SBD/15/Sports Media

NEWSDAY'S OP-ED WRITER CRITICIZES SI'S PATERNITY COVER STORY

          Sports Illustrated's recent cover story on pro athletes
     fathering out-of-wedlock children was the subject of an op-
     ed by NY-based writer Barbara Walder in NEWSDAY.  Walder
     wrote that the "behavior of the SI editors who published the
     article, and editorial writers at The New York Times and
     elsewhere who praised it ... should be in question, not the
     private behavior of the athletes."  Walder called the story
     "shoddy, exploitative and in some ways, ridiculous" and
     "written in a combination National Enquirer, Ladies' Home
     Journal and Harvard Lampoon style."  She called the story a
     "cheap, easy way to make news and to seem important." 
     Walder: "But all that phony high-mindedness is just an
     excuse to take the low road, examining the sex and personal
     lives of some professional athletes in a way those editors 
     -- if it was done to them -- would surely see as unfair,
     racially insensitive and dishonest. ... Is this any of our
     business?"  Walder concluded by noting that "almost all" of
     the athletes "financially support their out-of-wedlock
     children."  Walder: "It's easy to take shots at pro
     athletes.  But it's sports journalism like this SI story
     that should be in everyone's sights" (NEWSDAY, 5/14).
   
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