I’m not sure when I first started reading blogs posted by Will Leitch at Deadspin, but it had to be around 2006 when the only vaguely edgy sports writing was being done at ESPN’s Page 2, if I remember correctly. I was single, living in a one-bedroom apartment with no air conditioning, a landlord that was a pain in the ass and I was working nights and weekends at a newspaper. It wasn’t exactly a great time for my social or professional life. All I really had socially was sports and fantasy sports with friends. SportsCenter and George Michael Sports Machine were pretty much my only options to be an informed fan.
Then Leitch and Deadspin come along and he’s showing guys like me that there’s a bunch of stuff going on in sports that we’d never seen before. And he’s presenting it in a way we’d never seen. Guys in their 20s were starting to depend on the Internet instead of a daily newspaper and Deadspin was at the right place at the right time to suck in a massive audience of guys like me who wanted sports presented in a different way than what our fathers experienced. I was probably visiting the site 5-6 times a day. I was never into RSS feeds, so I would just visit, see what was new and do it again a couple hours later.
Digital cameras arrived and athletes were getting drunk on camera. We were seeing police reports, mugshots. There were new terms like ‘Road Beef.’ It was absolute craziness. We were seeing things we’d never seen in our lives play out on a computer and it felt like every single day was exciting. Will had next to zero competition and what seemed like an endless stream of tips sent in to fuel the constant craziness.
Around that same time I was teaching myself how work with HTML and use a content management system called WordPress. Busted Coverage was born in December 2007 after the Big Ten threatened to sue my broke ass into oblivion over the name of my first website venture called Big Ten Tailgate. Enter BC. I loved the energy of the blogging world. I loved the freedom to write things a newspaper would never let me write. Deadspin was leading the way and was a site us dreamers could use as a benchmark.
I’ve lost track of specific Deadspin posts that stand out from 2007-08, but the site was in great hands with Leitch controlling the operation. Then on June 5, 2008 he announced his decision to leave the site to pursue other job offers. Enter A.J. Daulerio in the lead role. Pretty sure we all know how that would end with Hulk Hogan’s law team dropping a leg across Daulerio and Gawker Media’s throat.
Fast-forward to where things are this week at Deadspin where the editorial team quit after Barry Petchesky was fired for not sticking to sports, according to management. In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last how many ever years it’s been since Daulerio sat on the witness stand during the Hogan case and made an absolute ass out of himself and all but ended his Internet career, Deadspin has been what I consider to be a sports site that really cares more about politics than it does sports. Deadspin as a whole cared more about out-woke-ing the woke crowd in an era where there’s a scoreboard in people’s heads about which site/blogger/writer/Twitter person is the woke-iest woke out there.
The fun at Deadspin has been gone for a long time. It had become a confirmation site where people that needed political confirmation got their daily dose. Got that hit, then went out on the Twitter mean streets to argue with Trump soldiers. Those that love that stuff ate it up. I considered my recent Deadspin visits to be a test to see how long before I could be miserable and feel talked down to.
Of course Deadspin bloggers/fans would look at me as the anti-Christ smut-loving white guy they despise. They would probably also assume – wrongly – that I’m some Trump-loving bigot who hates the LGBT community, hates the environment, hates women, hates vegans, loves sex, hates PBS (I love Frontline, Austin City Limits, American Experience and the older I get, the move I love Nova) and that I love Russia. To a Deadspin fan I’m in the biggest scumbags on the Internet category.
Meanwhile, I don’t have Fox News syndrome, I didn’t vote for Trump – I think the guy is a thieving crook, I never protested over guys banging guys, I don’t go to church, etc., etc. I know it’s hard to believe, but a middle ground does exist and I like to think the middle ground I play in is one where I want to go through life not angry all the time. I want to have fun, drink some beers, laugh at Dave Chappelle jokes and maybe have sex now and then.
At the end of the day, all the fun had been sucked out of Deadspin. I truly believe the staff didn’t enjoy sports because of everything that sports stands for which doesn’t jive with every single pet cause out there. I think Deadspin was just a place for the staff to work, be angry and then transform that anger into words that were going to save the world.
As for the private equity company that bought Deadspin and the other sites from Univision, they called the staff’s bluff over ‘stick to sports’ and the staff ultimately told them to suck their Whole Foods cucumber seltzer water-drinking dicks and walked away. That’s business. I’m not sure there’s much to dissect here. It was mutual destruction and maybe secretly both sides wanted that.
Deadspin’s staff gets that nuclear bomb destruction that they think makes them look like heroes to the blue checkmark society and the private equity company has just figured out a way for a miserable staff to hit the road. Private equity companies destroy businesses all the time. This isn’t new. They’ll still be loaded at the end of the day.
And that’s that, Deadspin as you knew it is finished.
Update: the company tried to bring in a new blogger and he quit after one post.
Deleting this tweet. Apology tweet to come.
— Alan Goldsher (@AlanGoldsher) November 1, 2019