08.15.07

Couch Slouch : Enough With The Sportswriters On TV

Posted in Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 9:05 am by

(word to The Slouch : Nipsey’s been dead for almost two years)

Observing the plethora of sports gabfests on television that heavily feature commentators who made their names as print journalists, Norman Chad —one of those yackmeisters himself — uses his latest syndicated column to proclaim, “we’ve gone from minor nuisance to cultural menace. What was once just “The Sports Reporters” is now a sports Armageddon.”

I woke up in a dead sweat the other night because Skip Bayless was in one of my dreams excoriating Mike Shanahan for a bad third-down play call. Plus, I saw an ear, nose and throat specialist last week in a desperate attempt to get Stephen A. Smith’s voice out of my head.If ESPN got out of the sports business tomorrow, half of America’s top sports columnists would have to send their children back to public schools.

With all of our sharpest scribblers becoming serial screamers, there is a huge talent drain out of newspapers. Which brings me to two of the best at both, my erstwhile friends Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon of “PTI.”(Disclosure: I used to be an occasional presence on “Pardon The Interruption,” but I was sent down to the minors and eventually banished from the program. These days, I co-host a cable access show, “Excuse The Disturbance,” with Nipsey Russell.)

Kornheiser once was as good as it gets as a sports columnist at the Washington Post. But, because of his TV and radio duties, he went from writing three columns a week to two a week to one a week to dictating “columnettes” into a black hole. All he writes now are biweekly checks to his therapist. He also plays golf.Then there’s Wilbon. Apocryphal story: I used to know Mike pretty well when we worked at the Post. A month ago, I happened to be in one of the several country clubs in which he is a member. I went up to him to say hello – I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years – and he handed me his valet parking ticket to be validated. He also plays golf.

You understand what I’m saying here? Quality sportswriters are jumping to the other side, and when they get to the other side, they forget the ink-stained wretches they’ve left behind

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