I would love to hear from you on this one

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So today was an interesting one for debate on jeffpearlman.com, blog of champions and peanut lovers.

In particular, I’m referring to the post on Slam Magazine. It seems I made some people at the mag a bit angry—primarily the author of a story on Stanley Roberts from a while back. Some people thought my take was on. Many others didn’t.

Hence, I want a vote on this one, because maybe I’m just missing something.

If you’re writing about the return to college of Stanley Roberts, former 7-foot NBA center, and he mentions that he’s living in an LSU student dorm, is that the type of information a writer can pretty much ignore, because it’s not all that important? Or does that make for riveting reading and call for huge elaboration?

Personally, I don’t see how one can’t make it a gigantic part of the story, if not the lede. Hell, how many NBA players go back to college and live in student housing? Answer: Few, if any.

So give me your take, please. Much appreciated.

PS: Important note: This is in no way an indictment of the writer. I’ve been told by some people at Slam that the limited mention had nothing to do with him.

10 thoughts on “I would love to hear from you on this one”

  1. This wasn’t an SI/ESPN feature. It was an 1800 word (I’d guess) profile. In 1800, you can’t accomplish what you can in 3000+. So you have to decide what the chaff is and what the wheat is for real. It would have made for a nice lede and intro to work more on the dorming situation, but he didnt have 500 words to spend on it. You mentioned in first post we all know he was a fat underachiver. But do all the readers know that? Remember, kids probably dont know who Stanley is. So that needed establishing. I hear your complaint. And I hear author’s side as well. Either way, solid piece. I’ve seen a lot worse, from Slam and other pubs.

  2. Theoretically speaking, you openly discouraged a writer during a time when print publications are suffering…and that benefits no one.

    Thanks to the realm of Google and indexed search, realize that you’ve now linked the search terms “Matt Caputo” and “inexperienced” indefinitely.

    (Try it. It’s the second hit.)

    Think about his livelihood. This isn’t just fodder for your blog, this is someone’s career you’re playing with. Quite honestly, I’m surprised you haven’t been served with a cease and desist notice.

    Did you reach out to Matt Caputo for a comment?

    Dragging someone’s name through the mud to prove a point this objective is in poor taste, especially when done by someone as established as yourself.

  3. I think it might have been wrong to call someone out in this way — perhaps a professional, constructive critique sent to his work e-mail or to the editor would have been a better way of handling any questions or concerns you may have had with the piece.

  4. Personally, I agree with the people who think this whole discussion is out of line. What’s the point of taking shots at younger writers? You’re successful under any definition of the word, and therefore, this whole discussion (especially the fact that it’s taken up three posts) makes you look like a bully.

    That said, I do think that knowing the circumstances of a former NBA player living in a dorm sounds like an interesting anecdote. But maybe it’s NOT interesting at all, and maybe that’s why it got cut.

    Bottom line – I’m not sure why this is even being discussed. Aren’t there any Midwestern Republican Christians to take aim at?

  5. the writer blew it.
    Roberts living in a dorm is the most interesting part of the story, and you were right to point that out.

  6. I’ll reiterate my comment from the post that went away: The story was trying to be two things. 1) Career/downfall tick-tock and 2) Where is he now. Did great at 1, not so hot at 2. I see that as a miss by his editor, for whatever reason — lack of time, time of day, mood, whatever. If I’m editing that story, I get to the dorm and say, “HEY, WHAT?” And if it’s possible/doable/feasible, I ask for more. Also, when did he get married and have four kids? How much longer does he have until he gets his degree, and what does he want to do next?

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