that nobody hasn’t heard of and you can google over the next few days to cover your ass (again), feel free brah.

  • http://Btvancouver.ca Jody Vance

    Good on you Jeff. Erin Andrews et al are hardworking people who happen to be women. We all do our best.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

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