Published: 5/10/2012 12:00:00 AM
Don’t be that kind of fan or observer
Sports are either a smoldering entity with issues bubbling just below the surface, or more often than not, a call-the-fire-department, raging inferno rush to judgment.
Trying to find a lukewarm news cycle is a rarity.
Sports fans are bombarded with new stories all day and everyday, especially in today’s social media climate in which everyone has a voice.
I’m here to tell you sports fans — all that glitters is not gold.
As a fan and a writer, I have a responsibility to report the facts and even in my commentaries, I base my opinion off accuracy of the facts surrounding the subject that I choose to cover.
Whenever a story first comes to light in the sporting world, I learned a long time ago in journalism school that I would rather be accurate and last than to report it first and get it wrong.
I gain nothing from reporting incorrectly on a story. Readers deserve to be treated as diverse intellectuals. But, admittedly, I’m as guilty as the next fan when it comes to jumping on the latest story bandwagon. I’m probably plugged into as many social media sites as the next person. Just because something flashes across my screen doesn’t mean that I immediately wade neck-deep into the conversation.
When the Saints Bountygate scandal surfaced, I didn’t make a lot of reference to it publicly (by the water cooler is another story). I waited, not because I didn’t have an opinion on the subject, but because I wanted to get all the facts.
Believe me, a hot-button topic like players and coaches paying other players to go out and play the game of football with the intent to hurt players registered a lot of opinions by me. Like my mentors have always said, a better perspective of the situation can be gained when you take a few steps back from it.
Ultimately the Saints were held accountable for their part in the scandal.
I’m not saying don’t comment or put opinions out there because that is the right of everyone, but I would say temper that availability to worldwide access with some diligent fact checking. My social media posts on a subject have come late on many topics. I don’t want to be that observer who weighs in on a topic too quickly and looks like I didn’t do my homework.
Knee-jerk stories and bad sources are the bane of any reporter worth his or her salt. If I had a quarter for every social media campaign with an agenda right after a red hot story drops, I’d be a part owner of my favorite teams.
Look, I get that social media has opened the floodgates and made it possible for everyone to have a voice and I don’t want to silence any of them, but just because you can doesn’t mean you have to be that fan leading the charge for initial reports.
Be the fan who has all the facts first and then weighs in and challenges misinformation. Be the guide and not the rumor mill.
Comment on this story