It hasn’t gotten a whole lot of attention, but one-time Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Batard (he’s on hiatus from his print job) decided to have some fun on his South Florida radio program this week at the expense of Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps.
The upshot? Le Batard wanted Phelps to give him and his listeners the lowdown of the celebrity lifestyle and asking questions like “Do you like eating or is it a chore?” Phelps refused to play along and instead tried to talk about some of his corporate sponsors. But when Le Batard kept pressing him, going so far as to ask whether Phelps brought Kellogg’s cereal with him to night clubs, Phelps cut short the interview. The only problem was that Phelps didn’t turn off his phone quick enough and listeners were treated to him calling Le Batard an “idiot.” Go here to listen to it. Click on the Michael Phelps link.
Some other national sports media figures, such as Dan Patrick, have taken a mild shot at Le Batard, saying, ‘what do you expect?’ when you book a big-time celebrity. Part of the quid pro quo is they get a chance to push their product, Patrick said. Other bloggers have suggested Phelps – who sounds very stiff – got what he deserved for being so boring.
I can see both points of view from some standpoint, but there’s this ongoing hypocrisy in sports media that just keeps driving me crazy. The columnists and the radio stars get all peeved when someone doesn’t want to respond to their stupid questions. Yet – as evidenced by the Terrell Owens meltdown in Philly and countless other examples – these same sports media people will be the first to jump on an athlete who honestly answers a question and says something somewhat provocative.
You can’t have it both ways. And it explains why many sports athletes act like so many of the people in the sports media world are poison. What I want from my sports shows are people who give me useful information and interesting insights, not constant faux outrage. If I want faux outrage all the time, I can change to the cable news channels.
It used to be that the sports talking heads who succeeded were those who had good sources and provided timely information. Now it seems to be all about who can yell the loudest, or make someone else look like a goofball.