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Top 10 WaPo Sports Stories: Racial Tension

During my haste to argue that nothing could unseat the Redskins's dominance of this weekly list of our Web site's most-viewed sports stories and columns, I forgot some basic lessons about the Internet. Anything that allows for commenters to trade racially charged language? A 213-word brief buried deep inside the printed sports section about racial tensions in a high school football game? Why, that's Internet gold.

Excluding our sports columnists, three of our top 10 sports stories on the Web last week concerned that ill-fated Dunbar-Fort Hill high school game. Each of those three stories out-performed the news story confirming that Juan Dixon would return to the Wizards. Those three stories (first day, follow-up and attorney-general involvement) were thus the top three clicked sports links that had absolutely no Redskins elements.

And I really wish the Lerner family and Bud Selig could take a look at one of these reports some day.

Final point: during all of the Jason La Canfora excitement last week, at least one brave anonymous commenter said that JLC's third-place standing in the byline rankings should somehow be held against him. Just for the record, his average blog traffic--for a single day--usually ranks higher than all but the top two or three stories on this list. So he's doing just fine.

Anyhow, here's last week's list:

1. Steady as They Go, by Thomas Boswell. Redskins column, following the classic day-after-a-home-win script: maybe these guys are better than we thought? Maybe this year won't be a step back? Or maybe they'll lose by 21 to the Cowboys?

2. On Hochuli, NFL Drops The Ball, by Michael Wilbon. NFL column, praising Ed Hochuli for being accountable for his officiating gaffe, and blaming the NFL for having stupid rules.

3. One Play Tips the Scales, by Jason Reid. Redskins game story, focusing on how Carlos Rogers's miraculous interception helped lead to Washington's 24-17 win over the Cardinals.

4. Victory Raises Stakes for Dallas Week, by Les Carpenter. Redskins psychologically probing A1 story, which posited of the Skins that "their self-belief is not such that they were ready to wish for a game they normally dread."

5. After Gaffe, Zorn Gives Brooks an Earful, by Dan Steinberg. Redskins sidebar. Jeez, boss, sorry I rolled my eyes when you told me to do a sidebar about the punter. Guess you were right.

6. Taylor Balked at Emergency Surgery, by Jason Reid. Redskins news story on the frantic events that led to Jason Taylor's early-morning emergency surgery in the hours after the Cardinals win. Had to figure Dr. James Andrews would be involved somehow.

7. Redskins Campbell is Playing it Cool, by Jason Reid. Redskins feature, pre-Cardinals game, about the growth of Jason Campbell. Not height-wise.

8. Dunbar Quits Game, Cites Racial Taunts, by Alan Goldenbach. High school news story, about Dunbar Coach Craig Jefferies pulling his team off the field against Fort Hill because of alleged racial taunts.

9. Foes Gather No Moss, by Mike Wise. Redskins column, in praise of Santana Moss, "the draw-it-up-in-the-dirt deep threat Washington craved since the Fun Bunch in the 1980s," who still gets drafted too late in almost every fantasy league.

10. Dropping Only the Act, by Mike Wise. NFL column about the growth, maturity, and surreal makeover enjoyed by Terrell Owens. *

* Until anything goes wrong.

Most read topics:
1. Redskins (78 top-10 links)
2. Olympics (17)
3. Other NFL (6)

Most read authors:
Jason Reid (30.5 top-10 bylines)
Mike Wise (18)
Jason La Canfora (13.5)
Barry Svrluga (6.5)
Les Carpenter (6)

(Joint bylines are given 0.5 credits.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 28, 2008; 7:19 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , D.C. United , Media , NFL , Nats , Redskins , Terps , Wizards  
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Next: Skins-Boys Bonus Quotes: Head Banging


Dan, why do you want the Lerners and Selig to take a look at one of your "reports" some day? Do you think the Nats are going to leave DC or something if you are simply able to "prove" to them your unfounded conclusion that no one in DC cares about the Nats? Maybe it's just that no one in DC cares about what the Post has to say about the Nats, since the Post's coverage stinks, you think?

Meanwhile, you are busy inappropriately sucking up to Skins and Wizards players and their families, while now being asked to cover the Skins in print as the Post's fifth Skins beat writer or something. Do you really think you can hold yourself out as a responsible journalist who can write about the Skins objectively with all the crap you put on this blog? I don't think so.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | September 28, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse


I meant only insofar as Selig has expressed puzzlement and disbelief over the TV and radio ratings. To my mind, our own numbers would sort of reinforce the message of the TV/radio ratings, which is not that no one cares about the Nats per se, but that no one cares about this 2008 version of the Nats.

At some point, it's hard to believe that MASN stinks, the radio broadcasts stink, the Nationals Journal stinks, the Post's Nats coverage stinks, but that the corresponding coverage of all the other local teams does not stink. I would have liked to see a more serious response to the TV/radio numbers, rather than questions about whether they could possibly be accurate. And I think a team that by several measures has a local interest problem, at least currently, might adopt a tone other than confrontation, with the rent payments, for example.

As for holding myself out as a responsible journalist, I'm not sure when I've done that. I'm also not sure how anything I write about Gilbert Arenas or even Fred Smoot's off-the-field activities would negatively affect my ability to write a sidebar about Washington's punter. If you see evidence of particularly shoddy sidebar work, by all means, let me know.

Posted by: Dan Steinberg | September 28, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

When you write a shoddy story about Smoot or Cooley I will be sure to let you know, if I happen to read it (believe it or not, there are actually sports fans in DC who don't lap up all the ridiculous overflow of Skins stories your editors seem to believe necessary). Of course, I wouldn't know if you aren't even asked to write stories about such guys because your editors know your ability to be objective about them might be compromised.

It's interesting that you mention the rent payments. I would love for someone at the Post to write an insightful, informative piece about that issue, that actually provides real information and explains what is going on with some detail based on real reporting, and does not just provide the same old generalities. So far, nothing like that has been published. I would also love for the Post to publish a serious reporting piece about the team from a business perspective and where its revenues are going--since they're clearly not going to payroll, or even to amateur signings in a serious way, even though the Lerners promised not to pocket a penny of profit for 10 years. I'm not asking the Post to act like homers in covering the Nats and only run positive stuff--just cover them better, with more insight and initiative. You ever think that the Post might be able to play a role in getting (or forcing) the team's owners to reflect on, and maybe alter, their tone?

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | September 28, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Coverage is lacking -

The Post did an excellent story about the rent payments roughly two months ago.

Posted by: CBT | September 28, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks CBT, I read it at the time. I disagree that it was excellent.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | September 28, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Great, another Nats nutjob. Do we really have to go down this road again of why the Nats don't get coverage? Its because they suck.

Posted by: JDP | September 28, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Coverage is Lacking -

Wouldn't you agree that the Nats output has something to do with the coverage?

I don't care how good a reporter you are - in a football town with one of the worst teams in baseball, the coverage is going to go to what people want to read about.

Sorry its not your 100-loss Nats.

Posted by: | September 28, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

none of the Ovi stories could make the list?


Posted by: odessa steps magazine | September 28, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I just wanted to tell you that I just saw you run through the background of an interview that Nbc was doing with Clinton. And then I think you stopped and snagged some soundbites.

Posted by: stevo | September 28, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

the nats suck. as someone born and raised in NOVA I will always root for the orioles. even if they are losing. better stadium (that's 15 years older mind you) that aren't nazi's about cigarettes, that's easier to get in and out of, oh and did I fail to mention BETTER TEAM

Posted by: efaasdf | September 29, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

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