Few things:

  1. Rovell is a fucking idiot.
  2. Unpaid internships are fine, especially if you’re getting college credit for it. All of college is a learning experience – by which I mean you learn that a 10 becomes an 8, an 8 becomes a 6, and a 6 becomes an oh fuck what did I do? in the morning after the beer goggles wear off – when, generally speaking, many of your expenses are either paid for by your parents or rolled into student loans that you’ll be paying off for the next 60 years. But after that people need to pay living expenses, and expecting them to do so without even a basic income makes you a greedy asshole and is also foolish. You can’t count on someone you’re not paying– it’s that simple. I’ve had people come to me and ask to contribute, for free. Early on I accepted and had a handful of people write stuff – some good, some bad – but it is rare to find someone who is going to work hard and be reliable if you’re not paying them (understandably so!). I still get people offering to help in this regard or that just because they like the site, but it’s pointless to accept. Sure, they might do something good once or twice, but you can’t expect them to make themselves available at your whim and, worse, you feel bad asking or demanding something from someone whom you’re not paying. So I’d argue that his advice is not only bad for workers, but also businesses in most cases. Never mind that it violates labor laws.
  3. Rovell is a human mouthpiece for big brands, teams and slimy power brokers. He’s a business reporter in much the same way jumping on a blow up doll counts as “having sex.” Sure, it may resemble the general action, but just as Rovell is being used by business for their own gain, the sex doll doesn’t do anything on its own and is essentially easily replaceable rubbish. At best, Rovell has a battery and some basic open-and-shut logic to simulate the real thing. I presume the CEOs who filled him with this work-for-free nonsense got their jollies and have already let the air out of Mr. D until he’s needed again.
  4. If you send a random box to a business executive at a public facing company such as a sports team newspaper or network, they’re not going to open it, they’re going to call the fucking cops, who will in turn call the bomb squad because some weirdo just sent a random ass box. What would be in this box anyway? A thumb drive containing a zip file? WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST EMAIL IT? For real, when I receive a box, any box, even if it’s one I’m expecting, I usually do a cursory check for chemical agents by sniffing it real hard (I know…) and listen closely to see if it’s ticking. If both come up negative, then AND ONLY THEN do I proceed to peer inside the top before yanking back the flaps. Anyone can buy Amazon Prime tape, even the lunatic with a grudge and a few honors chem classes. Send me your wish box as a resume and prepare to lawyer up, asshole.
  5. Part of the reason – one of many, to be sure – that media largely sucks nowadays is because the opportunities to make good money are few and far between, and wages have been driven down by an uncertain business environment and literal morons – like Rovell – willing to enter the job market at laughable wages. That also applies to “sports jobs,” which are largely awful. For every deranged Howie Roseman, there’s 1,000 dudes doing community outreach passing out swag with a bullhorn at an hourly wage after working for three years as an intern doing the exact same thing. The desire to “work in sports” often overshadows basic logic. Even if working for free does provide a foot in the door, Rovell’s motivations to Tweet this #usefuladvice so obviously come from the perspective of employers rather than employees that it’s impossible to take him seriously. And here’s a good retort to a newspaper, sports team or network that asks you to work for free– a local Philly sports blogger pays $75 for a decently written one-off blog post. That’s the going rate for, say, two hours worth of writing. Wave that in the face of the next prick who offers you an unpaid opportunity.