Posted: Wednesday March 22, 2006 5:40PM; Updated: Monday March 27, 2006 1:39PM
SI: The blog Firejoemorgan, have you checked it out?
BS: I checked it out once because the guy was killing me on it. Whenever I get an e-mail like that I never go, but this didn't sound like it was that bad, it sounded like he was just parroting me. I try to avoid anybody who's writing from the same perspective as me. It screws me up a bit. Because if I have a joke that's not formed in my head yet about, say, the Ron Artest trade, then I'll read somebody's angle on it, and then I'm thinking, I don't want to write what that guy sounded like.
I've been doing this for nine years, I know what I'm doing. There's nothing to be gained from me going to one of those sites. Also, I always wonder about those sites that really attack everybody. What's the goal, five years from now? I don't get it. The Deadspin guy is good. He's a good writer, he's funny and I think he'll go on to do something beyond that.
But some of these guys are just angling, just ripping everybody. Where do they think they're going to go from there? Do they think somebody at a major newspaper or magazine is going to be like, "Hey, this guy is attacking everybody and compared David Stern to bin Laden. Hey, let's hire him!" I definitely did a little of that on my own Web site, but I was still writing three columns a week, I was trying to back it up. I don't think you should criticize another writer unless you can back it up and be like, "I'm better." The proof is in the pudding. It's like being a bad chef and writing a restaurant review and criticizing another chef. But can you cook? I don't get it.
SI: I don't necessarily agree with you. A music critic doesn't need to be a talented musician to have good taste in music, right? And the same goes for a food critic. Look at basketball -- great players don't always make good coaches.
BS: I've heard that before with rock and food critics. Those people are serving a purpose. They're telling me whether I should listen to an album or go to a movie or eat at a restaurant. The people who criticize writers, whether it's sports, movies or something, that's who I don't get. I've already made my decision: I'm reading Peter King. Why are you telling me not to read Peter King? I like Peter King. You're trying to bring him down and tell me he's an a------. I don't think he's an a------. That's the part I don't get. They're almost telling you you're stupid for liking somebody. That's where the line gets confused.
SI: What about blogs?
BS: I do get a little concerned about this whole blog thing. I love it, obviously, and I love the spirit of it and I think a lot of good can come from it. But at the same time, there's really no accountability and it's become like the Wild West. People posting these stories like, "My girlfriend banged Kenny Rogers last night and there's a picture." What if that's not true? What if you're being set up? What happens the first time Joe Schmo Athlete sues Deadspin because they post a story that's not true? I've told Will [Leitch, who runs Deadspin] that. I think he knows, but I don't think others do. Like On the DL. They have no idea what they're doing. The libel laws probably haven't expanded to the Internet yet, so it's legal. It's legal to go on a message board and make up stuff about people.
SI: That's what happened recently with Wikipedia. Since anyone can post as "fact," it's taken as such.
BS: I wonder what's on my page right now. As a test case, let's check mine right now. I guarantee there's an error. [He pulls it up on his laptop.] Oh, prodigious length. L.A. Clippers ... ah, there it is. "He's appeared on Playboy TV's 'Dweebs with Girth.'" First of all, I don't think Playboy would have that show, and I don't think I would have made it. Hmmm. Wikipedia is dangerous.
SI: Does this stuff upset you?
BS: My wife was on a message board once where they were slamming me, and she was all upset. And I said, "What are you going to a message board like that for?" And she was like, "People made stuff up." I said, "What are you going to do? I'm a public figure."
What I've come to understand is that it's no different than me heckling a referee at a basketball game. It doesn't mean I hate the referee. And I think a lot of people have that mentality when they read stuff on the Internet. There's not a day that goes by that I don't get an e-mail like, "I hate you, shoot yourself." I've been getting those for eight years. I've been hearing that I've jumped the shark for longer than the "jump the shark" term existed.