A few years back someone told me that I should see about posting my editorial type pieces on The Examiner, because I could reach a larger audience and presumably because the guidelines to becoming a "contributing" writer over there is not that stringent. You can tell that the bench mark for writing for Examiner is not very high, just by reading some of the trash that is posted there.
Now that is not meant to disparage the honestly good writers that HAVE written for The Examiner and who currently still do. However it's foolish to think that there's not horrible writing there, and unfortunately there's more bad than good, which affects the overall image of the site as a low rent blog of sorts.
But who am I to judge that, since I post on this low rent blog of my own creation.
I mention that, because I read something on Bleacher Report today which is another shoddy blog site where virtually anyone can post their half baked trade proposals or sports analysis which makes a lot of hard core sports fans cringe when they read it. This is another site that, while they have some really solid people writing there, and I've read some surprisingly good, well thought out things on there (surprisingly, considering the site I mean), there's also just some really horrible stuff there, which like the Examiner, creates this image of the Bleacher Report as a garbage source of news and information.
MORE AFTER THE BREAK
So much so that on many forums I've been on if someone posts a link to Bleacher Report to reinforce an argument they are trying to make, they get laughed out of the room and it's well established that nobody considers that a credible source, no matter if they happen to be right or not. Much like Wikipedia. Anyone can post there, so the journalistic standards are extremely low.
Again, much like my own blog. I write what I feel, and there's nothing to stop me from doing so beyond my own self. So when I make those statements, I do so with the full knowledge that my blog is considered lower on the journalistic scale, I'd gather, then those sites by a lot of people based simply on the fact that those sites are much much more well known. Doesn't make what they are writing any more credible than my writing, just they're more well known.
I mean Perez Hilton and the Drudge Report are massively read online, and yet are they considered "credible" sources of news? Ehhh...
So now that that's out of the way, allow me to express WHY I'm posting this. I saw a blog post on Bleacher Report (I found it in a google search on Skip Bayless) and I was blown away by the... the... I'm not really sure how to express what I thought about this.
On The Bleacher Report, there was an article and the headline was "Skip Bayless Should Face Punishment For Jeter PED Comments".
There was lots to ridicule about this article, however this section has to take the cake.
But here is something that is not—and this is often neglected by people who think athletes are robots.
Sometimes people who never walked in the shoes of an aging athlete do not get it. They do not realize the game aging athletes love becomes easier and less pressure-packed when he or she realizes the window to their career is slowly coming to a close.
When that happens the game becomes more fun. When the game becomes fun, the game slows down. Things become clearer. And suddenly that 95-mph fastball with sharp movement is not such a challenge.
No matter the sport, no matter the level of competition, this is called being at peace.
It is the same peace Jeter is experiencing right now.
This coming from a guy in this 30's (judging from the picture, and I'm a bad judge admittedly) who has no info on playing sports, and is clearly not an "aging athlete". So the very thing he accuses Bayless and others of being, "people who never walked in the shoes of an aging athlete" who don't get it, he himself is. So while by that logic Bayless may not be able to speak on this type of thing, neither can the writer.
And what's this horseshit about when you get older, the game slows down and things become clearer and how oh, look at that! Suddenly hitting a 95MPH fastball with sharp movement just isn't that difficult. Who cares that at the end of careers the reflexes are gone, the athletes tend to get much slower, and their reaction time is shot. According to this writer, that's when suddenly athletes are able to relax and just have fun and not have a hard time hitting a damn fastball. All those other years the athletes were clearly not having fun, but when they're about to exit the game, stage right, suddenly everything clicks and it's time to have fun.
Oh Jesus take the wheel, did I just read that?
Now I've been on record as not being a fan of Skip Bayless. Why I subscribe the free First Take podcast, I'll never know. A strong level of masochism, perhaps. I've spoken out before on his taking a devil's advocate position just to stir up controversy. His lionizing of Tim Tebow, an athlete I like, while degrading and humiliating Lebron James, an athlete I don't particularly care about, to his tendency to make outrageous claims that have no bearing on reality.
There have been things that he has said in the past that perhaps warranted some talking to by the powers that be in the ESPN headquarters, such as his suspect comments when it comes to race. However, this is not one of those times.
Allow me to explain.
Look at what Skip Bayless was saying. He said that you would have to have your head buried in the sand to not at least WONDER about Derek Jeter, considering how he has had a sudden resurgence in production after a few seasons in which people were openly saying that he was finished. To be clear, I don't think Jeter's guilty and it would shock me like almost nothing else if he was. No matter who accuses him, unless he fails a test or there's overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I'll never believe that Jeter's guilty of PED use.
However consider all the big name stars that have failed tests over the years or who have admitted to it. Not only asshole players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, not only "of COURSE they're juicing" players like Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, but also players who were not either of those. Alex Rodriguez, quarter billion dollar contract aside, was never a hated player nor a guy that was really expected to have been dirty, and yet he admitted that he took performance enhancing drugs.
How many athletes have we seen over the years that had crystal clean images, who we would never in a million years suspect transgressions like we would soon learn? Kobe Bryant was an all american poster child for marketing. Had tons of endorsements, not a speck of dirt anywhere. Then came Colorado where he was accused of raping a woman there at a hotel. Those charges went away, but he admitted that the sex was consensual, and that he had cheated on his wife.
Tiger Woods was much the same, until his car crashed into a tree, and then we found out about all the women he was having affairs with.
Mel Gibson? He wasn't necessarily the pure innocent guy, but we had no idea that he was a racist anti-semitic psychopath.
The bottom line is we don't know these people. We think we do. We get to see them perform, we see the interviews, the carefully crafted image on display, and yet we don't ever see the real person. So when their flaws are exposed for all to see, it's a shock to the system. Our judgement was just as flawed as their characters.
So why is it so outrageous when Bayless makes perhaps one of his few salient points? He said that you can't really trust anyone anymore, that just because someone seems beyond reproach, just because someone has never been suspected or accused of anything, it doesn't automatically disqualify the idea that he may in fact not be the angel that we all thought.
In my entire life of watching sports, there's only one athlete that I would stake everything I own on that they are absolutely pure and clean, and that is Dale Murphy, the legendary Atlanta Braves player. He played a bit too long, and his later years of low production dragged down his career numbers significantly thus ending any legit chance of him getting into the Hall of Fame, where I believe he belongs.
However even though there is no doubt in my mind he's clean, I could never say that there's a 100% impossibility of him having done something. I absolutely refute any idea that Murphy or Jeter were/are dirty players. But the idea that ESPN should "punish" Skip for broaching that idea is ludicrous and points back to my initial comments in this post. It's a prime example of a knee jerk reaction by an obvious New York Yankees fan, completely biased and ridiculous.
I have my issues with Bayless' attention whoring, but he was dead on accurate with this. No one is saying Derek Jeter is dirty. Bayless has simply stated what should be obvious to everyone: No one is above suspicion. Not anymore. Not with the sheer number of players that have tested dirty or admitted to doping.
And this attacking the messenger is pointless. Bayless has much to be taken to task for, but this is not one of them.
It shocks me to say this, but Skip Bayless was right on this.