You’re an idiot, Jeff Pearlman

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Ah, I love journalism.

Received an e-mail a few minutes ago from someone associated with the Seattle Storm of the WNBA. The person, though a fan of the league, actually told me my column was accurate and on point. The person also directed me toward a Tweet from Jayda Evans, who covers college and professional women’s basketball for the Seattle Times. This is what she wrote:

Where to begin? I’ll start here: Jayda, do you cover the league as a journalist, or are you a fan? Because, quite frankly, I can’t imagine any sort of true journalist writing such a thing; es2004080876.pecially about the league he/she covers. As a fan, hey, OK. It’s your right to criticize and rip and slam at will. I get that sort of stuff all the time (as you probably do, too). But as a journalist, eh, not so much. Were I your editor at the Times—and be glad I’m not—I call you into the office for an expletive-laced conversation on the role of reporters in 21st century newspaper. Then I reassign you to the police beat, where they teach Reporting: 101 (Rule 1: Be unbiased).

I’m not mad. Not at all. But as I stated in my recent Jay Glazer critique, I am bothered by the lack of journalistic sensibilites being exercised out there. A line has been crossed—perhaps permanently—and it bodes poorly for our profession.

28 thoughts on “You’re an idiot, Jeff Pearlman”

  1. I guess the truth must hurt quite a bit. I hate to break it to you, Jayda Evans, but there just isn’t a market for professional women’s basketball. Period. I don’t care how you package it. The vast majority of people simply will not and cannot care about the WNBA. Consider me, for example. I love the NBA enough to write about it almost daily — for free, no less — on a blog. I even watch my fair share of college ball despite getting frustrated by its shortcomings. But you couldn’t pay me to watch the WNBA. (And I willingly watch golf and bowling!)

    But in good news, Jeff, it shouldn’t be too hard to find her if you want to go to the game and talk to her in person as she suggested. (Sorry, couldn’t resist taking a shot at the poor attendance at WNBA games)

  2. I gotta agree with Jayda on this one. If you’re calling her out on her “journalism,” I’ll have to do the same with yours. What information do you have to back up your column? A rise in ratings you consider tiny, but still a significant rise. One quote from a former editor of Slam. Did you compare the NBA’s 14th season to the WNBA’s? No? Well, that would have been interesting, as the NBA consisted of eight teams in their 14th season. That’s four fewer than the WNBA has currently. That’s just one figure I could come up with off the top of my head. I’d be a lot more interested in reading a thoughtful analysis of the differences between the leagues at the same stages in their growth, rather than comparing a league with 50-plus years of history with a league in its infancy. Then, you can detail the reasons you came to the conclusion that the WNBA will never be popular. (Never! I marvel at your prescience.)

  3. Do people tune in to watch WNBA games? Yes. Do people pay for tickets to WNBA games? Yes. So there is a market, just a small one. It doesn’t matter what you or I think of the game, there are people who will pay for its entertainment.

    That is most likely why she called you an idiot, because instead of talking about why that market is growing slowly, you merely repeat ad hominem that it will never be the NBA. There was no new information or interesting insight in your piece other than to illustrate the fact that you really enjoy railing on the WNBA.

    By the way, her personal insult had no journalistic value in the context of her reporting on the WNBA, just as your personal insult (that her behavior is unjournalistic when it was clearly not meant to be journalistic) has no journalistic value in the context of the WNBA. So I guess you guys are even.

  4. Jeff, your entire gimmick is to complain about things. As a blogger, I guess that’s okay. But since you’re writing for SI and CNN, you do share the same journalistic responsibilities, don’t you? And here again is an example of your incredibly thin skin. One random person tweets that you are wrong and you devote a lot of energy and an entire blog post to criticizing her professionalism. Seriously, where do you get off? Yesterday, you didn’t want to be the guy in Starbucks who got mad at a bunch of kids, but here you are going after a grown woman just because she – gasp – voiced disagreement.

  5. I agree with Dan B.
    I live in Phoenix and right now they are trying to market the Mecury games with promotions like “Guys Night Out”. I kid you not. That is like Ruths’ Chris Steakhouse marketing to vegans.
    WNBA is not good hoops. Plus it discrinates. Only women are aloud to play………..

  6. I agree that the WNBA is pathetic and will never take off. People want the best and the NBA is the best product. That’s probably why soccer hasn’t taken off here since the MLS isn’t the best league and the USA isn’t the best at soccer. Although that MIGHT change in the next decade. But women’s basketball just doesn’t stand a chance. And I hate the NBA’s marketing for the WNBA trying to make us care about that league too.

    But still, Jeff, you overreacted on this completely.
    I follow Jason Whitlock and Buzz Bissinger on twitter. They talk a LOT of shit and it’s hilarious (Buzz constantly calling people ‘douche juice’, for starters). But totally unprofessional and if you saw it, I’m sure you’d attack it too.
    I’ll usually defend you, but you’ve called out people using the same insults basically (however justified they were for Jay Glazer)

  7. Are you kidding me? people actually blog about the WNBA? Go outside or something, please.
    Pearl you’re dead on, too often people have to make their point by attacking another person, instead of dissecting their argument.
    Jen, I can’t buy into your argument about comparing the 2 leagues when they were at the same age- especially not with the amount of media and marketing opportunities available to reach so many people in 2010.

  8. Eric, it wasn’t “disagreement,” it was a personal attack on a fellow writer. Same as Vittorio Tafur and Vito Stellino going at it or Jason Whitlock making up nasty nicknames for Rick Reilly. And that’s just the week so far on Twitter.

    Jesus, people. Act like friggin’ professionals.
    (And yeah, Jeff’s not entirely innocent in that regard … but to his credit, he apologized for and removed a slam against Lupica he made here a while back.)

    Ben York also disagreed with the column, but took the time to actually put together a counterargument sted merely slinging insult:
    http://www.slamonline.com/online/other-ballers/womens/2010/06/the-continuing-struggle/

  9. Lori, I think that if you are a writer and you are going to put an opinion out there that you know will provoke strong dissent, you have to be prepared to take a few zings. Being called an idiot is surely not fun, but there are much worse things to be called and after all, Jeff went after the source of this woman’s livelihood. I’m not saying calling someone an idiot is an okay thing to do, but surely there are much worse things to hear yourself called. The ironic thing is that while her tweet would have gone unnoticed (but for the thousand or so wnba fans who follow her), Jeff has now further publicized her message (which is nice of him for sure) and made this into a more public debate. My point – as has always been my point with our dear Mr. Pearlman – is that when you write something and put yourself in the public sphere, it is not unreasonable to expect criticism, even sometimes harsh criticism. And Jeff, as we know, has been critical of many others on this very site.

  10. i thought the wnba was still around just so they can have a girl shoot from halfcourt for thirty minutes at a time during the nba all-star weekend.

    you learn something new everyday.

  11. The WNBA would not exist without the marketing and financial support of the NBA. It could not stand on its own.

    So the comparison to the NBA in its 14th year has no validity because the NBA was a self-supporting business. The WNBA is not, and never will be.

  12. I think there is confusion on where the term “journalist” starts. If Jeff is writing on his blog, does that mean he is a journalist? I don’t think so, and I certainly hope not, because that would mean every idiot blogger is a journalist. What Jeff writes for SI is a column, written by a journalist. What he writes on his blog does not make him a journalist. His columns do. Check the definition of journalist.

  13. “You’re an idiot @jeffpearlman. I’ll be in NYC on Thurs. for @seattlestorm-@nyliberty game. Come so I can say to your face.”

    This woman is a writer?

    She’ll be in New York for game?

    Come say so she can say to your face?

    I bet she’ll one hell of a journalist.

  14. Lord. Jeff is far from a journalist, especially if he thinks a tweet constitutes journalism. Sorry the real journalist stooped to Jeff’s level. But he is an idiot for writing an uninformed column with baseless analogies. Tell SI they just lost a loyal subscriber!

  15. That would actually be a great follow-up column – go to the game and report on it. But, please, stop continually comparing the women’s game to the men’s – they are completely different and even the WNBA doesn’t claim they are the same.

  16. Jayda’s right fool- if the WNBA is so irrelevant why are you writing about it. And because Jayda called you out, you got your panties in a wad. Well to bad buddy.
    Obviously you totally exaggerated in your original blog( “Nobody likes the WNBA”) and betrayed your own biases, so I would not be discussing journalistic ethics if I were you. There is much speculation as to the why and wherefores of your dislike of the WNBA. Perhaps it is related to the fact that Sue Bird or any of these other pro athletes could kick your butt on the court. And all of this anti woman bias and that is what it is, is about keeping sports as your own little preserve- male priviledge at its worst. I hope that you don’t have any daughters who might one day want to be an athlete in this great big male oriented sports world of ours. Not only will they deal with rampant inequities on a daily basis, they will regularly be told by jacknapes like you that they do not deserve to exist in America. Stop parading prejudice as journalism.

  17. Jeff I don’t think it’s bad for you to write about your critics. You just seem incredibly sensitive when you are, in fact, criticized. As they say in my profession, if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

  18. Actually, I am a chef at a NY restaurant, and while cliches are not my strong point, I am quite successful with quiches. Perhaps you and Jayda can hold your beer summit at my establishment.

  19. Jim makes a great point. The WNBA wouldn’t be around without the support of the NBA> I guess you can say that Hilary CLinton is the WNBA of politicians. She wouldn’t be were she is without Bubba.

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