Jeff Gravley

Covering sports has changed

Posted November 10, 2011

Back in the 1970's it was common knowledge among the media who covered major league baseball that players were popping "greenies" and smoking dope. It wasn't a part of the coverage of sports.

In the early 80's, NFL football players were gaining weight at freakish rates. Steroids were suspected but ignored. But as we entered the 21st century, baseball and steroids became lead stories and since then the investigation of the ugly side of sports has taken off. 

Cheating, drugs, rape, murder and now sexual abuse of young boys have become a small part of the fabric of athletics. It leads to big headlines and ad nauseam coverage.  We can't ignore the issues. That was the problem at Penn State. But so much of sports coverage now is what happens away from the arena and it has taken part the fun out of my job. 

What I love about my job is searching for the story lines that games create and getting to know the people who play and coach them. That's what will get me through the latest horror story at Penn State. Let me reiterate. We can't ignore the ugly issues that creep up in sports but I can rely on the fact that somewhere on some channel a game will be played and I can tune in for a couple of hours of good 'ole sports.  




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  • bh4 Nov 16, 2011

    View quoted thread

    Actually I was born and raised here - and you are the exception lately if you are an NCSU guy and not anti-UNC. My statement about folks associated with NCSU was referring to recent events...TOB takes the low road with Withers and is praised for it, even though it showed very little maturity and not much class. Everything Withers said was criticized, even though he had facts to back up his statement. Then when Thorp allegedly apologized, it was framed as the chancellor reprimanding Withers and cutting his legs out from under him. Had it been the other way around it would have been called a classy move by the NCSU chancellor to smooth it over with the rival chancellor.

    Didn't mean to imply this was an issue going back to the 80's or whatever because it isn't. But for the past 2 years it has been very popular around here to urinate on anything about UNC and praise TOB for being so funny.

    Either way, point remains that journalism is no longer about reporting objectively, it's about ticking off as many people as you can to get them to continue to tweet or call or whatever about the topic. Opinions sell better than reporting, and the more extreme and ridiculous the better.

  • jrt0856 Nov 13, 2011

    I do believe sports reporting has become more of gotcha journalism, which relects the general trend in journalism. I heard the conversation between you Joe and Adam, it was disturbing. (TOB implying that the UNC was paying its players) I agree with Adam, I visit this web site, but I get my local sports news from other stations.

  • lmartin152 Nov 13, 2011

    I agree with everything said here, except for (surprise, surprise) the idea that there's any sane person around who thinks "anybody associated with NCSU can do no wrong".

    Jeezusaythchkryst, gimmeabreak bh4.

    How damn long have you been in this area? I'm an NC State graduate and fan, but I'm not "anti-UNC", I just happen to not pull for their sports teams to win. Actually, UNC fans should be happy about that; I've never pulled for UNC in basketball - ever - and look how good they're doing. {Sarcasm :) }

    Gavin Grant, if he's convicted of the charges against him, should be run out - of America. Here I sit, looking like a dope, after supporting him during the deportation situation several years back, while he was still at State. Now, breaking-and-entering and armed robbery? If he's convicted, out he goes. Bye-bye. Don't come back.

    Most every person in this area that does something wrong has at least a 50/50 chance of being connected in some way to NCSU, UNC, or another local school. It doesn't reflect on the school, though. Just the person.

  • StunGunn Nov 11, 2011

    It is a sad turn of events that if you cover sports, you also have to cover the crimes associated with the players participating in sports. Between NCAA violations and the recent alleged sex crimes that took place at Penn State, sports journalists have been forced to spend more time reporting off the field "activities". It's a shame, but crime is everywhere, just watch the local news.

    As for WRAL, I think they do an excellent job covering both news and sports; I prefer WRAL to any other local news station and 99.9 The Fan over other sports stations. I agree that David Glenn is a class act, and I enjoy listening to his show.

    When our schools have to hire police and rely on metal detectors to deter kids from bringing guns and knives into school, is it any surprise that crime has spread to sports at both the college and pro level?

  • Ken D. Nov 11, 2011

    View quoted thread

    The line between reporting and blogging has gotten awfully fuzzy, thanks to the ubiquitousness of the internet. Any fool can give his opinion, and all of them do.

  • bh4 Nov 10, 2011

    The day that we got 99.9 the fan intertwined with WRAL, sports media in this area took a significant downturn. It has gone from objective and fun discussions about sports to basically a TMZ station for sports gossip and slander.

    If every sports journalist was like David Glenn at the ACC Sports Journal, that field would be a better place. It is just reporting, not any opinions on moral standards or whatever.

    WRAL has also really shot itself in the foot, with its undaunting pursuit of UNC's football program. That alone has caused the sports reporting scene around here and made it one in which all reporters are assumed to be biased and anybody associated with NCSU can do no wrong while every single UNC alum to commit a crime gets a front page story.

    WRAL and journalism as a whole needs to get away from the editorial opinion-spitting approach it has taken on the past decade. Just report the facts, we don't need the opinion of a writer that has never coached or played a game in his life.

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