Thursday, December 20, 2007

SMACK!

[This is the post I've been hyping up all week. I worked on it for like four days, and in the end, it turned out to be a piece of garbage. Sorry. Basically, I just learned a painful lesson: don't ever make a big deal out of a something that's a work in progress. Only awfulness comes of that. Go ahead and read it if you need to be put to sleep. And no, I'm not fishing for compliments. Just shut up and enjoy the crap.]

Here's the deal: a mystery journalist just wrote a scathing response to Andy Pettitte's admission that he did HGH. Don't click on the link if you don't want to find out who it is! Soak this up and pay very close attention to the author's tone and conditions of judgment.

I'm confused. Was Andy Pettitte's admission that he used human growth hormone supposed to be an apology, or an insult to everybody's intelligence?

It came off as the latter -- as something so disingenuous, it's laughable. It's hard to take any apology seriously when it contains this loaded statement: "If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize. I accept responsibility for those two days."

If what I did? Way to be contrite, Andy. Sorry, but this was more than an error in judgment. This isn't throwing to third base when the play was at first. This is your credibility and your reputation.


Last year, the Los Angeles Times reported that former Yankee Jason Grimsley told the feds Pettitte was one of the players who used performance-enhancing drugs. This is how Pettitte responded to that allegation at the time: "I haven't done anything," he said. "I guess reports are saying I've used performance-enhancing drugs. I've never used any drugs to enhance my performance in baseball before. I don't know what else to say except it's embarrassing my name would be out there."

Now Pettitte wants us to believe he took HGH only twice in 2002, and only because he wanted to heal faster for his team's sake?

Riiiiiighhhhttt.

The only thing Pettitte has demonstrated is that he can lie under duress and then craft an apology that would make any public relations expert proud.

The apology was definitely weak, and this person's analysis of it is actually pretty fair. I kind of enjoy it. I mean, focusing on previous denials of use isn't overly relevant. Pettitte is hardly the only player to have taken this path. It's par for the course for most high profile users. Overall, however, the author's point that he made a pathetic "admission" is 100% spot-on. It's a slight improvement over not saying anything at all. (Remember that I said that. It will be important in about three to five minutes depending on how fast you read.)

Had I read what this journalist wrote without knowing their identity, like you just did (or at least pretended to do, for the purpose of the point I'm trying to make), I'd have been content to nod in agreement and move along. Overly convoluted celebrity non-apologies are annoying. Some of what the author says is a little melodramatic, but overall their points are salient and well-put.

But- as soon as you find out who the person behind the article is... some serious problems arise. If you haven't already figured out who they are, I'll tell you. It's a woman. She writes for ESPN's Page 2. We complain about her all the time here at FireJay. Eriz made a label in which he identified her as a "stupid bint." (Eriz, being a bit more vulgar than me, might have meant definition #1 on that list when he made the label. Since I'm trying to keep this mildly classy I'll clarify that I mean the cleanest interpretation listed under definition #3- "a girl not well liked." That's right. Classy.) Yes, it's Jemele Hill.

Why does the fact that Jemele penned this piece create problems? Well, most of the time, any journalist is free to comment on a controversy in any way they see fit. But when a writer takes a particular stance on an issue, they can't just suddenly change their mind or create a double standard whenever it's convenient. Put more simply they can't contradict their initial position when a new story in the same vein of controversy arises. It's bad journalism. Really bad. Like, I'll bitch about you in in my anti-sports media blog if you do it bad. "Well then," you ask, "how is Jemele's position here a contradiction of something she's written before?" Don't be so coy. I think we both know exactly what/who I'm referring to. So in order to fully understand just how offensive this anti-Pettitte article is to anyone with a brain and an interest in sports, let's review a history of her thoughts on Mr. Barry Q. Bonds.

First, let's establish Jemele's fascination with Bonds. Since last April, including this Pettitte article, she's only written eleven articles about baseball. But five of them have been about Barry. So although she primarily covers the NBA and NFL, when she does venture into the world of MLB she often talks about Bonds. Therefore it's extremely unlikely could she could have written an article about baseball (much less baseball and steroids) without considering Barry's place in the situation. I just don't see it happening.

Second, let's look back on what she's had to say about Barry since April. At the conclusion of this review you should (if you don't already... am I just preaching to the choir here?) understand why this Pettitte column is an insult to anyone who reads it.

Jemele's views on Barry didn't start out very positive. Back in May, she wrote an article awkwardly pleading with God to somehow stop Barry from breaking Hank Aaron's record.

...I've got a critical request that requires your immediate attention. God, if you do this, I promise to be kind, generous and compassionate. At least for the next 30 minutes.

God, can you smite Barry Bonds before he breaks Major League Baseball's all-time home run record?

(OK, maybe smiting is a little extreme. Could you conjure up some locusts every time he bats? Give him a few boils? Crack a stone tablet over his head?)

I know the Bible says vengeance is your department. But might you consider speeding things up?

The point of the article wasn't necessarily just to shit all over Bonds, but also and more importantly to hope for the preservation of Aaron's untainted record. She announced her stance, which she has been consistent with ever since, that he knowingly took steroids. It was almost completely critical of Barry and made no apologies for him. But something must have snapped after this column appeared, because she's been singing a different tune ever since. My theory is that she realized she was going about things all wrong in terms of generating attention for her columns and making them "buzzworthy." Who wants to read yet another anti-Barry piece? Boooorrrrring. So although she couldn't reverse her position that Bonds was definitely a user, she could still generate controversy/"buzz" by defending Bonds in other ways. Ever since, she has sung a different. Every column has contained an acknowledgment of his usage, but then moved past it to a bunch of bullshit about how he's still great/important/awesome in a mysterious and "honest" way. It's sickening.

First (on June 25th) she wanted us to know that he belongs in the All-Star game, no matter what anyone thinks of him.

So how would it look if the biggest story in the sport is absent from the league's marquee showcase? A marquee event, by the way, that's held in San Francisco -- the one place in the solar system where Bonds has unwavering support.

Aren't All-Star games supposed to be entertainment for the fans? What would be more entertaining than the scene at AT&T Park when Bonds is at the plate? Even the most ardent Bonds hater would want to see that.

Despite Bonds' transgressions -- both real and imagined -- he is a transcendent figure in sports. He's a star. And last time I checked, that's the defining characteristic in an All-Star Game.

Gross. See what she's doing? It's an intentionally understated position of "Barry is a cheater, sure... but he's still a great, majestic, important figure who transcends baseball! Yay Barry!" But, like I said, more understated. It's disgusting.

Then in November, Hill wrote two articles within a week full of sneakily disguised disgusting pro Barryism. First, she railed against that fashion designer who put the asterisk on Bonds's 756th home run ball.

You can trust Bonds' defiance, arrogance, and certainly, his talent. You can trust that Bonds really doesn't give a flying bat what we think of him or whether we -- the media, fans or baseball -- believe he knowingly or unknowingly took performance-enhancing drugs.

He reiterated his feelings a week or so ago, when he promised to boycott the Hall of Fame if it accepts his historic 756th home run ball with an asterisk.

Too bad everyone else isn't so easy to read.

For the record, I believe Bonds took steroids and knew exactly what he was doing when he did it. I believe he dishonored his talent and his legacy, acting out of jealousy of Mark McGwire when McGwire wasn't a tenth of the player he was -- home runs or not. Still, the federal government's repeated attempts to nail Bonds are a waste of taxpayer money and an abuse of power. And given the numerous reports of various players obtaining human growth hormone, it appears Bonds was merely a fish in a sea of cheaters.

But that isn't the real issue. The issue is history is being manipulated for personal gain, so that an artist can pull off the ultimate tag -- the sullying of a historic home run ball.

Again, gross. Bonds himself sullied that ball more than Mark Ecko ever could have. But don't ask Jemele to make that connection. According to her, Bonds did steroids... but he should still be treated like the super-duper awesome home run king he is! Also, as per the first paragraph I printed up there, he's a defiant hero of a talented superstar whose consistent assholism is actually a positive thing.

Finally, a week later, when the perjury indictment came down, Hill was up in arms again. (I covered this article in its entirety here.)

The decision to indict Bonds on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, a charge I still don't understand, considering the government didn't need Bonds to topple BALCO -- isn't right, fair or just.

The feds have made Bonds into Al Capone, when he's more like Pookie than Nino Brown. They're blaming the crackhead instead of the drug dealer, the prostitute instead of the pimp, the wayward child instead of the enabling parent.

The government has spent some $6 million to catch a baseball player who mostly committed a crime against himself and his legacy. They have sought Bonds for four years, a pursuit that would have been reasonable if he were a violent criminal. For what? Because they didn't like that Bonds didn't cower in fear while testifying during the BALCO trial? Because he's spoiled, rich and arrogant, and they wanted to knock him down a peg or two?

Bonds' most egregious error is that he is not content to play the role of the grateful black man.

Of course, no matter how this situation concludes -- despite the hypocrisy and racial undertones in this case -- the overall moral lesson here is integrity should be used in conjunction with talent.

If it's true Bonds could have avoided this -- had he not been jealous of Sammy Sosa and McGwire, players whose talent was never in the same stratosphere as Bonds' -- then that's the real crime. Had Bonds simply stayed the course and remained the player he was prior to the steroid era, he would have received the credit that made him seek out performance-enhancing drugs in the first place.


He'll have to live with that forever. And that, to me, is justice.

Gag me. More of the same. "Barry screwed up, to be sure... but stop picking on him! He's a victim, not a criminal!" The whole thing makes me sick. It's so subtle and yet so obvious.

And since I'm sure that no one is reading this anymore, I'll make my conclusion as short and sweet as possible. Jemele Hill loves Barry Bonds, but knows she can't get away with stating it outright. So she keeps printing pieces that underhandedly defend him. On its own, this is merely annoying. But it turns into nothing short of unprofessional journalism when you combine it with what she says about Andy Pettitte. Look at this line:

The only thing Pettitte has demonstrated is that he can lie under duress and then craft an apology that would make any public relations expert proud.

Are you kidding me? The only thing Bonds has demonstrated is that he can lie under duress and then continue to lie for years on end. If you're Jemele, how can you possibly write the Pettitte article after spending the whole year defending Barry? It's a subject you can't touch. You painted yourself into a corner. Steroid discussions about other players, particularly those that fess up to using (no matter how weakly they fess up), are off limits! It's shockingly brazen.

Hill herself maintains that Barry used. Therefore he's also a liar. Given that fact, what she says about Pettitte, and how often she writes about Barry, I have to conclude that she considers it morally more acceptable to stick to a lie than to come clean on one. And given that conclusion, I think it's safe to definitively say that Jemele Hill is indeed a stupid "girl not well liked."

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Worst. Post. Ever.

larry b said...

Trust me, it started out much better.

Tonus said...

The worst part was making us read Jemele's writing again.

Anonymous said...

Truest. post. ever.

Chris Hart said...

I like reading Jemele because it's fun to see how long she can make it into the article without being stupid (or binty).

Also, the post was pretty good, don't sell yourself short.

Jon said...

The post was fantastic. It perfectly catpures the essence of Jemele Hill. God she is AWFUL. Probably the least talented and most ignorant member of the huge club full of untalented retards that we call the media.

eriz said...

i actually meant bint as is the "tart" angle. I don't mean to imply she's a whore, but rather an idiot or bimbo.

Oh and ps nice wrap on the past few months from Hill

Larry said...

Usually I love to read when you tear apart a Jemele Hill article but her articles are getting so bad and make me so angry that I can't even read when you rip her up. Is that bad?

Jon said...

Jemele Hill articles ruin my entire fucking day, that's how bad they are. She is AWFUL.