Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Yostupide Sam

Just when I stopped seeing red over the Tyrus incident, I woke up and read this Sam Smith column.

Listen, I can put up with the stupid trade ideas, the "ironic" self-regard over said stupid trade ideas, and the pathetic excuse for prose that feebly attempts to pass off a non-sequitur as a coherent segue (For example, see this trainwreck from his previous column:

If the chance is there to get a 7-foot All-Star and 20-point scorer who turns 27 next season, why not take a shot?

And, really, this injury probably was long overdue for the Bulls. (Emphasis mine)

And, really? How does a professional beat writer get away with writing "And, really"? If their editors are this somnanbulant, the Trib deserves to fold.)

But today, Sam really outdid himself, offending morality, prose, logic, good taste and intelligence all in one column, and tied the sorry wreck up in a smug little bow of self-satisfaction. How do thee embarass yourself, Sam? Let us count the ways.

1) "The Bulls rookie, likely spending time these days in the Latrell Sprewell school of public relations..."--Equating a kid who spoke his mind with a player who physically assaulted his coach. Ad hominem of the rankest order.

2) "You could just see NBA Commissioner David Stern with his head in his hands, another of his kids saying the darnedest things"--Paternalistic and a poor metaphor, to boot. Players are not Stern's "kids" and the insinuation is that he is some put-upon father. Give me a break.

3) "After all, here was a player appearing to confirm just what many believe, that the NBA is composed of a wandering band of ungrateful thugs who are selfish, spoiled brats just in it for the riches they can gain."--More ad hominem. There was nothing "thuggish" about Ty's remarks in any way, shape, or form. The insinuation, if not racist, certainly flirts with it.

4) "Not jerks like, yes, Thomas."--Ad hominem, yet again. At this point, now six paragraphs in, Smith has not even attempted to make an argument about what is actually wrong with what Thomas said.

5) "It's one of those unwritten rules, like ignoring Gary Hart's philandering in the 1984 presidential race. Reporters knew about it, but that was his private life. If he wants to live like that, fine, even when he is running for the nation's highest office. It's especially so in sports. Publish or perish! Nonsense. Those kinds of stories are mostly unheard of. Everyone deserves their privacy and if it doesn't interfere with your job or you don't make a spectacle of yourself, well, it's just good party talk. But once Hart challenged everyone to prove it, well, sorry, your cover is blown. Make a public fool of yourself, then the Bull has no clothes. Same with Thomas. He has been one of the most difficult rookies to come along in the NBA in years—angry, defiant, condescending, arrogant and having little time or interest for anyone below his self-perceived stately place in life."---This is just a weird, kind of creepy, utter and complete non-sequitur. What Gary Hart's 20-year old sex scandal is doing here, I have no idea. If Sam was actually going to provide us with concrete incidents of Thomas being "angry, defiant, condescending, [and] arrogant," then perhaps, PERHAPS, I could see a tenuous connection. But no, there are no examples. It's just more ad hominem.

6) "Thomas, who has occasional flashes of candor, generally stares down with disdain, mumbles some cliché and walks away. His response about the dunk contest to Tribune beat reporter K.C. Johnson was typical. He can't be bothered with mere mortals. Not that this is new. As far back as the NBA draft, league officials said Thomas was abrupt and uninterested when some tried to make conversation with him. There always seemed to be some bizarre sense of entitlement with him, that anything asked of him is a burden, that the media and team and league officials are some nuisance."--Now, four paragraphs from the end, is where we get our first concrete explanation of why Ty Thomas is supposedly such a "jerk." He's quiet, reserved, doesn't like to engage in small talk and generally considers the media a nuisance.

Gosh, Sam. After reading a column this insightful, why on earth would he ever have such a thought?

The truth is, I don't know if Ty Thomas is a "jerk." He might be. Hey, some people are. But based on the gruel thin evidence and bevy of vicious ad hominem attacks in this column, ignoring someone like Sam Smith doesn't seem "arrogant." It seems very, very smart.


Anonymous Matt said...

Sam is around the team once in a while, so if he thinks Tyrus is a jerk, he has more basis for it than we would. Not that I care if he is, but I don't discount the possibility.

And the Latrell Sprewell comparision was in reference to the 'feed his family' comment from a couple years ago.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Hot Shit College Student said...

Well, Catherine's Flying Hamster Blog disagrees.

"It is nice to have a writer who is not afraid to write what he witnesses. No doubt, Mr Smith will have a cool reception from Tyrus Thomas and perhaps the Bulls front office."

Take that, actual writer person.

11:47 PM  
Blogger BenGo07 said...

I wouldn't have a problem with Smith if he had actually written what he had witnessed. As I hope I demonstrated, he did not. He did a hatchet job that was almost entirely void of actual content. (The only single concrete example he gave in that piece was Thabo's picking up the towels, which, y'know, was in fact very thoughtful and considerate.) But pretending that you're finally unveiling "the truth" about someone's shitiness without giving any examples of that's person's shitiness isn't bravery. It's cowardice posing as bravery.

12:17 AM  
Blogger Big Sweet said...

I'm again in BenGo's corner. I don't know Sam Smith, so I don't know if he is a good judge of character. Thus, I hope that someone with as much access to the team as he has would enlighten us about Ty's asshole tendencies with some concrete examples. And as for the Sprewell example, I don't buy that it was just in reference to the "feed my family" quote. Plenty of players have said similar things -- Sheed's CTC comment comes to mind -- but few have taken such behavior to the extreme like Spree. Smith had his choice of the flock, yet went with the worst of the bunch, presumably for emphasis of his unsupported claims. In the end, it just wasn't a very well written column, as BenGo showed, especially considering the malice it contained.

Let's hope this doesn't distract the team as it has distracted us. But if Ty's dwindling minutes are any indication, a change might be on the horizon.

1:42 AM  
Anonymous bullshooter said...

Nice blog. Disagree with most of it, though. Matt mentioned the Sprewell reference. As the Daily Southtown piece showed, there are plenty of examples. Sam may not have used that example because he didn't want to out a source that Tyrus would surely recognize. And Sam may turn out to be around longer than Tyrus if Tyrus doesn't get a clue. I am glad they called him on it. And why is Adrian Griffin in before Thabo?

10:19 PM  

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