Shot Across the BowPosted on April 05, 2011
Wow. Provocative. Read this one. It is a complicated subject indeed. Analytic and emotional all at the same time. I empathize greatly with what Mark is saying. We as sports teams are our own media companies now as you know. I blog and I am on Twitter and Facebook. I read and respond to all of my email. I am accessible. I care deeply. We all do in our franchises. In a way, we compete with the bloggers and media that cover our teams now. There. I said it. We hire journalists on our staff. We want sponsors. We want readers. We want to feed the monster. Mr. /Ms. Blogger. We are in your business. You are in ours. We live in this odd state of "coopetition" with the media that covers us. We must get that out and understand what that means. We don't get rights fees from these folks. They take our content and brands and access to players and staff that we pay and then try to make a business or a reputation out it for themselves. Good deal, right? Only Comcast pays us fees. I won't make any changes in our policy though about bloggers. We need a big tent. I believe in universal access. Readers deserve to hear many opinions as long as we can respond in kind. And I believe in the inner goodness of people although there are policemen on our streets for a reason. At times when I have responded to a blogger the media has coagulated and taken a defensive posture. I have to chuckle. The media has the thinnest of skins I believe. Not the players and the coaches and the staff who deal with it every single day. Read my email one day for a reality check of what folks will say to you over the Internet. The other day, the Washington Capitals became the team with the best record in the East and there were a few articles that I read that made it sound like we were deeply troubled. I thought those headlines and articles were created because rainbows and candy are not blogger worthy. Good news doesn't sell as we all know. "Dog bites man--no news--man bites dog--big news!" But we wanted to celebrate fan appreciation day and one hundred straight sellouts and clinching a playoff spot and getting into first place for the day. No harm in that, right? We are at odds here with some bloggers as you can see. A very weird dynamic. And a lot of what Mark says here is so true and spot on - sad to say. We have feelings too. We win a game the other day - two in a row - in a rebuild year and a blogger writes..."Uncertain steps towards an unknown future." That one hurt and I don't understand why it was done. So best course of action, as many have told us, is just ignore. Make it irrelevant to our operations. "Hard to see the positives" I read. Really? "Washington needs to clean house. Fire the GM and the coach." I saw. From people that hardly attend the games to boot. And would never say this to the coach and GM directly. I get it. Freedom of speech. Many voices. But do you think these folks don't have wives; children; business associates; and friends that get upset when they read these random and untrue pixels that get generated? Have YOU no empathy? Empathy is a characteristic of happy and successful people as I note in my book. Ask coaches; ask players; and ask owners about rumors any time you want. In fact, make up the rumors if you want. What is the down side to you? Nothing really. No real accountability. What happens when the rumor you report isn't true? Do you get called out? Fired from your job? What does happen? Any consequences? Nope. A free pass. A lifetime free pass to say what you want. What other business or pursuit in life allows you such a birth right? And we give you free food too! :-) Ok. I have ranted enough. Mark has asked for your thoughts on his blog. He is to be respected for his thoughts and opinions. This is a complex subject. I am hopeful you will be respectful to us for our opinions too. You demand it from us to you. We should get the same courtesies back. "What's the role of media for sports teams?" A really good read. A really deep and complicated set of relationships and agendas here. New rules, new media.