Stuart Scott Doesn't Read Your Blog
In the break between sessions at yesterday's Spelling Bee, Stuart Scott's 6th-grade daughter, Taelor, stood at the podium and took notes on a handheld device. She was doing a school project on the Spelling Bee, and her dad wanted her to feel what it was like to be on the stage. Then he snapped countless photos of her on stage, and of her and her mother on stage. Someone else took a photo of the three of them, together. Then Taelor began pretending she was in the competition.
"Daddy, now I'm going to spell," she said. "Argillaceous: A, R, G, I, L, L, A, C, E, O, U, S, argillaceous."
"Yeah, but you got to ask for the origin," Stuart Scott told her. "Even if you know it, ask the questions. It gives you time."
"Latin is the origin," she said impatiently, "and it comes from the Latin word 'argill,' which means clay."
"All right, get off the stage smarty pants," Stuart Scott told her.
"Whoa," I said. "Where did that come from?
"Not from me," he said.
See, stuff like this interests me more than watching Stuart Scott on air, or writing about him on air. You see that he's a real guy, a real parent just like any other, who kvells over his kids and makes them pose for photos and makes all proud-like. Anyhow, I was waiting to have a second conversation with Scott about blogs, since earlier in the day he told me that he only recently got a home computer, and, for example, if he comes back to work after a vacation and has 200 e-mails, he'll just delete them all. In other words, not a blog guy, which seemed odd to me, considering the whole 2007 thing.
Of course, some bloggers have taken particular delight in tweaking Stuart Scott, the way they delight in tweaking most ESPN personalities. By the time we chatted yesterday, FanHaus's Michael David Smith was already tweaking Scott for his performance during the first session of Bee coverage.
But what interested me is that Stuart Scott also claimed to have absolutely no interest in the personal lives of athletes, that which provides so much grist for the blogging mill. My philosophy has always been that virtually no personal detail is too trivial to be blogged about, from the Capitals' iPod to DeShawn Stevenson's famous girlfriend to random Gilbert sightings. But it would seem that, in light of recent events, the propriety of reporting on the personal lives of athletes is about to become a serious topic for serious people; witness this Bill Madden column:
But now, in this dumbing-down, reality TV society we live in, where even the nightly cable "news" programs take on the appearance of the National Enquirer, more consumed with a drunken Lindsay Lohan or Joey and Amy's latest romantic rendezvous, ballplayers better understand their sex lives and off-the-field conduct may hold far more import with the general public than their batting or earned run averages.
Stan Kasten suggested to Barry Svrluga and I this week that a line has been irrevocably crossed, and that if other newspapers follow suit, the relationship between the media and MLB teams will never be the same. So this seems an appropriate time to run the complete transcript of Stuart Scott's thoughts, after the jump. And whatever you think of his thoughts--I tend to strongly disagree with his larger point, although I'm not unsympathetic to the people affected--for the record, he couldn't have been nicer, and if you watched him posing for photos and clowning around with his daughter and wife, you'd likely never want to make fun of him again.
So do you read sports blogs?
I don't read any sports blogs.
And if I asked you if you could name a sports blog?
I can't name a sports blog. I don't, I'm not a big computer person. I use a computer when I'm at work. I'm not on the Internet much at all. I'm not a big e-mail person. I have an e-mail at work that I look at every once in a while, and I have a home e-mail that I'll read on average every four or five days because not many people have the address.
I'm just not a big Internet guy. The first two iPods I had, I love music, but I had no clue how to put music on an iPod. I gave the iPod, I said here, put some music, just put some music on it. And people were like 'Oh c'mon it's easy, all you have to do is download it.' Wait wait, that's the problem, downloading. It's like, all you have to do to hit a 300-yard drive is drop it in the slot and turn your wrist over and come inside-out. Well, if you don't know how, you don't know how. Computers, they just aren't my thing.
And as far as bloggers go, a lot of athletes have blogs where they're talking about their personal life, what they're doing. I don't, I don't care.
That's what's interesting to me, that you don't care...
I don't. I don't have any interest in an athlete's personal life if I don't know the athlete. If I know the athlete and it's a friend of mine, then I have the normal interest that I'd have for a friend of mine. But I can always say, 'Hey, what's been going on?'
But as far as what did Gilbert Arenas do last night? I don't care. I don't care about his birthday party. And I like Gilbert; I like him as a player, he's a fun guy, but I have never sat anywhere or stood anywhere and wondered, 'I wonder what this athlete was doing last night.' I could care less. I've got kids. I've got [Taelor] and her seven-year-old sister. My life is about their life. What were they doing? I don't have the time, effort or energy.
You know, I saw Tiger at his Tiger Jam. He always invites me out there to help him raise money. I saw him the week before at a wedding. I caught up with him--'Yo Tig, what's been up? How's Elin doing? How's the pregnancy? You guys good? Good.' Other than that, what Tiger did last night and where he went to dinner. Or what Curt Schilling thinks about on the mound? I'm not concerned.
If I'm covering a Red Sox game and after the game I want to ask, I'll be curious: 'All right, what were you thinking in the sixth inning when you were down 3-2 and the bases were loaded.' But tomorrow? After the job's done? I don't really care what Curt was thinking.
I kind of care about [Taelor's] chorus concert that she had last night. I've made every one, but I couldn't because I was working here. So I care about calling her mom on the phone during the concert--'How's she doing?' Those are the things. That's my interest. I don't have the capacity. Compare her chorus concert, and her being here sharing this and doing a report, with Gilbert Arenas's birthday party. Who cares?
I don't care what an athlete had for dinner, or what he's going to do when he goes bowling, or anything. The thing's that I do care about as far as athletes' personal lives: Derek Fisher. He's a class guy. I care about his 10-month old daughter who's going through cancer surgery. But I texted him last week, I said, 'Hey man, my prayers are with you.' He thanked me. We both have daughters. My care comes from as a friend. Derek's not going to do a blog on his daughter. He's going to have his friends call him and say 'Hey, how are you doing?'
And what about the proverbial guy in his basement, who's, you know....It's kind of the new sportswriting in a way, some guy who's picking through the Internet and trying to find, you know, photos of athletes out on the town or photos of journalists out on the town or whatever?
I not only am not interested, I think that's stupid, crazy. This whole thing with A-Rod, 'Stray-Rod,' I think the headline said? Do we know who this person was? Do we know that it wasn't his agent, his publicist, a friend of his? We don't know. I don't care. I don't care about any of that stuff. And to me, the fact that a lot of these sites are talking about people's personal lives is absurd. I mean, ABSURD.
I was at the Super Bowl. I had been working 'till midnight, covering, you know, sports interviews. And there was some site...I was text-messaging a friend of mine who's in the business, who by the way had just told me, 'Hey, I just got engaged.' You know, I'm happy she's engaged. So she said, 'Why don't you come meet some friends, we'll grab a late bite.' Now one of the guys is a guy I used to work with, they all work together. So I text back, 'Cool, let me know." Somebody's reading over my shoulder, and what they wrote was 'Lemme know. At 12:30 at night.'
Well, we work late. They meant that it was a booty call, and that was all over the Internet. That hurts me. It hurts her. It hurts our business. It hurts our profession. It's a bunch of crap. It's a bunch of lies. It's crazy-making stuff.
So then, I've got my daughter, who can google me, and she can find this garbage, from a friend of mine, who is in my business, who I said, "Let me know." And the blog had a bunch of foul language in it. So I detest that stuff. And my life, to the public, as far as broadcasting, cool. But my personal life is my personal life. I don't think it's interesting. If somebody wants to know about it, they can call and ask.
That's just an example. There are a lot of people who shouldn't have to worry that you can be having dinner with a friend of yours, could be a friend of yours or your spouse's, and somebody's just going to go crazy. This isn't National Enquirer. This is sports. Talk about A-Rod going 0-for-5, or going 4-for-5 with three home runs. I don't care who he was at any place with. I could care less. No matter what it looks like, no matter what it is, it's not my life. It has no interest to me. I don't care.
So does it bother you that readers seem to have an interest in stuff like that? Or do you think they don't?
No, I think they do. That's part of our society. The thing about blogs, blogs can be newsworthy, I guess. I don't know, I've never read 'em. I'm guessing that there are some that are newsworthy. But blogs are also about anyone's opinion. So when someone's opinion becomes fact, or at least in the eyes of people becomes fact, then I have a problem with that. It's not news. It's gossip.
If I wanted to work in the gossip industry, I'd work for another network or another newspaper, another magazine, another entity. That's not my job. My job is sports, and facts, and passion, and the drama and the beauty of sports. So Curt Schilling's blog? Curt's a good dude. I've met him a couple times. It's not my life.
Besides man, what time do I have to go on a blog? I'm chasing [Taelor] around. She just had her dance recital a couple weeks ago where she did phenomenal. She dances in competitions in New York in July and in Boston in December. She danced in London last October. Her sister is an upper degree blue belt in Tae Kwan Do and a star soccer player. My life is full. I mean, I'm blessed. Blogs? [Shrugs shoulders.] I don't know what to say. Ok. Never read one. Ever. Never read a blog. Nothing personal for your business....
I'm not downgrading or pestering anybody's who's interested. Your choice is your choice. I'm not saying that they are bad. Some of them, I think, are ruthless. But blogs in general aren't a bad thing. I just don't have an interest.
People's priority in life change, you know? I didn't have that much of an interest [in the personal stuff] at 22, but I can see people who are 15-to-23 years old caring about that type of stuff. I just don't. Again, I'm not crushing the idea that people would be interested in someone's personal life. I do have a problem with that kind of thing where you make assumptions just based on what? These pictures, they made assumptions on A-Rod. They wouldn't have made the assumption if he'd been walking with a blond-haired dude.
That's probably true. Well, some people probably would have.
Blond haired guy in a t-shirt and jeans? Oh, that's probably his buddy. I don't know. I don't care. That's life.
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