Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: They write letters...

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

They write letters...

My buddy Nel read a recent piece over at page 2 and got a little riled up. Here is his email to me explaining the situation:
Hey guys,

I know I had too much time on my hands this afternoon, but I was excited to see the tag line for this article on - "Michael Davies was there for us in '02 and he's back for the world's ultimate trophy chase -- no, not Heidi Klum: the World Cup" The article is linked below.

After reading the article, I finally got fed up with espn's coverage of the World Cup and wrote a response. I know there are a lot of web sites, and media outlets that give the copa its due, and soccer in general, but why shouldn't a billion dollar sport machine like ESPN do a better job. Here is my letter:

To Whom It May Concern,

This email is a response to Mr. Michael Davies' "Let the Diary Begin", Page 2's attempt to keep reading, soccer (football) fans abreast of the goings on in the World Cup. Although I am pleased you have decided to approve a running report about the largest sporting event in the world, I am disappointed at how poor an initial job your "staff member" has done, and how it seems ESPN loves to feed into the notion that anyone in this country who cares about the World Cup and soccer in general should have their head examined; must be an immigrant to this country; or just doesn't get American football or baseball (translation - a real girly man). First let me tell you a little about myself. I was born in this country, I love American football and baseball, I have a master's degree, and I love soccer. I was raised, and still live in Kearny, NJ (some have called it Soccer-town, USA because of its historically excellent high school and youth soccer programs) a town that has over
the years seen its share of Scottish, Irish, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Spanish, Brazilian, and Latin immigrant residents. It is mostly due to this soccer-loving diverse population that we have produced players like John Harkes, and Tony Meola (both played for the national team). Now I understand that these facts support the notion that only immigrants love this sport in this country, but we are talking about a community whose "immigrants" moved here one, two, three and in some cases four generations ago. All across this nation, millions of kids play soccer, and millions of parents support them. I know we as a nation don't go out in large numbers to see our own professional league (in person, or on TV), we haven't won at the international level (and god forbid if we as Americans don't win at everything we do-athletically or otherwise), and soccer is really off the radar in terms of professional sports in this country, but how can more than 1 billion people be wrong? The World Cup
may have its issues (confusing lottery system, etc.), but it deserves a bit more accurate coverage and consideration from ESPN than we have today. ESPN Soccernet is basically written for and by English Premiership fans-there are other leagues you know. We are lucky to see one, maybe two "international" soccer games on ESPN channels (ESPN & ESPN 2) every couple of months. Sure you guys show games on ESPN Deportes from time to time (not that I would know-I can’t even get the damn channel), but doesn't that imply that the only people who like turning to ESPN for their soccer coverage are Spanish speaking? And then we have Mr. Davies article/diary. Did an editor read this thing? Would the editor even know what he/she was reading about? First and foremost your "staff member" (and I refer to him that way, as it seems that his writing for is not his day job) made it clear he really didn't spend that much time analyzing the groups as he said he did. For one thing Christiano
Ronaldo does not play for Brazil. He just so happens to be Portugal's top player and an English Premiership star (can't believe such a "huge" English soccer fan would whiff on that one). Next he refers to the nation playing in Group G as "South Korea". It is common knowledge that South Korea and North Korea joined forces (albeit a lopsided team as far as where the players call home) for the Korea Republic's World Cup team. How is this not a bigger story-two nations with as much bad history as these two coming together for the common purpose of a sporting event? Mr. Davies also comments about Group A's matches by writing, “The one match I plan to attend from this group is Germany vs. Poland on June 14 in Dortmund. It's just so 1939!" Let me just say that this observation is just hilarious! Wait, could you smell the sarcasm? Although it is always interesting to follow geo-political story lines when it comes to sports, especially the sport the world cares most about, and Mr.
Davies makes mention of it (Portugal v. Angola), there is something to be said about the deep-rooted feelings some of these countries have for one another, and the history behind them. This isn't Chelsea v. Man U., this is a nation that had hundreds of thousands (maybe a million or more) of its citizens murdered because of another nation's tyrannical leader-who just so happens to be one of the most notorious figures in the history of humankind. I think that making a joke like, "It's just so 1939!", as if to say, "wow it's just like the Celtics v. Knicks in the 70's - ah the nostalgia!!” is a bit insensitive. The date and its relevance isn't something Mr. Davies should be referring to in a way that evokes a comic gag. I hate to be a prude, but there are things we shouldn't equate or draw comparisons to sporting events. As I said at the beginning of my message, I am glad that ESPN is choosing to cover the World Cup, but please give it its due. Don't give soccer fans in this
country anymore of a reason to think we don't matter. Don't allow ignorant individuals to cover our Super Bowl, World Series, and Masters rolled into one event. It comes along once every four years, and a sport that pre-dates each of this country’s major four should be looked at and addressed in a meaningful way. Thank you.

Nel's email was apparently read by someone over at ESPN and the craptacular aspects of the piece have since been corrected. The way back machine has no record and ESPN didn't really mention that the original had been edited since its original posting. Looks like the folks at ESPN really do read your letters.

Good job Nel keep up the good work.