I cannot help but be absolutely livid when I write this, even though it's been a couple days and I had been attempting to give myself time to cool down. I'm an emotional guy, and one thing I always find myself defending is journalism and its merits on every level, the fact that each piece has its target audience. "How is that news?" "That article sucks." "Oh my God, what you have just written is an affront to journalism and the English language, why would you do that?"
These are opinions, something that cannot be wrong, opinions on generally defensible articles and pieces of print that only suck because the point within is one contrary to the belief of the one who conveyed the original opinion. That's totally understandable; if you disagree with something I write, I will defend it as something that doesn't "suck," but something that you simply do not identify with, agree with, or perhaps not even understand. 99% of the time, these are opinions that can be viewed from different perspectives and different conclusions can be reached. But there's that one percent, that one percent that cannot be interpreted any other way. I have a point and I'm getting to it. Just make the jump and we'll get through it together.
John Steigerwald recently published an article that I think falls into that one percent. He wrote a piece on Bryan Stow, the man who was beaten within an inch of his life and now sits in a medically induced coma in Los Angeles. Stow was ambushed outside of the opening day game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He's a Giants fan and was beaten by Dodgers fans. It's safe to say that, despite the rivalry, it's a very small percentage of Dodgers fans that would do a thing like that, but that's not the point of this particular commentary.
In Steigerwald's piece, he talks about wearing team colors at away games and its dangers, and it's something that has an inkling of truth, it really does. He's not far from grasping an actual point in that regard, but that's not the point of his article. The point of his article is to literally say that Stow has only himself to blame for what happened. Maybe if Stow isn't wearing Giants gear, he doesn't get jumped, but that is not at all the point. It seems like a decent article, until you get to the point where he mentions that he'd like to ask Stow right after he wakes up what was he thinking.
Steigerwald actually insinuates that Stow is chiefly to blame for this, that he should be reprimanded upon recovery for doing something so apparently foolish. He implies that once you reach a certain age, you can't wear jerseys anymore, and almost paints the picture that these Dodgers fans were within their right to "defend their turf."
I honestly can't really say much else. What I have to say about the utter stupidity of the piece would be far beyond what I'm allowed to print here, though I imagine at such an affront to journalism and compassion, they'd let me say whatever I want, but I won't push it. Suffice to say that his point falls within that 1% I can't imagine being defensible, and his delivery affirms it. It's not that he's got such an awful concept regarding the team colors, it's that he presents it in such a way as to basically say "Hey Mr. Stow ... don't you feel stupid now? Walking around in Los Angeles totally susceptible to punches and kicks? You're dumb, but I'm glad this happened so I could write this piece."
There's no rule that says you have to feel compassion for somebody, but there's something seriously wrong with feeling such a sense of entitlement that you can completely write-off a tragedy like this as though Stow walked in there and thew the first punch. Or at least I feel like there is, maybe I'm going crazy, maybe I'm overreacting, but I feel like this cheapens my view of journalism, makes me lose a little bit of faith in it, as if the attack itself hadn't lessened my faith in sports and humanity enough.
If you have a problem with this article, you can email their sports editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. I suggest you do so, and tell them why. Write a good 800 words like this post. Link them here. Link them to the post on Niners Nation, I don't care how you illustrate your point, but let them know. Edit: You can also find the piece here, and use the contact form on the side to let the Indianapolis Gazette know how you feel on the matter.