SPORTS JOURNALISM CRISIS: Avalanche Writer Lifts Stanley Cup with Cigar in Mouth

via Mike Chambers on Twitter

So this guy named Mike Chambers writes about the Avalanche at The Denver Post.

He’s the topic of a big TWITTER CONTROVERSY due to this:

Okay so in the left picture, Chambers is lifting Lord Stanley’s Cup while chomping on a cigar. In the right photo, that’s Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog. My immediate thought was, “this is pretty corny, but if Landeskog is cool with it, then no problem.

The argument here features traditional journalists on one side, who maintain that you’re supposed to be impartial. No cheering in the press box, don’t be a fan of the team, and certainly don’t celebrate as if you fucking did something on the ice. That’s where my issue is, the last part. It’s like Howard Eskin wearing a Super Bowl ring. Man you’re the radio sideline reporter! Take that thing off, you goofball.

On the other side, it looks like we have younger fans and non-journos who think this is relatively harmless. They don’t romanticize the all-important discipline of sports writing and don’t see the big deal about some guy having a little bit of fun, especially since Landeskog is in the one photo.

My take is somewhere in the middle. I wouldn’t go anywhere near something like this because who the fuck am I? I’m just some writer. I didn’t score a goal, block a shot, or do anything that had anything to do with winning a Cup. I’d be super happy for the players and maybe even show a bit of emotion (God forbid), but don’t feel like I deserve to be anywhere close to the Stanley Cup because I know my place as a non-essential cog in the sports machine.

But if the Sixers won the Larry O’Brien Trophy and Joel Embiid handed it to Keith Pompey and said “Keith get over here man,” what would Keith do? Would he #LiftThatTrophyFlow? And would anyone give a shit? He’s at the road games, he’s on a first-name basis with the players, and if Embiid wants him to be part of the celebration, does he turn Jo down? I dunno, but I don’t think it would be a big deal. If Brandon Graham handed the Lombardi Trophy to D Gunn, would Eagles fans throw a shit fit? Probably not, because they believe that somebody like him can be close with the team and players and still deliver impartial reporting at the same time. Ray Didinger was fighting back tears on the desk and nobody cared about that, because it was honest and genuine. Plus, if you cover a team you grew up watching, you were a fan long before you were a scribe, and people in this region get that.

I think there’s a lot of context that needs to be taken into account when we talk about these kinds of things. Back in the day, you weren’t supposed to cheer for the team, wear their gear, or cross that invisible line. Sports writing was seen as this impregnable bastion of uber-importance, as if we’re reporting from Baghdad while bombs are dropping. We are not doing that. We are giving you slash lines and telling the story of Johnny Four-Fingers, who threw a mean slider at Connie Mack Stadium 50 years ago. This ain’t the Camp David Accords. These days, you have credentialed bloggers and hobbyists doing this who don’t have journalism degrees or journalism backgrounds, and you know what? – Fans don’t seem to give a shit one way or another. If your #content is good, it’s good. And if you wanna take the free stuff they give you, so be it. Most of us just collect it and use it for fan giveaways. But if we’re being totally honest here, that arbitrary line is more blurry than it’s ever been. I don’t think Mike Sielski would lift the Stanley Cup if the Flyers ever won it (hilarious to even think about), but if Coots called over Sam Carchidi and said “yo Sam get in here man!” would anybody really truly object?

Based on the replies to Chambers’ tweet, I’m thinking not.