The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Open Letter to ESPN.com’s Rick Reilly

leave a comment »

Rick,

Why do you hate on BYU so much?

I admit I’m a BYU fan, a Mormon, and believe it or not, a Rick Reilly fan.  So obviously and without apology my viewpoint is a tad skewed toward BYU, but what is your excuse as a journalist supposedly trained to be the objective observer.  You sound more like a Ute fan in the Tribune comment section.

I’ve read your columns for years and every time I read one where BYU is mentioned the negatives drown the positives.  You’ve said nice things about BYU while in the same breath added a slap.  How many times have you talked about BYU’s football program only to focus on the “age” of the players and the “advantage” it gives them over “the kids” on those other teams?  Of course you never seem to mention the age thing when BYU goes 6-6.

But this time around your keyboard is busy pinging college basketball and Jimmer Fredette.  It appears you’ve noticed the storybook season BYU has had with its star player Jimmer Fredette. But unlike your peers you decide to pick the star player apart and make his and BYU’s accomplishments this season appear insignificant.

It is obvious after reading your piece that you haven’t seen Jimmer Fredette or BYU play basketball much this season.  In fact you lead me to believe you hadn’t seen BYU play at all this year until the Florida game. Really? A sports columnist who only discovered Jimmermania the 3rd game into the NCAA tournament?

If his last game against Florida was the only game you’ve personally watched you’ve missed out on one of the most amazing and fun to watch players in college basketball this year.  He admittedly didn’t have a good game but still managed to put more than 30 on Florida in the face of very good defensive pressure to carry BYU to within one missed free throw of the Elite 8, though you chose to focus on the lopsided overtime period.

If you’ve never had a chance to interview or talk to Jimmer in person you’ve missed experiencing the infectious personality and great character of this young man.

Instead, you decided to join the bandwagon of message board morons slamming Fredette for not playing defense, being a ball hog, and a selfish player.  But if you talked to his coach and teammates you’d know how ridiculous and untrue those accusations are.  Did it ever occur to you that his coach has asked him not to play hard nosed defense because his offense is too valuable to risk foul trouble?  Its called asset protection Rick.  I’m sure you understand that concept.

He IS the Pete Maravich of our day.  Your comparison between Jimmer and Pete obviously wasn’t researched and was simply meant to “turn a clever phrase”, as one blogger put it, in hopes anyone reading it wouldn’t be paying close attention.

If you want to see some stats that might embarrass you and your comparison, go here.

Your attitude toward BYU and in this case Jimmer Fredette, seems almost bitter.  Sour grapes. I don’t know what to call it or how to explain it.  I just wonder why?

The fact that you seemingly consciously chose not to follow this phenom or attempt to watch any BYU games this season leads one to consider that you have a personal reason.  Or maybe you just don’t care about a basketball team out of Provo.  The latter seems odd since the rest of the nation, including your peers,  has had a laser focused on Provo and Fredette since mid-season.  Or perhaps it goes deeper than that and follows a pattern shown by other sports columnists out of that Mecca of “free thinkers” unfettered by religion, in Boulder, Colorado.  Dick Harmon of the Deseret News discusses that theory in a recent column.

If you do have a personal bias toward BYU no one will ever know but you, however your historically consistent negativity toward the Cougars leaves your audience wondering why.  When everyone else in your profession is giving praise and showing such great respect to BYU and Jimmer Fredette, you choose to criticize.

As a former broadcast journalist and news anchor for 15 years I can recognize a hatchet job when I see one.

You’ve written many incredible and inspiring columns over the years Mr. Reilly, but this is not one of them.  This was, as one local sports blogger put it  “a lazy, churlish bit of writing by a guy well past his prime.”  I’m not necessarily in agreement with the “past his prime” bit, but lazy and churlish?

Yeah.

Still, it does occur to me that going against the grain and coming out on the opposite side of the fence in this case has certainly grabbed people’s attention for better or worse and probably given this column more readers than it would have had with a “me too” piece.

Hmmmm, a tactic to create controversy, help pump up readership, and waylay the “past his prime” talk?

Nah.  If you were truly past your prime no one would care.

Just Rick being consistent in his apparent “enmity” for BYU.

Advertisements

Written by DCL

March 28, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: