Some day soon, a book will come out entirely centered around the journalistic phenomenon we now call blogging. Specifically sports blogging. It won’t be written by a blogger, but some Ph.D. at a liberal arts school. The book will analyze all the ways in which this new form of media has effected “traditional sports reporting” and how the landscape of event coverage has changed forever. One of the chapters in this book will be an expansion of this article (or at least the beginning of it), published in the New York Times on Monday, April 21. The chapter will center around access, and who deserves what amount. But before all that happens, we want to address this issue in a five-part series starting today. We will view the access question from the perspective of all the major parties involved: owners, players, reporters, bloggers, and we’ll end on Monday with the most important perspective of them all — the fan’s.
PART 2 — THE PLAYERS
Today’s perspective is that of the player. And after much Fynal Cut editorial board discussion, it was decided this particular segment could not be done from the first-person point of view. Here’s why:
As far as being opinionated on the media (whether it be traditional reporters or bloggers), we’ve separated professional athletes into two camps:
One group (in the extreme minority) write their own blogs. These range from the ungodly annoying to the extremely insightful and entertaining. It’s fairly obvious that some athletes (cough, Schilling, cough) do this with the specific intent of avoiding media contact. It’s direct contact with the fan. Cut out the middle man.
On the other hand, some, like Gilbert Arenas, probably just do it for fun — which feels pretty damn good to say.
The player blog has even spun off into a news topic of its own — friend of the Cut Ryan Corazza now writes specifically about athlete’s blogs for ESPN the Mag.
The other 98%, which would be most players in most leagues, could care less who gets credentialed to be in the locker room. As long as they aren’t bothered.
Few athletes actually open up to these individuals anyway, so why would they care for which publication these pests write?
I could see a few potential problems developing out of bloggers being allowed in the locker room.
The first is something like this happening, which would be horrific to bloggers everywhere.
The first time a player complains about a writer — who later turns out to be a blogger (gasp!) — would signal the end of the basement dwellers in the locker room. Ideally, bloggers shouldn’t be subject to different treatment than the regular reporters. But the fact of the matter is, bloggers in the locker room will be a disruption at first.
The reporters will question whether the bloggers should be there. The bloggers will have an air of confidence in thinking they will soon be replacing the beat reporters. And the athlete will be thrown out of his comfort zone and complain to the media relations person.
In the end, the athlete will be fine with bloggers in the stadium, on the team plane, in the shower locker room…until they get annoyed. Which is going to make it extremely difficult for bloggers to do their jobs.
We can only hope players like Gil will try and talk some sense into their fellow players.