Friday, September 18, 2015

The Michael Rosenberg shell game

For those unaware, Michael Rosenberg is a writer for Sports Illustrated. In a previous SI issue, he co-authored a story regarding the New England Patriots. In it, he and his cohorts dragged out all sorts of ghosts and goblins from the closet and under the bed involving the Pats/Bill Bellichick/Tom Brady, etc.

The story was slanted to make the Patriots appear like serial cheaters and no doubt millions of NFL fans ate it up. They would be those that are envious of New England's success, of course. In other words, people not from the far northeastern part of the US. The nor-easters see things a bit differently.

Yours truly is no Patriot lover nor hater. Certainly, they should be commended for their success over the years. Unless, that is, it only came about due to various "gates". But I don't really care if they win or lose. Like Rosenberg, I was once a Detroit Lions fan. Let's just say we've both felt the pain over the years that comes with rooting for the Honolulu blue and silver. But he has moved on, as have I.

Yet I deemed his original article quite biased, and panned it accordingly. See Patriots, prosecutors, and paranoia -- stage right.

To no great surprise, Rosenberg got a lot of pushback from the Patriot faithful. How dare he accuse their team of spying, deflating, even -- horrors! -- providing sports drinks for the other team that weren't properly chilled, and other dastardly deeds when none of it has been proven? Innocent until proven guilty indeed.

So Rosenberg decided to push back in the latest issue of SI. On the back page, you can find his article. MR goes on about how politicians are corrupt but home town coaches are honest. Everybody else is cheating, but the average fan refuses to believe it could happen in their home town. Valid points. Indeed, though Ndamukong Suh was, and is, considered a goon by most, the "stomper" was revered as a hero while in Detroit.

Yet true to form, he offers up his usual variety of lame anecdotal humor, and even tries to don a "shrink's" cap. MR lectures us on what we understand, our flaws, and how we come to perceive many things. Excuse the pun, but that's pretty heady stuff for some dude not far removed from being a lowly scribe for a Detroit newspaper.

"Sports are a reflection of society, and we like to stare into the mirror and declare that we look good", he states. Not bad Mikey, but all he's doing is trying to deflect the heat he's catching for the misguided article in the first place by changing the subject. Perhaps a career in politics awaits him.

In a last desperate attempt to justify his full-page non sequitur, Rosenberg even alludes to a Chief Supreme Court Justice from long ago. Evidently, Earl Warren preferred to read the sports section before checking out the front page. Something about people's accomplishments versus man's failures. Rosenberg laughed this off as sometimes the sections might get mixed up, and blamed the printer. OMG, MR, that's a real knee-slapper.

But here's the thing. Remember the steroids mania in MLB? Despite the media circus, nobody was ever found guilty of anything. Not Barry, nor Roger, though many will forever consider them "dirty". This came at the media's hand, aka the likes of Rosenberg. OJ was guilty of murdering his wife before he ever set foot in a courtroom. The press said so, and the masses believed it. Turns out, after all the evidence was in, the jury saw things differently.

Ray Lewis, Adrian Peterson, and even Lance Armstrong. What do they have in common? They were all sensationalized for various alleged wrong-doings by the media. Lewis was acquitted of all murder related charges, Peterson got a slap on the wrist for switching his kid, and nobody would ever know of Armstrong's cheating if Oprah hadn't offered him a few million bucks to spill it. As hard as they tried, the media solved absolutely nothing. But dammit, they swayed public opinion.

Rosenberg may blame it on the "sections" getting mixed up, but a strong case could be made that all the hoopla and hype that he and his kind constantly churn out -- without hard facts and evidence to back it up -- are nothing more than tabloid journalism.

I mentioned politics above. Remember Rosenberg started off in Detroit. It was, and continues to be the pits. Can't blame him for going to SI, with offices in the Big Apple. No doubt, he enjoys a lot of travel and first-class perks on SI's dime.

Then again, if he runs afoul of his bosses at SI, there's always the National Inquirer. They LOVE sensationalized stuff, pay better, and even enjoy a larger circulation than the sports mag. And they recently moved from Florida to NYC as well. Just a short walk for Mikey, from one office to another.

If he keeps up the dumb articles, we might see a lot more of Rosenberg's work soon.

While standing in the checkout line at the grocery store.

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