BLOG: Mike Ditka, Brett Favre, The New Sports Media Climate, And You
Imagine I issue you the following challenge:
I will give you a dozen eggs, a half pound of cheese, and a frying pan. I tell you that you need to make breakfast for four people, with what I’ve provided for you. Seems pretty simple, right? That’s more than enough food to go around.
Now imagine I told you that you’ve got to feed 6 people with it. Then I raise the ante, and I tell you that you’ve got to feed 10 people. I call you again and tell you that you’ve got to feed 15 people with the same amount of food.
You’d probably have to really stretch what I’ve given you. You’d probably have to start getting pretty creative. You might even come up with some good ideas, but chances are, you’re going to miss a bunch of times as well.
Twenty years ago, we could use our four major professional sports and college sports to fill our local papers, our local TV news, ESPN, and a sports radio station or two. Today, there’s much more space to fill. Countless sports websites, full of countless blogs and podcasts. ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3 and ESPN News. Twitter, Facebook, and more sports radio than you can shake your proverbial stick at.
The sports are our dozen eggs. We’ve still got the same amount of sports. We’ve just got way more people to feed.
This is the world of sports coverage in today’s media climate. This is why we’re getting Mike Ditka’s opinion on what is or is not sexual harassment.
Ditka said yesterday about Brett Favre/Jenn Sterger situation, “I don’t know if it’s sexual harassment if it’s being reported two years after the fact.” Clearly the former Bears coach has now set the statute of limitations on common sense. “The timing of it is a little suspicious, is all I’m saying.”
Of course, Ditka’s comments are ridiculous. Of course, they’re foolish. That’s not a question. The question is, “why do we care what Mike Ditka thinks about sexual harassment when he doesn’t know any more about the case than anyone else does?”
Answer: Because the eggs are being stretched way to thin. There’s just a lot of time to fill. We need a lot of quotes. We’ve got to keep coming up with angles on this story to fill space until the next one comes along.
Every day, the people who run these websites, blogs, TV networks and sports radio stations have to keep sports fans’ interest. The expanded coverage certainly isn’t all bad. We’ve got more in depth analysis, we’ve got better commentary, and we’ve got voices we may have never heard before.
But we’re heading into dangerous territory. The news cycles are faster, and there’s more information being fed down the line than ever before. It will be up to you to decide what matters and what doesn’t, because the media isn’t taking the time to do that for you anymore. They’re just trying to feed all those people with the eggs they have, for better or for worse.
While the media is rushing and producing at a record rate, you’re going to have to take your time, be patient, and figure out what you want to take your time to read, listen to and watch.
It’s going to be a challenge. Like trying to decide if you want to eat some crazy concoction someone made you with just half an egg and a sprinkle of cheese.