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Monday, November 5, 2007

Bloggers Just Aren't Journalists

The sports bloggers are up in arms over the Detroit News columnist Chris McCoskey's opinion piece with the above headline. I identify more with bloggers than journalists; it's really the difference in being employed by the mainstream media versus being your own boss (and unpaid employee) when you start up a blog. But I don't think McCoskey is deserving of the ridicule he's getting; although his portrayal of bloggers is perhaps a stereotypical one of "the clever dude in his pajamas...on his computer, down in his basement," it doesn't minimize the important point he makes about accountability.

Journalism employs trained professionals. We actually have to go to school for this stuff. We take our jobs seriously. There are rules and standards that we are beholden to. There are ethics involved. We actually talk to, in person, the people we write about. If we rip somebody in an article, you best be sure most of us will confront that person the next day and take whatever medicine we need to take.

With blogging and Web sites, it seems the hard work, standards, accountability, courage all of that is bypassed. Who needs to study this stuff, or attend games, or conduct interviews when you can just sit in your basement and clack out whatever comes through your head, right? If I rip somebody, or if I get something wrong, who cares? Nobody will see me.
This is a long preamble to address some of the recent comments about Miseviciute, about foreign players in college and also some other comments I've received and haven't published about individuals involved in junior tennis. Most of you know by now that your chances of having a comment published increase dramatically if you use some sort of name rather than anonymous. I think most of you also know that I am a defender of foreign players in American collegiate tennis. Gator Boy may be more familiar with the details of the Miseviciute case than I am, but I have no evidence that she lied about her status or that the punishment she was given was unjust. I met her for the first time in Columbus and I found her to be cooperative and mature, a student-athlete any university would be happy to have. Would Gator Boy like to attend the NCAAs in May and confront her about her suspension? Or perhaps initiate a campaign with the NCAA to codify their punishments of student-athletes who run afoul of their amateur rules?

I understand the proposal to allow up to $10,000 in prize money for those competing prior to attending college is still alive. So maybe that issue needs to be settled before we return to vilifying foreign teenagers from our basements.


Anonymous said...

I villified Arkansas just as much as I flamed Miseviciute but you didnt say anything about that. Why not? You didn't do it because it doesn't sound as smart to flame me for flaming a team that should have been more thorough in checking the eligibility of its player.

You also made out like I was picking on a foreign player when that was so obviously not the case. If an American did the same as Miseviciute I'd have said the same thing. You picked on the foreign angle because you wanted to make out that I was one of those people who have a beef with foreign players in college tennis. I don't, but I do have a problem with players and teams who cheat. In accepting her place on the team Miseviciute was declaring herself eligible even though she wasn't because she had nominated as a professional at a tournament. She claimed it wasn't her handwriting on the sheet marking her as a pro but, same as in golf, your score sheet is your responsibility. Mark it incorrectly and you live with the consequences. I say her punishment wasn't harsh enough, but I ALSO SAID that Arkansas deserved to be punished.

Its pretty rich that you devote a blog post to standards in journalism then ignore my criticism of UA so that it looks like Im only targeting an individual and make out that my criticism has something to do with that individual's nationality, not what they did. That is unethical and I bet Chris McCoskey would agree.

Colette Lewis said...

Gator Boy:
You're right, I did ignore the Arkansas part of your criticism and that's probably because I am so accustomed to hearing that foreign players are a blight on college tennis.
Thanks for pointing out that you weren't addressing that issue.

Anonymous said...

for what it is worth- I agree 100% with your thoughts. I have said in many blogs - I am not against foreign players- I am against pro players playing in college (foreign or American).
I can live with the $10,000 (new proposal) amount if it is enforced properly (which I doubt from the past experiences of the NCAA).

Jerry's Dallas said...

The blogger is the guy in the bar pontificating on sports, the internet just gives him a bigger megaphone. Ironically, because of journalism's historically low payscale - add to that their documented loss of readers and money - newspapers hire people who are less qualified than bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Gator boy, you are seriously over reacting. First, I know the Arkansas program, and I know Aurelija personally very well. Her suspension was more than sufficient punishment, primarily because she never intended to break the rules. When she accepted the money, she had seriously considered playing purely professional tennis. However, she didn't make that much money! I don't know exact dollar amounts, but I can name current American players that have been paid under the table alot more than she was.

Arkansas cheating? Seriously? 1) Do you think Arkansas knew about her taking money before recruiting her? (no) and 2) Not sure if you haven't noticed, but Ark women aren't really competing for national championships. It is relative to in a game of monopoly... it doesn't really matter.

If you don't like this blog, don't comment! You look like a dumbass flaming a blogger.

Also, I am a current D1 college player. Every team (not most, every) breaks NCAA rules through recruiting and practicing. I wish it weren't true, but tennis isn't a big enough sport to truly enforce, and all coaches know that. If you want to accuse a school of cheating, send an NCAA rep to every practice, recruiting trip, and every other team function of every school.

Anonymous said...

D1 Tennis player,

Would you hook a player, if you knew you could get away with it?

You know what I am talking about- your back is to the net the ball is over your head near the baseline and your opponent can't see the ball because your body is blocking it- and the ball lands on the far side of the line-- do you call it in or out?

My point is, just because you know you can get away with it -- Do you cheat?

I don't know all the facts of the Arkansas case nor do I know the player--

However based upon what you said "primarily because she never intended to break the rules. When she accepted the money, she had seriously considered playing purely professional tennis." She broke the rules, was caught and had to pay a penalty.

Just because everybody cheats - does not mean you have to cheat.

The only person who counts in the game is YOU and YOU KNOW IF YOU CHEAT and you have to live with that- whether you, the team, the coach, the school gets caught for cehating or not- You know.

That might be a navie approach, but guess what, TENNIS of all sports is a game of honesty and integrity - and if you play at a National level -you know this from a very young age.

I hope that you are wrong in your assement that ALL SCHOOLS AND COACHES CHEAT--

I don't belive that is true.

You are too young to be so jaundiced!!!

Anonymous said...

d1 tennis player,

If you can name players who have accepted money 'under the table' then do it. If you choose not to then I can only assume you're lying, that no such payments ever existed and you've made the claims to big note yourself. If you're lying about that then I can also safely assume you're lying about everything else in your post. Which means you don't know Miseviciute, you aren't a Div 1 college player (not like that makes anyone particularly special)and you're the one who looks like a dumbass for making up such stupid claims.

I would be so totally happy if we had to provide a traceable email address before we could post comments. Would you?

Anonymous said...

gatorboy, believe what you want. As for the players that have accepted money, I refuse to call out people that I have played against and know personally. I would willingly provide an e-mail address; however, I would not appreciating being "traced" by someone with the moniker of "gatorboy".

Now, as far as my validity, if you choose to believe it or not, is completely credible. I trained with Aurelija for about a week in the summer of 2006, the season before she served her probation.

man in the moon- you made a few very valid points. However, as far as the cheating question, it depends. Now, that sounds morally wrong, but it depends on one simple truth: am I trying to get somewhere?

It is unfortunate, but we live in a world of junior tennis where it is cheat or be cheated. And if cheated, cheat back. Morally, its wrong, but 10 years of playing junior, national level tennis will teach you that.

Regarding violations that schools make in recruiting and practicing, for one of my recruiting trips, we had to sign a paper at the end saying we did not break any violations. There were 8 items, and the other recruits and I broke 7 of the 8. No, I will no mention where. Also, at the school I am currently at, we are currently practicing 6 days a week, 4 hours a day. (24 hours a week for the math challenged) in the offseason. That means we are currently at 3x the hours of practice rule that is in the NCAA

Also, one last comment on "the arkansas scandal", what she did was wrong, yes, but she served a penalty, and in the off season she trained her ass off, and it shows. She did her time, and that is that.

Finally, gatorboy, why would i lie on a forum that I have never posted on before, and have nothing to prove. Believe me if you want, but understand that i haven't lied.

Anonymous said...

To the person who thinks if someone cheats you it is wrong to cheat back. Not only should you but you would have to cheat them back twice to get back what you should have. In other words if I get cheated on my add and that makes it deuce I would have to cheat on the next 2 points to get the game I had already won. If someone stole your bike from your house and you saw it in their yard across the street the next day would you go get it back. YES So if someone purposely steals a point from you why shouldnt you get it back?

Anonymous said...

Its not an uncommon practice to sign that paper at the end of all official visits d1 player. As for the 24 hours a week thing when you are only supposed to play 8 in the off season, it is obviously a rule that is meant to be gone around. For example they don't count as official practice hours if your coach doesn't "technically" force you to be there, so teams can't get in trouble for that. It goes without saying shady things go on all over the country but it sounds like this Arkansas girl, Miseviciute, served her punishment time, and even though I would be all for the rule being more strict, in my opinion she has every right to play college tennis now. And Man on the moon if you considering the extra practice hours in the off season as cheating then yes every D1 coach in the country cheats.

Anonymous said...

D1 tennis player, anon.

I have been around junior and collegiate tennis for many, many years (more years than your are old).

Most of the players (junior & collegiate) DO NOT CHEAT.

I would say about 90% DO NOT CHEAT, maybe more.

For the few guys who DO CHEAT--
How about raising your game, instead of cheating back. Yes, that is a much harder way to play, but at the end of the match-I bet you will feel a lot better-win or lose.

D1 player you said " but it depends on one simple truth: am I trying to get somewhere?"

I can guarantee you will feel better about yourself if "you got somewhere" raising your game instead of cheating --YOU WOULD FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOU and in the end that is what matters. YOU CAN'T CHEAT YOUR WAY TO THE TOP, sooner or later talent out weighs cheating.

BTW- in my experience the cheating is most prevalent in the 12's and 14's by the 16's everybody knows who the big time offenders are by college it is mostly gone.

Good luck to all of you.

Anonymous said...

just to clarify the previous post

I said "For the few guys who DO CHEAT--
How about raising your game, instead of cheating.....

I was talking about the player who was cheated in dealing with the cheater. Although that is not bad advice for the cheater, also!!!

Anonymous said...

Man on the moon I do not know what kind of college tennis you have been watching but I am a freshman at school now I almost every single player I have watched makes bad calls, especially the foreigners.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that one of the most well-known junior coaches in the country instructs his kids, and his students to cheat back, without hesistation if they get hooked more than once. If one of these influential coaches is suggesting this, I would think there is more as well. I agree with this tactic. If you are in a heated match, against someone who is playing mind games..(many times the "hook" is not designed to win the point, but instead, to induce frustration to cause more mistakes) it does not matter how much you "raise your game". You are up against dishonesty, and regretfully, sometimes the only way to combat this is respond in kind. Is it "right"? Perhaps not. But as Leo Durocher once said, "nice guys finish last".

Anonymous said...

To the person who thinks cheating is not as bad in college. Have you lost your mind? These foreign kids are so afraid of being sent home and losing their scholarships if they don't win enough they will cheat like crazy to stay over here. No not all of them especially the better ones who don't have to worry about their scholarships being renewed each year but a lot of them do. As for the cheating back thing. Why wouldn't you when the referee you get can't see a thing because 80% of them are over 60 and don't pay attention. It is a real gamble to get a referee because they either don't change bad calls or overrule good calls or aren't paying attention. They are happy to get their free meals and free place to stay and their 100 dollars a day and enjoy watching the tennis. Not all of them but a heck of a lot of them are absolutely horrible.

Anonymous said...

Colette, anon (1), anon (2) anon (3)

I don't know if my previous post in this regard was lost in cyberspace, if you find it please do not post this one again. I am certain that the first post would not be objectionable.

Anon (1)
I have watched the Big 10, ACC, SEC, and Ivy League for many years. I do tend to agree with your comment of foreigners, although I do not like to stereotype- I think in this instance you are correct.

Anon (2)

I know many top junior and collegiate coaches who do not adopt the approach of cheating back.
He cheats, you cheat, he cheats, you cheat when does it end?
Just think how good you would feel if you beat the guy without cheating. At the end of the day, it really comes down to YOU and how you feel about YOU.

Anon (3)

I agree with you -please see # (1) anon and as far as the refs go-there are some great refs in college and yes there are some that are terrible- However, it is how you deal with the cheater and the bad ref that counts- because you get the same thing in life after college and tennis.

I will now stop with my lecture and wish you all good luck this season!!

Anonymous said...

To Man in the Moon, I guess it all boils down to different philosophies. Neither is wrong. It is a matter of how you are most comfortable dealing with it. I for one feel that cheaters continue to do so because there are no consequences and they get away with it just like everything else in life is that way as you said. So you have to ask yourself a question. Do you let the bullies in life bully you or do you bully them back and teach them a lesson so they will think twice before they go down that road again. They will continue to do so as long as they get away with it and that is reality.

Anonymous said...

your points are well taken--

I am not saying just forget about it and I am not saying it is easy.

You can go through the normal questioning of the call- and there are different tactics to explore, none of which are fun or easy.

You can go to the net and confront verbally -and probably he doesn't give a d--- anyway.

It is tough no matter how you look at it - and it is certainly hard to deal with!!

In the end, the players who don't cheat will probably not cheat in later life- that is the redeeming value.

Anonymous said...

I can guarantee this won't be published but I hope it helps Ms. Lewis to understand the bitterness of many families. I have watched several "favored" kids cheat over the years (ok maybe they just assumed every ball they hit should go in) but since they were supported by their parents, they never developed the idea that they were doing anything wrong. You don't get nervous if you feel "just" in what you do. I always feel sorry for the opponent's of these types of kids. Winning brings you to the attention of the big shots, afterwards no one cares how you got there. Sadly the "favored" never wonder what happens to the other guy, the guy they hooked, (did he quit?, get better?, die?become Federer?) I am sure they (nor their parents) ever gave him/her a second thought. I have personally had a few exchanges with these parents over the years. I never knew the cruelty of people until they want their kids to win. They were tough, never wrong, unrelenting and abusive. I bet dinner time was a blast. Perhaps they have changed after their kids "made" it. I do know those kids were talented, (they were great off the court but only if they "won")and they would have made it without being "favored" by the USTA, (unfortunately the kids they hooked might have made it too). Maybe the kid they hooked was tapped out finacially, that was the "key" match, if they won fair and square they might have been the "favored" and the USTA would have picked them up instead. The question is can you stick it out when you grow up, you can't be a kid forever, how you got there is half the challenge, what you do after is the rest. If you worked hard and played hard you're on the money. If your parents "worked hard and played the game" to help you win when you were young,remember "great athletes are remembered from youth on, no one remembers them as having cheated to get there, they may have had a tough time accepting their role, but hooking isn't what is mentioned. They can truly say they received a gift from God. Can you?

Anonymous said...

True, hooking is a curse and is a practiced art by some highly ranked juiors. Apparently Agassi was a hooker as a junior. Chang mentioned in his book that he was hooked by him the first time they played.