The end of a tagline

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As a columnist with SI.com and ESPN.com, I’ve always insisted that my contact information be placed below my columns. The reason: For some dumb reason, I considered it noble to be accesible; to have genuine feedback with readers who want to support or disagree with your take.

Sadly, I’ve decided to end this practice.

It’s just not worth it. I enjoy the banter with some, but what outweighs any positives are all the negatives. Nonstop, nonstop, nonstop negatives. You’re an ass. You’re a punk. You’re a dick. How the fuck do you get a paycheck? Most of the e-mails aren’t like that, but an increasing number are. And, honestly, I don’t think it’s me. I think it’s the angry nature of the modern sports fan—easily agitated, easily upset and extraordinarily anxious to spew whenever possible.

I understand it. I get it. But the comments go so far beyond civility, it makes me sick. I’m not talking about one e-mail in particular, though I will say the one I posted here the other day might have pushed me over the edge. You hate my take on Barry Bonds … so you throw out shots about my looks? Is that where we are? Is this who we are?

Hence, I’m done. I’ll continue to banter gleefully with blog readers, but no longer will my e-mail address exist below the columns.

No fun.

Jeff Pearlman is a columnist for si.com. He can’t be reached.

22 thoughts on “The end of a tagline”

  1. That guy probably makes $8/hour working the graveyard shift at 7-11. Do you honestly care what he thinks? If he had offered even a speck of useful criticism, I could see why you’d be offended. But why bother getting upset at jackasses like that? There are too many idiots in this world to let each one bother you, personal attacks or not.

    Just seems to me like you have awfully thin skin for being such a prominent writer. I guess I figured you’d be used to it by now.

    Then again, I’m not the one reading the e-mails, so who am I to judge?

  2. Jeff- this totally disgusts me! You are an amazing writer, and I truly enjoy your blog posts as well. If someone doesn’t agree with something you’ve said, they can either a.) not read you anymore or b.) at least have the dignity to rebut what you’ve had to say. But ignorance and stupidity triumph once again, sadly. I’ve always said “never let the dishonesty or lack of integrity of one person ruin things for everyone else” when I train people in customer service- but things like this go beyond that. Keep your chin up & know how many, many people love your writing, whether agreeing with everything or not!! KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!!!!!!!!!

  3. You mock Barry Bonds’s “Jupiter-sized head”, then get upset because someone doesn’t like your nose?

    “Is this who we are?” Apparently so.

  4. Sorry, didn’t mean to imply that. My point was that judging from his e-mail, the guy probably doesn’t have a journalism or an English degree (or any degree for that matter), so Jeff—as a professional writer—should take his criticism with a grain of salt.

    That’s not to say writers are immune from mistakes or crappy columns (I’m looking at you, Whitlock). But that e-mail didn’t offer anything constructive, so it’s not worth worrying about.

  5. Jeff, I’m sorry you are ending this practice, but I understand where you are coming from. I’m glad it was available for the time that it was. I could at least thank you for the story you did on Sal Fasano.

    Now, the main thing, I LOVE the gym shorts over the sweatpants look! I remember doing the same thing in the early 80s. Can’t understand why that look didn’t hang on longer than it did! You’re all about self-deprecation aren’t you? Love it!

  6. Jim K. does have a point.

    Hmmm…Trying to think…Would this be called a Bias Blind Spot? Maybe Illusory Superiority?

    Oh, well. Hey, it’s your blog. I’d probably turn off my e-mail too.

  7. I spent nearly two decades in sports writing and finally got out, in part because of the rising venom from readers. So much of it devolves into personal attacks. Bosses you can deal with. But between emails, phone calls and message boards, it seemed like I was under constant siege. Frankly, life is too short to put up with that crap.

  8. this is a sports blog? Really?

    I like coming here but to call it a sports blog is ridiculous. 2 out of the last 10 posts you have made and that are visible are sports related.

    The rest, well life related, thats ok, I gather many of your viewers/readers come here for both.

    Just do it justice and call it what it is, a blog about all things that interest you and involve you, not a sports blog.

  9. Jeff…either way, it’s up to you. Keep the email, lose the email. It doesn’t matter.

    If someone really wants to reach you they’ll find you. You don’t make it very difficult.

    While it might not be convenient for a reader to google your name/Web site, it will most likely rid you of most of the ignorance you deal with.

    It’s a shame really. And it’s not just sports fans that respond with venom and anger and a total lack of civility.

    Our society has turned into a bunch of Howard Stern’s and Rush Limbaugh’s. Our reality shows–which I despise–are filled with Simons or whatever that dude’s name is from American Idol (don’t watch it).

    There always has to be the rude, idiot. People want to see it. It’s sad.

    I watch the Food Network and on Iron Chef there’s even a rude judge. I mean, come on.

    What the hell is wrong with us?

  10. I always figured you were used to all the crap feedback you must receive from all haters/idiots out there. You’ve got a great family and friends who defend you endlessly, who cares what some half-snapped moron types? Well, I’m going to finish off this case of Buckhorn, I’ll get back to you later.:)

  11. I am a little surprised, but like Steve said, I’m not the one who has to read the e-mails. I figured you would just delete them or have a laugh (people really give a shit about Barry Bonds in a good way? He’s basically a punchline, I thought). I imagine if the haters of the world REALLY need to get in touch with you, they’ll Google you, find out you have a blog, and spew some vitriol in these very Comments section.

    Sigh. Life as a semi-public figure. Oh Internet, where is thy sting?

  12. Jeff, fair enough. But you have to admit that this article, along with some of your other commentaries, are very mean-spirited. Which I don’t mind; I enjoy your rants, even when I disagree. I’m just surprised it bothers you when people throw it back at you. If you’re gonna dish it out, you should be prepared to take it.

    That said, I think you made the right move. Let SI.com get the emails and the editors can decide whether they’re worth passing along to you.

  13. Chin up — said in my best English accent. (Although I tend to go Irish and sometimes Australian when trying to do an English accent. You get the point.) Focus on the positives in life, like swimming with dolphins and other things of that nature.

  14. Hey Jeff…everybody has an opinion..I just enjoy reading your opinions more and more..keep up the good work and like momma use to say “don’t sweat the little things”.

  15. I’m of two minds about this. As journalists we expect everyone to be accessible to us. And we’re annoyed when they aren’t. But then everyone doesn’t put themselves out there to the public with a wide enough audience to draw big responses. I can totally understand wanting to shut off the torrent of negativity — sure, you can take it, you’re a big boy. But it’s gotta be like Chinese water torture — drip drip drip drip drip drip into your consciousness. Shut off the tap for awhile. You’re allowed.

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