Kyle Wagner, Karma

Let the Games begin ...

Let the Games begin …

So back about two weeks ago, I wrote this post about a Deadspin contributor named Kyle Wagner, who included one of my blog posts on his Worst American Sportswriting List of 2014. As I said then and will reiterate now, I wasn’t upset with Wagner for naming my shitty Ray Rice entry to the list. No, I was upset with the list itself.

I hate when people quote themselves. I really do. But, eh, here’s a bit of what I wrote, RE: Kyle: It takes an awfully arrogant scribe to tell guys like [Chris] Jones and [Wright] Thompson that their writing blows (I mean, if a writer is tearing down another writer in print, he surely believes his work to be superior). Just as I needed [Tennessean features editor] Catherine Mayhew in 1995, Kyle Wagner (in my opinion) needed an editor in 2014. He needed someone at Deadspin to pull him aside and say, “I know this is fun, I know this will get you a bunch of high-fives inside the office, I know ripping Peter King seems cool—but for something this disposable and unimportant, it’s not worth it.

And here we are.

A couple of days ago Kyle—writing for Deadspin—fucked up in a uniquely funky way. He wrote a fascinating post about the 2016 Olympics adding 3-on-3 basketball as a competition. Which (glub) turned out to be untrue. It seems Kyle fell for the ol’ Fake News Website trick, where he read a post that looked real but (again, glub) wasn’t. Now, I’m guessing, he feels pretty dumb and embarrassed.

My message to Kyle: Don’t feel dumb and embarrassed. Truly, don’t. You’ve now joined the select club of journalists who humiliated themselves by committing a huge gaffe. Meet the other members—absolutely everyone. Kyle, we’ve all been in your shoes (Lord knows, I’ve been there). And it sucks, it blows, it’s disheartening and—even if you’re putting on a brave face—I suspect you feel like dogshit.

Again: Don’t.

Instead, learn from it. Figure out what you did wrong. And, in regards to your crap Worst American Sportswriting List, reexamine that idea. As I noted in the original post, we all have bad moments. Ledes that suck, metaphors that fall flat, quotes that make no contextual sense. I’m not saying journalism is ditch digging or ER surgery, but it’s public and humbling and oftentimes exasperating. To rip peers for their writing shortcomings is to say, “You suck and I can do better.”

Truth is, we all suck from time to time.

No reason to go out of your way to point it out.

2 thoughts on “Kyle Wagner, Karma”

  1. Antonio D'Arcangelis

    I still don’t think there’s anything wrong with a Worst American Sportswriting List, if for any other reason than to point out EXACTLY what you admit — that ALL writers, good and bad, fuck up. Fire Joe Morgan was one of the most unique, compelling blogs EVAH (albeit more so for baseball/comedy writing dorks like me), and it was FOUNDED on the idea that bad writing should be called out. The likelihood that Kyle finds himself humbled by Wednesday’s gaffe shouldn’t obscure the fact that the list he posted contains pieces the writers themselves may wish they hadn’t written. A LOT of writers are driven by ego, and the better ones on the list should simply examine how to get better and move on. It’s a lot easier to ignore the bad writing and make the same mistake again if it’s not condemned as shit work. And again — I don’t think Kyle is condemning the WRITERS themselves, but the WRITING. Kind of like we shouldn’t condemn individuals who make mistakes but the mistakes themselves. Actions should (and do) have consequences. I don’t think your post (at least the part he referenced) necessarily stuck out as THAT bad, but it’s likely you wouldn’t have reexamined it unless somebody pointed it out. In this case, it happened to be a relatively unknown Deadspin contributor named Kyle Wagner. you KNOW I admire your writing and your unrelenting search for details that make your stories, but my (unsolicited) opinion is that there’s not that much wrong with bloggers blogging about writers fucking up — especially as a largely innocuous end-of-the-year roundup. Cheers!!

  2. Not only did he fall for the parody, which was pretty well-written, he must not even have read it all the way through. The tail end of the “article” states that the events will be in the poorer parts of Rio, on asphalt courts with chain metal nets, and that spectators will be able to watch the games from their cars, with the lights from the headlights adding to the ambiance of the events’ lighting.

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