Thursday, April 15, 2010

You don't want Roger Goodell's job

The latest black eye for the NFL's reputation has arrived in the form of camera-phone video of an obviously stewed Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones making disparaging remarks about Bill Parcells and Tim Tebow during a conversation in a bar. Many of us have probably been liquored up and said things we regretted the next day. The difference is, what we said didn't end up on ESPN over and over and over again. I understand that times have changed. There's a 24-hour news cycle, and the old rules about what passes for news, even in the sports world, are out the window. But I think it's unseemly that the sports media is taking what was essentially a private conversation and splashing it all over the radio and TV. It's not as if Jones made these remarks at a news conference or some other scheduled public event. Jerry Jones is a pretty easy guy to dislike, and as a public figure, he has to expect to be under the microscope. But I still think he deserves the right to have a conversation with a couple of other people in a bar without some opportunistic slimeball voyeuristically and surreptitiously videotaping him and then selling the video to some Internet site. And ESPN, of course, leaped on this with both feet. I'm a fan of the "Mike and Mike" show on ESPN. I watch and/or listen to the program every weekday. But their defense of ESPN repeatedly showing the Jones video and their spending an inordinate amount of time talking about it sort of fell flat with me. One of their main arguments was that, while the shooting of the video was wrong, they have an obligation to repeatedly show it and to talk about it endlessly because it’s “news.” Let me translate that for you: They won’t do the dirty work themselves, but they’ll perch like vultures and feast on the carrion that is drug into public by people with lesser morals. Their other argument was that if they didn't give the video wall-to-wall coverage, viewers and listeners would turn to other outlets that did. Translation: Journalistic integrity and ethics aren’t as important as ratings and advertising dollars. It's a far cry from the days when reporters looked the other way when Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin and other pro athletes and coaches were drinking, carousing and raising hell. But maybe we've gone too far. It's almost reached the point at which the actual games are taking a back seat to the off-field goings-on. There's a big difference between a star quarterback being accused of sexual assault, which is a legitimate news story, and an NFL owner getting a snootful of booze and talking to some folks at a tavern. One is news. The other is an invasion of privacy.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right. I grew up in Queens during the 1950s and 1960s and read the sports section of the New York Daily News every day and can't remember even a hint of negative press related to any off-field antics of Yankees. Only later did it come out that Mantle and Whitey Ford, among others, were legendary for their drinking and carousing. A different world in a different time.

April 16, 2010 at 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's stupid to believe that every owner in professional sports does not have an opinion about players, coaches and even fans. This was nothing more than bushwhacking Jones and it makes him a sympathetic figure in my eyes. And I thought that would be a pretty hard thing to accomplish.

April 17, 2010 at 12:31 PM  

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