Sunday, November 21, 2010

For Wilbon, it was time to go

I posted this as a comment on Dan Steinberg's D.C. Sports Bog, and a few other commenters seemed to like it, so I figured I'd post it here as my return to blogging about D.C. sports media. And since it originated as a comment on another blog, it's much shorter than my usual blog post. It's a reaction to Michael Wilbon's announcement that he's leaving the Washington Post to go full-time to ESPN after 32 years at the newspaper.

Michael Wilbon was once a very good columnist who I looked forward to reading after every Redskins game and other major sporting events, and 10 years ago he was probably the most important opinionmaker in D.C. sports. But anyone who tells you Wilbon's departure is a big loss for the Post either doesn't read the Post sports section regularly or doesn't care about D.C. sports.

In recent years since his PTI and ESPN fame--and especially since he stopped being a regular Monday morning Redskins columnist a few years ago--Wilbon has become almost completely detached from D.C. sports. He's written more columns about the Miami Heat in the last two months than he's written on the Caps and Nats combined the last two years. And every column he writes that isn't about the NBA is basically mailed in.

Even more troubling, in his columns and especially his chats, he's seemed to show a disrespect to D.C. sports fans, from his gratuitous, often lacking in fact, shots at Ovechkin to his attacks on Redskins fans for basically caring too much about the Redskins.

And the worst part is he doesn't even seem to read his own paper--or even his own columns. When he wrote earlier this year that Ovechkin "cannot" win a championship, he got asked about it in his chat and claimed he'd never written such a thing (this despite the fact that Steinberg had done a whole post on it). The most recent example of how out of touch he is was just this week, when someone asked in his chat about Colin Cowherd's comments regarding John Wall and his response was: "I hope you are accurately quoting Colin, and fairly summarizing his positions." This, of course, after Steinberg had written extensively about Cowherd's comments on this site, and a number of other writers had also slammed them in the sports world.

If a D.C. sports columnist can't even bother to read his own newspaper for news about the local sports teams he's supposed to be writing about, it's time for him to go work for ESPN full time.

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