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SBD/January 21, 2014/Media
Bill Simmons Apologizes For Publishing Controversial Grantland Article
Published January 21, 2014
GOING TOO FAR? SLATE's Josh Levin wrote while every reporter "strives to uncover the truth," reporters also are "supposed to call on our reserves of emotional intelligence to comprehend the people we’re writing about." Hannan’s story, and his "defenders, show the dangers of privileging fact-finding and the quest for a great story over compassion and humanity." Levin: "I believe that 'Dr. V’s Magical Putter' was a story worth telling, but this was not the right way to tell it" (SLATE.com, 1/19). SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote, "Though I do not know the writer personally, I believe he initially approached the piece without ill intent, and the same writer has produced thoughtful takes in the past including on homophobia in MLS." Deitsch: "I also know enough editors and writers at Grantland to know they care about people and the subjects they feature on their site. This is not the clown division at ESPN." Had Grantland "had the piece to do again, I'd like to believe they would have reframed (or excised) the latter half of the piece -- the suicide should have been handled far more sensitively -- and offered a separate piece from the reporter or editors explaining motivation, the reporting process and why they ran the story" (SI.com, 1/19).
REPUTATION AT STAKE: THE NEW REPUBLIC's Marc Tracy wrote this is the "kind of story that could breed cynicism about Grantland." A story about a "weird-looking putter, whether it is effective or not, and its fraudulent inventor has all the makings of a classic Grantland story: long, magazine-y, sophisticated, interested in a subculture, extrapolating from an odd detail about a bizarre corner of the world of sports to tell a broader human story." But several outlets, including Jezebel.com, now is "calling them a 'sports blog' that helped abet Vanderbilt’s suicide." One article is "not going to destroy Grantland’s reputation," as during its first three years, the website has become a "valuable outlet for analytically sophisticated yet accessible writing about major sports as well as for exactly this kind of sports story." Still, it should "serve as a wake-up call." Something or someone in the editorial process "should have caught the gigantic problems" (NEWREPUBLIC.com, 1/19).