After three-plus decades in this racket (yes, I joined the media as a tot), I’ve learned to appreciate a good scandal as much as the next guy. OK, probably more.
But I’d like to think there should be a wee bit of substance to what babbling bloggers and television’s talking twerps try to pass off these days as salacious scandals.
Sorry, but Jessica Simpson adding a few pounds does not merit mountains of copy and hours of bafflegab in the electronic media. It doesn’t qualify as a legitimate scandal and neither, frankly, does Michael Phelps smoking pot. This is 2009, for crying out loud. Truth is, his bong may have been wrong but the media throng needs to move along and sing a different song. I don’t indulge, never have, but you needn’t be a pothead to realize smoking weed is no longer a dastardly deed. And Phelps’ reputation as the most dominant swimmer in history isn’t – and shouldn’t be -- damaged or tarnished.
Then there’s Joe Torre’s new book, The Yankee Years, which was supposed to be laden with 475 pages of scandals.
Puh-lease. Torre’s lineup cards have contained more controversial writing than his book does. The book’s a decent read but nowhere near as steamy as advance coverage pretended. Granted, the ex-Yankees-turned-Dodgers manager fires a few not-so-vicious zings at Alex Rodriguez, David Wells, George Steinbrenner and Yanks general manager Brian Cashman -- and there are suggestions that ex-Blue Jays pitchers used amphetamines -- but Torre’s main message is that the Yanks have evolved from a team built upon draft choices and shrewd trades into one relying on high-priced free agents and neglecting its farm system. There are few revealing passages in The Yankee Years and, in reality, the book is devoid of genuine scandals.
U.S. sports journalist Stephen A. Smith tried to come up with one yesterday about the Raptors’ all-star, Chris Bosh. Problem was, it wasn’t accurate, always a prerequisite for a good scandal.
Smith claimed Bosh told Raptors management that he has no intention of staying with Toronto when his contract expires after the NBA’s 2009-2010 season. Bosh, however, insisted he hasn’t even thought about 2010 yet.
Ultimately, he may well follow in the footsteps of ex-Raptors stars Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Antonio Davis and others by bolting, but there’s nothing to suggest this yet and so, sorry, but the Bosh story is no more scandalous than Torre’s book or Phelps’ pastime. Or Jessica Simpson’s weight.
Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of divulging genuine scandals.
Marty York is Metro's national sports columnist as well as an instructor at the College of Sports Media in Toronto. He can be heard regularly on Vancouver radio station CKNW with Sportstalk host Dan Russell. Contact Marty at firstname.lastname@example.org