For those of you who aren't interested in my rants regarding media coverage, please look away.
I've said before that I don't believe it's the media's job to help promote or push a certain product. Following that belief, I also don't agree with media attempting to dissuade or downgrade products based on personal bias or other underlying factors. Newspaper columnists seem to slide into a grey area in some cases since they are employed to basically provide insight and viewpoints in addition to the actual "reporting" found within the pages of a given publication. Certain columnists write inflammatory articles for the sole purpose of eliciting a response from readership while some provide legitimate analysis and criticism based on fact and circumstance surrounding whatever story is being written about. Sun Time's columnist Rick Morrissey has written two columns that fall into the former category.
Normally, I would point out these columns with a link in the comments section or a link through a Media Watch piece. I've decided to point Morrissey's work out since it contains some of the dumbest anti-soccer arguments committed to print. That in and of itself is quite a feat considering the amount of "I hate soccer" trash that is published in American newspapers. Of course, Morrissey rolls out the same old nonsense about not enough scoring, feigned injuries, ties, etc., while pointing out what he likes about the "real" sports. He also has a new spin. Morrissey claims that there is some sort of imaginary soccer mafia which exists to apparently try to make him like soccer.
Morrissey is apparently so consumed with soccer thoughts that he took the time to write the piece on July 14. Only three weeks after writing an almost identically profound piece on June 22. I'm still at a failure to fully comprehend why writers like Rick Morrissey feel that they have to stand up and announce to world, "Hey everyone, I don't like soccer". Doing it once can be brushed off as your typical anti-soccer hack rant based on personal opinion. Doing it twice in the span of three weeks either belies some sort of agenda or at best supplies a sample of plainly ignorant and lazy writing.
Since this post is being sent to Sun Times Editor in Chief Donald Hayner (email@example.com), I've decided to look at Morrissey's latest piece and provide a response for each senseless ramble.
Watching soccer is like watching a teenage boy try to work up the nerve to ask out a girl.
Out of 48 World Cup group matches, 13 ended in a 1-0 score, six ended 1-1 and six ended in a thoroughly frustrating scoreless tie. If you had an appetite for goals, here was the equivalent of getting your stomach stapled.
The final Sunday ended with
You like soccer. I'm happy for you. I like parts of soccer. I like the passing, the athleticism and the spirit in the stands. Like most Americans, I'd like to see a lot more goals.
Everyone loves goals. What Morrissey fails to comprehend is that soccer is not hockey, basketball, or football. It's a different game altogether. It doesn't need to provide a 6-5 final score to be entertaining or exciting. Morrissey clearly does not understand the game. Which is fine, since the game is doing alright with the score lines as they are....even in
There are certainly dull 0-0 draws in soccer. In the same fashion that there are dull 13-10 or 17-14 football games or incredibly mind numbing 4-1 baseball games. It's a different game. Get over it.
If he'd like to see more goals maybe soccer players can begin experimenting with techniques to make them faster, stronger, and able to kick the ball farther. Maybe they can artificially improve themselves in order to satisfy the great hunger for more scoring.
Maybe that will work like it worked so wonderfully for Major League Baseball in the 90's and 00's. Maybe then, you can avoid the stomach stapling Morrissey writes about.
The part I least like about soccer, besides the players' phony injuries and pained facial expressions, is the needy, proselytizing fans in the
It's great that you love singing in a karaoke bar, but where does it say we have to listen?
It makes sense that Nike, Adidas and ESPN want to push soccer in the
But fans here are not content with simply enjoying their game. They want you to enjoy their game. Knowing you aren't a true believer only steels their resolve to turn you into one. It's a major bummer at parties.
Those must be some parties he's attending where soccer fans are begging for his almighty affirmation.
The needy, proselytizing fans Morrissey is referring to are surely the ones that have emailed the Sun Times, commented on their web site, or emailed the writer himself regarding his first column on June 22. I'd challenge him to produce one letter or email from a fan seeking his approval instead of challenging the opinions expressed in his columns. Morrissey is incorrectly assuming that anyone who dares to challenge his writing must be begging him to watch soccer.
The fact is most soccer fans don't care if Morrissey likes the sport. They don't even really care if the Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Post, or any other outlet acknowledge or cover the sport. They're content for the most part enjoying the game in their own world away from the soccer-bashing crowd. Fans who are asking for soccer coverage from the mass media are not asking for people like Rick Morrissey to write about the sport. They're asking for soccer educated, coherent reporters to cover the sport. This apparently bothers Morrissey.
No one is asking Morrissey to listen to singing in a karaoke bar. They're asking him to leave the bar if he doesn't like it.
Morrissey's concern that the imaginary soccer mafia is "eyeing our children" really exposes his true motives for writing the columns on June 22 and July 14. He sees the momentum of the sport building and is apparently frightened that it may some day become as popular as the sports that he actually understands and follows. Is he as concerned with children playing little league baseball?
Morrissey also is apparently blind to the flop artists in the NBA who prolong games and draw fouls by feigning body contact by throwing themselves backwards onto the floor like they were just steamrolled by an NFL linebacker. Maybe he hasn't seen NFL wide receivers fake contact and turn around looking for a flag after a cornerback so much as breathes on them.
Nobody wants Rick Morrissey to enjoy the game if he doesn't want to watch it. In fact, I'm sure most soccer fans would prefer he not watch it and not write about it.
We're goal-oriented in the
ESPN said the Spain-Netherlands final attracted 15.5 million viewers, a record for a men's soccer match in the
I'll be expecting someone in a Manchester United jersey, brochure in his hand, zeal in his eye, on my porch this morning.
Whenever an American says he doesn't see the attraction of soccer, fans paint him as an isolationist. I've been all over the world. I love other cultures. I barely can see three feet in front of me because I'm so busy visualizing world peace.
But soccer doesn't get my blood going.
Let me get this straight. Morrissey's theory for discounting the growing popularity of soccer in America despite being presented with evidence that depicts the truth is this......the World Cup final drew a rating which beat the World Series and NHL finals, while drawing comparable numbers to game 7 of the NBA finals because people like ESPN and not necessarily soccer?
This is the comment that I referred to earlier as one of the dumbest anti-soccer arguments ever presented in writing. By that convoluted logic, I can only assume that the WNBA, the X-Games, and the Espy's all draw huge numbers simply as a result of the staggering subliminal power that ESPN wields over the weak minded and gullible American public. As a matter of fact, I'm expecting that ratings numbers for the Espy's will eclipse those of the Academy Awards just because they're on ESPN. Heck, I'll even attend one of the many X-Games watch parties throughout the country just because ESPN is televising it. Morrissey's explanation for the ratings success is so blatantly paranoid that it smacks of panic and denial.
It appears that the first part of this portion of Morrissey's piece was written in anticipation of the ratings dropping after the
No one is painting Morrissey or any other anti-soccer scribe as an isolationist. I'm simply asking him to ignore it like most readers ignore his usual work.
Many of us would like soccer a lot better if there was more scoring, but we're fine with the idea that the game isn't going to alter its rules to lure us into the tent. Demanding change would be the ultimate in American arrogance, worse even than exporting ''Mr. Belvedere'' reruns to
In the end, we're just not that interested in a sport that delivers as often as the postal carrier. We like what we like.
Why isn't that good enough?
Yes it's good enough. We get it. Rick Morrissey doesn't like soccer.
Yet it's not good enough for Morrissey to write one piece about it. He felt compelled to write another one three weeks later while providing no new perspective or argument. For some reason the editors at the Sun Times felt compelled to publish it instead of holding their professional writing staff to some standard of journalism that doesn't alienate a large potential readership by continuing to dole out the same tired drivel that was presented previously.
Again, Morrissey offers some insight into his true motives for writing this article by suggesting a rule change to promote more scoring is somehow decried by soccer fans as "American arrogance". Is he suggesting that all soccer fans are non-Americans or foreigners? Why does he write, "We like what we like" as if he's speaking for all of
No one should have to apologize for anything -- not the soccer fans who want the sport to succeed here and not the people who just don't see the allure. If you see beauty in a 1-0 match, wonderful, have at it. Just suppress the urge to convert everyone else. Soccer might be your one, true god, but it's not ours. Leave us to our primitive beliefs. We can't explain why we like a beautiful pass in basketball or a hard check in hockey. We just do.
We can debate soccer against baseball forever, but in the end, it's a personal preference. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of ''the beautiful game.''
This would be great if Morrissey actually listened to his own advice and suppressed the urge to stand up and begin writing garbage for all to see. And again, who exactly is "us"? Is he speaking for
If Morrissey is so pro-personal preference, why even bother to write an article chock full of incorrect assumptions, mass generalization, and the need to explain to everyone why he doesn't like soccer....not once but twice in the span of three weeks. Did he have nothing to say about the Bulls scintillating pursuit of Kyle Korver or JJ Redick on those days?
Soccer fans here so wanted the
The Americans tied
The mythmakers also tried to render the Spain-Netherlands game good theater. By definition (mine), a 0-0 tie after almost two hours of soccer cannot be considered scintillating.
In that final, the Dutch had 13 shots on net, meaning they averaged one shot on goal every nine minutes. The Spaniards averaged a shot every 6Â½ minutes. That's asking a whole lot of us easily distracted Americans.
Yet millions of easily distracted Americans tuned in to watch the 0-0 scoreless two hours. Morrissey must have been glued to the television during the scintillating game 7 of the NBA finals. The score was tied 64-64 with five minutes left. Not in the third quarter mind you....this was in the fourth quarter of the NBA finals. This must have been good theatre in Morrissey's eyes since there were a lot of crooked numbers on the board. Never mind the bad basketball.
If soccer ever does take off here, it's going to take off on the strength of the game, not on the fervor of its fan base.
Soccer is a great participatory sport for kids. It's a great way to stay in shape. It's not so great to watch. Unless there's something we've yet to see, that's not going to change for many of us.
Is that OK?
It's going to have to be.
Yes it's ok.....for just about everyone but Morrissey apparently.
What Morrissey is missing is the fact that soccer is already popular in
It's comical that shortly after stating his desire to encourage personal preference; Morrissey reverts to mass generalization again while informing readers that soccer is not fun to watch and that's not going to change for many of "us".
I would hope that the idiotic proselytizing displayed in the columns published on June 22 and July 14 are the last we see of Rick Morrissey's attempts to write about soccer. After all he told us so. He doesn't like or care about it so why would he continue to write about it. Maybe if he would stop writing about how much he dislikes it he would not have to worry about that imaginary fan in the Manchester United jersey waiting on his porch to presumably shove soccer down his gullet.
Nonsense of this sort does not increase the amount of readers or customers who purchase the Sun Times by attempting to enrage soccer fans. The effect is quite the contrary. I for one am less inclined to even pick it up as a result.