Ethical Friday, part 2: SIE.

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For the sake of better discussion, I’ve split this into two posts.  Issue #1:  To get busy with SBNation’s abominable post yesterday, or not? is found here.

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Issue #2:  Whom do I serve?

I received a curious email last night from the Editor of SportIsEverything.com.  This is the new Irish sports web site who recruited me provide content on American football.

Hi Kanick,

I received a complaint earlier about a swearword in your safest/riskiest draft picks piece. If possible, could you avoid using them in future.

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Wouldn’t be my first choice for a headline or photoshop effort..

That’s not unreasonable I suppose.

Ironic though, given some of the content on the site.

Just in this week, there was a ‘Best of Web’ feature with a picture of Brittany Spears’ bare fat ass.  There was a post comparing the Irish Football coach to Hitler… moustache and everything.  I mean:  _I_ had begun questioning whether I wanted _my_ posts on _their_ site.

Ok, the site has some different goals and they’ve been fine to work with.  Still happy to be affiliated.

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But then the swear word admonishment was followed up with an exhaustive critique of my Safest/Riskiest Draft Picks post by a peer writer.  (His excerpting of my content is in grey):

Good morning Kanick

I have to say I am appalled by your post about ‘safest/riskiest draft positions’. It is sloppily written, full of inaccuracies, pointless sexual references and even swearing, which will only serve to get the entire site blocked by many firewalls. ___Editor___ has told me he is not 100% hot on NFL facts and figures so he has accepted your article on a trust basis. Your article is a disgrace and this is why;

1) I *did* attempt to rule-out injuries here.. e.g., Jerome McDougle, Bo Jackson, Sean Taylor 
Sean Taylor played in 55 of 57 possible career games and was then killed during the 2007 season after someone broke into his house and shot him. He was not injury prone – HE WAS KILLED.

2) Even before AWS offered Elastic Map Reduce in the cloud
What is this nonsense?

3)  I’ll call Tim Biakabutuka (8th, 1996) the worst pick.. seemed dicey even at the time.
Biakabutuka is by no means the worst running back drafted in the first round. Look at people like Curtis Enis and Robert Edwards both first round picks in 1998. Biakubatuka ran for over 2500 yards, had 77 catches and even was second in the whole NFL one yer in yards per carry 5.20).

4) As for homeruns… 1995 was a total bag of shit for Browns fans, wasn’t it?
Is the extent of your writing skills the ability to describe something as a ‘bag of shit’. This is both lazy and pathetic (and not funny). it is also insulting and could result in the site being blocked by firewalls. Yes the Browns selections that year were awful but Zeier actually lasted 6 seasons in the NFL and Mike Frederick lasted 5 seasons.

5) 1995 was the Kyle Brady draft which we’ve come to find out included a Belichick erection for Warren Sapp (12th) that went unsatisfied
Any need to equate Belichick’s desire to draft Warren Sapp as an erection? Cheap sexual innuendo and again not funny.

6) 2000 with back-to-back homeruns, Shaun Ellis (12th) and John Abraham (13th).  But I don’t know how to grade Becht and Pennington who the Jets also took in that first round class. PLUS QB has by far the most TOP THREE washouts — JaMarcus, Couch, Leaf, Shuler, Akili, Harrington, VY.  I don’t mean ‘busts.’  I mean out-of-the-league in five years WASHOUT.
Pennington played in 11 NFL seasons and ended his career with the 13th ranked career passer rating in NFL history. No Super Bowl wins but pretty easy to note that he did a good job when he was fit.

Biakabutuka discord!

7) but I think Rae Carruth (27th) provides a cautionary tale on the importance of the interview/background-checking process.
Carruth was found guilty of conspiring to murder a woman FOUR YEARS after he was drafted. Are you that stupid to think that any human being in an interview will say something like ‘Yes I want to do my best for the team and then in four years murder someone’??? You name me a way of predicting this?

8) Eugene Chung (13th, 1992) was a disappointment going back to those old Pats teams.
Disappointing yes – but he was the first Asian American to be drafted in the first round – a huge achievement.

9) RB:  riskiest by far.  93 1sts; 18 HRs, 31 washouts.
Avert your eyes Browns fans.  For every Barry Sanders (3rd, 1989) there’s an Alonzo Highsmith (3rd, 1987).  I’ll call Tim Biakabutuka (8th, 1996) the worst pick.. seemed dicey even at the time. As for homeruns, well, you know I won’t pick Emmitt Smith.  Steven Jackson (24th, 2004) is the big hitter in the group.

This whole section is woefully inadequate. Why do I know you won’t pick Emmitt Smith? How many 1st round running backs are you completely ignoring?

10) The only name in the ‘less than five years’ category that I am familiar with is Korey Stringer and he’s not subject to a wash-out tag.
The second inappropriate reference to a former NFL player who died – this time from dehydration.

Above all an awful article, poorly composed.

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You guys!!  Why didn’t you tell me my article was crap!!  I thought we were friends!

This was a useful email to receive because it reminds me why I’m writing here.

I’m writing here to express my opinions on issues of interest to me.
The filters I apply are my own.
The goal is to be interesting.

The filtering component is, in my opinion, of foremost importance.  If you the reader want to read well-written game write-ups, you’re not coming here, nor should you.  You’re here because, I hope, you find interesting topics accompanied by thought-provoking viewpoints that are uncommon.  I filter topics strenuously for unique takes; I filter not my writing style because we’re just two people talking here.

I repeat:  the goal is to be interesting.

This, I learned from Frowns.  If you’re a fan of his site, you’re aware that Pete and I often disagree.  But I never find him uninteresting.  The internet is full of blogs writing the same things about the same topics.  This place will never be that.

As for my relationship with SIE, no doors have been closed.  But, in the vein of interesting reading, here is my reply to the peer who was so aggrieved by Wednesday’s post:

i do appreciate your offering of this critique directly.  what a remarkable takeaway.

responding point by point:

1. the sean taylor reference is simply that players whose careers were cut short prior to five years are not to be considered wash-outs.  mcdougle was shot, jackson had the hip, and of course i know what happened to sean taylor, otherwise i would not have noted him.  i find your critique deliberately obtuse in overlooking this intent.

2.  if you don’t understand how amazon cloud computing empowers the analytics trend now gaining traction in all sports, and have not a curiosity about it, that is your problem not mine.

3.  if we’re going to quibble over every judgement call contained in my assessment of every draft pick dating back to 1985 we will be here for some time.  i stipulated that defining home runs was subjective; wash-outs based on empirical data.  i think have been more than reasonable in explaining my process in attempting to put a structured analysis forward on a dataset that does not lend itself to such.

Yep. This happened.

4.  i write primarily for cleveland and cleveland browns fans.  1995 is the year art modell moved the browns to baltimore.  it was, in fact, figuratively, a bag of shit.

5.  the erection reference was warren sapp’s not mine.  i shall return to your tender sensitivities later.

6.  again we’re quibbling, but it seems you’re deliberately distorting my commentary.  i said, ‘two home runs, a bust, and pennington.’  thus i avoid calling pennington either a home run, bust, or wash-out.  how my wording eluded you is again, your problem, not mine.

7.  rae carruth was out of the league in two years after being drafted 27th overall.  thus, he was a wash-out.  if you don’t think an interview is instructive in determining some read on a person’s character, again, i can’t help you.

8.  sheerest idiocy.

9.  you strain my patience here, __name___.  there is a link to a lengthy post i did earlier outlining how emmitt smith was the beneficiary of the greatest o-line ever and how he re-paid that grace with classless hoarding of TD footballs to be sold at his souvenir shop.  click the FUCKING link, __name___.

10. jackass:  i am an ohio state fan and very well aware of what happened to korey stringer.  it’s clear –to most everyone but you– that by mentioning stringer in this context i compliment his play and acknowledge, even MEMORIALIZE, his death.

i look forward to your commentaries on brittany spears’ ass and adolph-hitler-cum-irish-football-coach.

kind regards,

kanick

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Just to put a bow on this, I’m happy to continue submitting content to our friends at SIE.  At the same time, we’re a one-man shop here.  As I mentioned to Tom below typos and mistakes (and retractions when needed) are part of the package.  No malice coming from this side.

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  • People are so infantile about language. It’s all subjective – it’s always been – and to apply these meaningless prescriptive “rules” to a blog (where the whole idea is self-expression and freedom) is completely backwards.

    Fuck these people whoever they are. (And Time Warner Inc. I’m guessing they are not.)

    And Fuck whoever offered that critique. What kind of person needs that kind of validation and/or has that much time on their hands anyway? I would love to see one thing that person has ever created.

    • the guy’s a good writer, i give him that. very good.

      thing is, i’m not out to raise any lenny bruce/ george carlin freedom of speech issues. frankly, i think pat riley’s STFU press release merits a robust fine from stern.

      and i know that i take liberties (like the all-lowercase affectation). my thinking on that is: as long as you know the grammatical rule you’re breaking, and doing so from some effect, it’s acceptable to be a little loose.

      i think the disconnect might be that there are some sites that try to be mini newspapers and other sites (like yours, frowns, and here) that are just guys with something to say and wanting to say it.

      i’ve probably buried the point of this post but it is this: the critique forced me to re-visit why i’m writing here and in so doing, i’m most fine with posts like ‘safe/risky draft picks.’

  • Kosar Outranks Clapton

    Wow. Talk about a guy who absolutely does not get it. You don’t name the attacker, but he shouldn’t be hard to identify – just look for the articles on that site saying this newfangled web blogging stuff will never last and people will return to their newspapers before you know it, where real writing takes place…

  • jpftribe

    Having lived in London for three years, my experience is that the Queen’s English and American English are two very different languages. The English are very eloquent, precise and articulate when both writing and speaking. To Americans it can be mistaken for being polite or formal. Americans English is far less subtle, to the point and full of slang. The English often mistake this for being brash or uneducated. Both are stereotypes, and I have been mistaken both ways.

    Trust me, there is plenty of slang and dialects over the pond. I can tell a London accent from a northern, welsh, Scottish, Irish and southern accent. Same with the slang. Even in the North, there are differences between Liverpool, Manchester, Yorkshire and Cheshire.

    My point is, a lot can be lost in the translation. However, whoever wrote your critique really needs to find something usefull to do with their time.

    Last point, I lived in Charlotte for 15 years during the entire Panthers era. Tim B definitely belongs in the injured club. After a rookie camp holdout, he blew out his knee in his rookie season and was never the same back he was in college. His career ended on a tragic foot injury that came close to amputation.

    • THAT’S WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT. i did not know about biakabutka’s injury and that was my point in bringing up my process, in sharing the spreadsheet link, in making it editable: if someone can update my data and make this more accurate, i’m all for it.

      gracias.

      • jpftribe

        BTW, I think your original premise on RB’s is spot on. I wrote a piece for bleacher report (yes I admit it) where I researched every draft pick by Heckert and/or Holmgren going back 11 years. Only Holmgren drafted an RB in the first round, Alexander in Seattle. Richardson was the first RB drafted by Heckert in Round 1.

        Interesting they traded up to get him.

  • yeah.. perplexing. typos and mistakes (and retractions when needed) are part of the package. we shall see how this plays out. no malice coming from this side.

  • Garydave Logancollins

    You are interesting. They are jerks.