Somewhat echoing the earlier comments of Murray Chass, add the New York Post’s resident conscience of all things sports media, Phil Mushnick, to the small chorus of those who find something slightly unseemly about the Daily News’ Adam Rubin receiving career guidance from Jeff Wilpon. While acknowledging Omar Minaya’s remarks Monday were “slathered with cheap desperation”, Mushnick protests “the sports media have a long and dishonorable tradition of trying to ingratiate themselves to the teams and people they cover in exchange for future considerations, be it access, a few bucks or a full-time job.”
The sports media know that “playing ball” can provide all manner of benefits, from regular paid writing gigs in team yearbooks and game programs, to team-site Internet gigs, to book deals, to front-office club and league positions, to full-time team TV and radio deals. Certain credentialed reporters, men and women, become looked upon by teams’ management and ownership as “our people,” often inexpensively compromised.
Just think of the beating a certain national all-sports network would daily be taking if so many big-time writers and columnists, throughout the country, weren’t on its payroll as contributors.
Does truth-telling suffer? Suffer? It’s often destroyed. And there’s no one who has spent more than a year on a sports beat who doesn’t strongly sense the co-opted among them.
That’s why some of the indignant and horrified fallout to Minaya’s ugly claim against Rubin was a bit much. Everyone knows half a dozen “house men” who trade on their media credentials. Make it a dozen.