Michael Wilbon is currently in the midst of a mud-slinging beef with another DC-area writer Dan Steinberg. Read all about it (with some apparent biases) here.
I can sum this whole thing up in on sentence. Wilbon said D.C. is a “terrible” sports town, while Steinberg disagrees.
Magary (at Deadspin) finds Wilbon to generally act like a smug prick to the common man. I don’t personally know either Steinberg or Wilbon. I’ve said maybe a dozen words to Wilbon at a conference or other sporting event. With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is an asshole.
The thing is, Wilbon is likely right — D.C. really does kind of suck as a sports town. Many inhabitant of the District aren’t from there. In the long-run most could give a hoot about the Nationals, for example. But Wilbon did say one outright dumb thing during this whole thing. Wilbon, whose ritzy ass is said to be paid in the area of $8M by ESPN, stated that L.A. is a better sports town than D.C. What an awful example to use. L.A.? Really? I find those two cities to be two sides of the same coin. They both suck when it comes to sports fandome.
Yes, L.A. and D.C. are quite different in many ways. However, you can see in the picture above why L.A. and D.C. each have their flaws. That’s Wilbon yucking it up with the Pres. That’s what is most important about going to any event (including sports) in Los Angeles and the District. You go to these events to be seen at a game, not to see a game.
Of course, no one really gives two shits about what is happening on the field of play. Both L.A. and D.C. are only one step above Miami when it comes to fanhood. Exhibit A.
These are cities that do “white out” nights, bobblehead give-a-ways, etc. You don’t often see that stuff in Chicago, New York, and Boston. That fluff isn’t needed to get people through the turnstiles in those cities.
Beyond his poor choice of a comparison point, Wilbon has other shortcomings here. Maybe most importantly, it’s damn lame for Wilbon to tweet/facebook angry jabs at Steinberg. As I said; Wilbon is a HCE (highly compensated employee) at ESPN. To find it necessary to go after a blogger (albeit a great one), is a bit much.
I’m not sure where Steinberg’s journalism degree is from. That’s largely because (shockingly) when you search on Google there are dozens and dozens of Dan Steinberg lawyers and doctors flooding the results.
On the other hand, Wilbon and his Northwestern j-school degree certainly have an air of arrogance about them. The thing is, if Wilbon truly believes he is “above” someone like Steinberg, he shouldn’t feel the need to trade shots. But as Wilbon put it…
So congratulations on that, Michael.
At first it was difficult for me to understand why Kobe Bryant or Jay-Z doesn’t embrace social media the way other ballers and rappers do. But it’s actually simple. They don’t need it. If they were concerned with @replies and wall posts, they would find a whole lot of hate awaiting them. That’s what happens when you are at the top of a profession. Right or wrong, that’s where Wilbon is. He’s at the pinnacle and is one of the faces of ESPN. Instead of using that position to shit on a newspaper writer, just watch the throne, Wilbon. Just watch the throne.