SBD/March 2, 2011/Media

SI Parts Ways With Motorsports Reporter Tom Bowles For Cheering Bayne's Victory

Bowles says that he was not only media member cheering for Bayne
Sports Illustrated has parted ways with motorsports reporter Tom Bowles for cheering Trevor Bayne's victory in last month's Daytona 500. Bowles chronicled and defended the actions that led to his dismissal in a post on, writing, "Before I could control it, my hands were coming together to join them, caught up with fans and media alike in a moment we could all appreciate. ... That day marked my first and last claps working as a NASCAR reporter for" Bowles: "I understand the importance of impartiality in reporting. But last time I checked, where you're supposed to be judged is whether that actually shows up on paper. ... Bayne's victory was a ray of hope for a sport beaten down the last five years." Bowles noted he was "far from the only reporter who clapped that day." Bowles: "The sad part is I'm the only one bold enough to admit it in the face of peers overly focused on the values of reporting rather than the act itself. ... Fact: I clapped, and then shook Trevor Bayne's hand on the way out along with many assembled media in attendance. Analysis: I still wrote a well-reasoned, well-thought out post-race column on a variety of topics that would have happened if Bayne or Kyle Busch had won." Bowles added, "If a supposed lapse of ethics proves to be my downfall, despite an undying passion and thirst for knowledge regardless of the consequences, so be it. At least I can look in the mirror at the end of the night, smile and give a round of applause for staying true to myself" (, 3/1).

NO EXCUSES: In Orlando, George Diaz wrote Bowles, and "anybody else who cheered, was out of line," as cheering for Bayne's victory has an "unprofessional feel to it." National Motorsports Press Association President Rea White "sent a note to all the association members urging them to keep the static noise down to a minimum" (, 3/1). In Milwaukee, Dave Kallmann wrote cheering in the press box is "unprofessional and, at the very least, disrespectful to those who are trying to work." Kallmann: "Sports departments have fought for eons to be considered on the same journalistic level as 'real' reporters. This wouldn’t help. Can you imagine Helen Thomas applauding a speech by the president?" (, 3/1).'s J.A. Adande said, “You need to take a stand now more than ever because you have an increasing amount of bloggers and fanboys allowed in the press box." But Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan said, “I’ve been to too many Olympics where I know all about cheering in a press box. All it would take is, ‘Hey, Tom, we don’t do that here.’ That’s it” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/1). NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen asked, "Has Sports Illustrated lost its mind? It fired a NASCAR correspondent for five seconds of clapping after a great race" (, 3/2).

MORE TO THE STORY? SI VP/Communications Scott Novak confirmed Bowles "no longer be working for," though the added the company "cannot comment on the nature of offense or offenses that contributed to that decision." A high-ranking source at SI indicated that Bowles is no longer working for because of a series of issues that included cheering in the press box at the Daytona 500 (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).'s Bomani Jones said, "When somebody gets fired for something like this, he might have gotten fired and they might have put that down on the page, but we don’t know everything that’s going on here. Not even close” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/1).
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