Friday, December 14, 2007

Notes (Exchange) on a Scandal

It was the headline that got me: US sportswriters urge end to sluggers' 'freak show.' Professional Sportswriters (for lack of a better term) are finally calling out the players for their misdeeds and what they have done to the league and the game. This is interesting for two reasons. The first is a general acknowledgment that the Mitchell Report confirms many things that sportswriters and players had heard all along. So where were the (pre-Barry Bonds) stories? The media professionals are just as culpable for letting this go on as the players. A-Rod hangs out with a mann-ish stripper and ESPN's all over it right away, but the McGuire v Sosa home run battle? Crickets.

Second, if I'm a player (and I am.. ROWR! Ladies, call me!) then I would have a few choice words for the sportswriters of America. Namely, inquiring if the collective beat reporters' online notes-exchange sites have been terminated. Remember that? All the way back to March of this year. To review, Boston Globe Reporter Ron Borges was suspended because he plagiarized from another publication, and acknowledge his source material was an online community of sports reporters who upload their notes with the understanding that they could use others' in exchange. Who says the MSM hasn't learned anything in the internet age? This is journalistic Napster, people.

Dan Shanoff and Deadspin both discussed the larger implications of widespread sports plagiarism, so there's nothing for to add. But a briefly exposed and conveniently forgotten reporters' online notes-exchange is the same kind of performance enhancement for which our righteous professional sportswriters crucify the players. Just because you're not getting a needle in the ass, doesn't mean it's not cheating. Then again, it's only cheating if you get caught, right?

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