In the aftermath of the fateful Buzz Bissinger/Will Leitch (above, left) throwdown on “Costas Now”, the Fanhouse’s Ryan Wilson wondered why, with the exception of Big Sexy and uh, yours truly, hardly anyone had called attention to the skilled slice & dice NPR’s Scott Simon performed on Leitch earier this year.
The words “no comment” clearly not being part of his vocabularly, Leitch admitted to Wilson he was “embarrassed” by the exchange with Simon, the tendency to question the “blackness” of prominent public figures being “something that hadn’t even occurred to me”. When asked by Wilson why the NPR story received relatively little play in the sports blogosphere, Leitch replied :
I’m not so sure that people are afraid of pissing off me, or Deadspin. I think I’ve been pretty level-headed in giving plenty of play for all viewpoints, even those that aren’t fans of what we do (I’ve even linked to CSTB on occasion), and if anyone thinks I”m going to blackball someone because they criticize me, they are mistaken.
Indeed, Will has linked to CSTB nearly a half dozen times in Deadspin’s 33 months of existence. Almost as many times, actually, when Deadspin was still in beta mode, but that’s fair enough. It probably took a little while for the full splendor of the cultural mosaic that is modern sports blogging to be fully absorbed by our hero. Though if you buy into D.K. Wilson‘s line of thinking, it might take just a bit longer. From Monday’s National Sports Review :
Ten million pages, or so, of Deadspin are œturned every month. The vast majority of which are written by a man who tells us that his Internet raison d™etre is due to the fact that œsports have been essentially hijacked by a sports entertainment industry that hyperbolizes to promote itself.
And yet that statement is exactly what exists in the pages that constitute the weblog that is Deadspin.
Perhaps that is Leitch™s private joke. Perhaps that™s why he stumbles and stutters each time he is confronted with the material within his blog that so panders to the white frat boy sports blogosphere – and the people of other colors who love them, or whore themselves to achieve the infamous œI was linked by Will Leitch status (oh, the t-shirt sales¦).
That this mirroring of the mainstream, under the guise of being its antithesis, is not grossly apparent to even the youngest reader of Deadspin, is, in the vacuum of lighter circumstances, a hoot. However, because it actively courts, thrives and is dependent on people who find commonality in who can œout Henny Youngman each other (to borrow a phrase about Deadspin commenters from MODI), people who openly loathe people of color, particularly black people, and people who openly hate the fact that athletes make millions of dollars to play what they consider œchildren™s games, Deadspin has become serious business.
For black people who do not share the overreaching opinions of Deadspin or its visitors, the image is particularly harsh. We are not œinvited to join the legion of œLeitch™s Leeches – not that we particularly aspire to – Leitch largely refuses our websites and blogs.
It is equally no accident that the writers who work for AOL Fanhouse, Deadspin, and their favored blogging minions, all write in a similar dumbed-down fashion. It is no accident that they have all gained popularity by largely eschewing serious sports analysis, tackling serious sports-related issues such as race and racism in and around sports, or taken any stances that would jeopardize their oh-so-close to Big Box status.
And for their purposely acting to further dumb down sport watching audiences, they are lauded rather than laughed at and dismissed by too many mainstream journalists. It is these same mainstream sports writers who privately wipe their brows in relief knowing that as long as rumor, innuendo, and opinion and analysis based on reductionist thinking rule the day on the Internet, they are safe from one less set of marauders on their collective space.