Clay Waters at NewsBusters and the Media Research Center did a great job Monday of exposing the ugly, vindictive, know-it-all and snotty write-up on Tim Tebow generated by Harvey Araton at the New York Times after Tebow's Denver Broncos were unceremoniously eliminated from the NFL playoffs on Saturday by the New England Patriots.
Perhaps the most offensive element of Araton's work was its headline: "Curtain Closes on Tebow’s Season, but His Sideshow Goes On." It is more than clear from Araton's text and tone that he considers Tebow's pre- and post-game charitable activities part of that "sideshow." Apparently, a New York Times sportswriter believes he is in a better position than team executives, Coach John Fox, and Tebow himself to decide what is and isn't a distraction from team unity and focus. To show that Araton's twisted outlook isn't universally shared among sportswriters, I give you excerpts from Rick Reilly's outstanding Friday column at ESPN, which I selected as a Positivity Post at my home blog on Sunday:
New York Times sports columnist Harvey Araton issued a snotty broadside (“Curtain Closes on Tebow’s Season, but His Sideshow Goes On") against Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, whose religious displays, unconventional style, and clutch performances have divided fans and popular culture. Araton went beyond admitting discomfort at Tebow’s overt religiosity to begrudge the quarterback for a good deed -- spending time with a brain-damaged visitor after the Broncos’ playoff loss to the New England Patriots.
A look into Araton’s history reveals his anti-Tebow rant as liberal hypocrisy. Araton took the opposite view in an April 2009 column, marking NFL television commentator John Madden’s retirement by excoriating the Hall of Fame coach for failing to speak out on issues beside football. But for Araton, speaking out means speaking out on liberal views, like Bob Costas, who he praised. In a May 2006 column Araton faulted the Duke women's lacrosse team for speaking out in defense of male colleagues being falsely accused of rape, even suggesting college officials should intervene to stop them.
New York Rangers hockey player and team "enforcer" Sean Avery is speaking out in support of gay marriage in New York State as part of an ad series sponsored by the left-wing Human Rights Campaign. He was profiled in glowing terms in a New York Times news story by John Branch in Sunday's sports section, "In Rarity, a Player Speaks Out for Gay Rights." But how have the paper's columnists treated athletes who take conservative stands?
Until now, supporters have come mostly from the worlds of politics, entertainment, theater and fashion. One type of New York celebrity was conspicuously absent: the athlete.
Enter Rangers forward Sean Avery.
He recently recorded a video, becoming one of only a few active athletes in American team sports to voice support for gay rights, and is believed to be the first in New York to publicly advocate for same-sex marriage. No active male player in a major American team sport has declared his homosexuality, and homosexual slurs remain in use to insult opponents and officials.
Avery, a 31-year-old from Pickering, Ontario, has played nine seasons in the N.H.L. Known as a fashion-conscious, on-ice agitator, he has never been afraid of what others think of him.
Back in 2007, The New York Times was delighted when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the TV networks and against FCC fines for fleeting profanities on broadcast TV. "If Bush Can Blurt Curse, So Can Network TV," the Times wrote in its Page One headline.
But in 2011, when gays are outraged that NBA star Kobe Bryant was caught on television during a game mouthing the "gay F-bomb" at a referee, and the NBA assesses an amazing $100,000 fine for this one word, Times sports columnist William Rhoden argued the fine was puny and that Bryant should be forced to sit out the first game of the playoffs. The Times also approvingly published gay activist John Amaechi on its Off the Dribble blog begging Bryant not to challenge the fine. Apparently, some "curse words" have a much deadlier ring:
As John Madden retires as one of the most popular "color men" the sportscasting world has even seen, New York Times sports columnist Harvey Araton launched a familiar liberal assault: he wasn't political enough, he "punted" controversy, he failed to "use a platform for social good" and played it safe so he could make a buck with commercials and video games.
This is typical for Araton, last noticed for insisting that Bruce Springsteen "go rogue" and make the "corporate fat cats" squirm by uncorking a socialist jeremiad during the Super Bowl halftime show. He compared Madden unfavorably to liberal Bob Costas:
He was a revolutionary in the booth, especially as a master of shtick. Unfortunately, as the national voice of his sport, he was more the mouse who didn’t roar but played it safe, by punting most controversy, like other champion American pitchmen, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.
In his column "Exposing the Truth About Exposing the Truth," New York Times sportswriter Harvey Araton defended his "good friend" Selena Roberts -- a former Times sports columnist now reporting for Sports Illustrated -- from "misogynist ravings" launched after her recent reporting on steroid use by Yankees baseball star Alex Rodriguez.
Roberts has Rodriguez dead to rights on his steroid use and even made him cough up a public apology for previously lying about it. But Araton failed to reveal his former colleague's own sexist attacks and unfair persecution of Duke lacrosse players when they were falsely accused of raping a stripper in 2006. The case fell apart, and the Times, which pushed hard for the prosecution on its front page, came off looking both vengeful and pathetic.
A liberal New York Times sports columnist begged Bruce Springsteen on Friday to make a political statement during his halftime Super Bowl concert. Harvey Araton suggested: "maybe we'll get lucky and there will be at least one bold moment Sunday night when Springsteen goes rogue and rails against -- oh, I don't know -- offensive Wall Street bonuses, $18.4 billion worth. Go ahead, Bruce, make those corporate fat cats squirm on their sofas."
Araton chipped in with his own financial expertise (and Bruce Springsteen fandom) in his Super Bowl column from Tampa, "At the Half, It's B-r-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-c-e." Araton, whose liberal huffing backfired in 2006 when he assumed the guilt of the Duke lacrosse players before the case against them collapsed, revealed himself to be a liberal fanboy for Springsteen rivaling leftist media critic Eric Alterman and urged the lefty rocker to make the fat cats squirm. After accusing the Super Bowl event of "crass commercialism occasionally mixed with patriotic pandering," the slobber commenced to run: