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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Memo to the Sports Guy

The hypocrisy of sportswriters knows no bounds -- this is not news.

  • It was evident when columnists nationwide rushed to defend the authors of Game of Shadows, despite the fact that they'd published a book based on what was, essentially, stolen information.
  • It is evident every time writers file columns complaining about how they are treated by specific players and coaches... as if the fans who pay through the nose for seats up in the rafters are going to make rooting decisions based on how difficult a job might be for the guy who gets paid to watch from the press box.
  • And it is evident when a paper like the New York Daily News -- employer of Mike Lupica, who never misses an opportunity to complain about the Yankees' payroll -- calls general Brian Cashman a cheapskate on the back page because he doesn't want to give Johan Santana the biggest contract ever handed to a pitcher.
But Bill Simmons, writing in ESPN the Magazine, just trumped 'em all.

You've probably read Simmons. He's made an entire career as the voice of the long-suffering Boston sports fan -- first for AOL, and more recently and prominently as the lead voice on's "Page 2." He's witty, if repetitive, and he certainly knows his NBA. But he's hit a new low with today's column, saying that Knicks fans have no right to complain about the current state of their once-proud franchise.

Really, Bill?

He gives two reasons... which essentially amount to, "the Knicks aren't THAT bad" and "fans in other cities/of other franchises have it far worse."

Let's take those in order:

In fact, Bill, the Knicks are that bad. In the space of ten years they've gone from perennial contender to league laughingstock, with a management team that alternates between "incompetent" and "borderline criminal." And there's no light at the end of this particular tunnel. Do fans in other NBA cities have it as bad? Possibly. Maybe Sonics fans have it worse, if only due to the possibility that they could lose the team... but then, most Knicks fans feel like this team is already lost.

The "other franchises have it worse" is actually the more appalling argument. Regular Simmons readers will, no doubt, be surprised that he referenced Bill freakin' Buckner here. This is Simmons' way of claiming a monopoly and a patent on sports fan suffering... even though his Patriots are undefeated, his Red Sox are World Champions, and his Celtics look dominant.

Memo to the Sports Guy: You really should start following the Bruins again. Because you clearly have it too good with the Sox/Celts/Pats right now. It's making you cocky. And unreadable.


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