Mike Reiss Rants on Negativity, Legacies and Anger

Mike Reiss is as even-keeled a guy as you’ll find in the business. He stepped out of that demeanor in his ESPNBoston chat today, and delivered a welcome rant on a few of the topics that have bothered me, and plenty of others recently:

Dave (Elmira)

Mike, Another All Pro season of reporting. Thanks for the great work. Less of a question than a rant; ” Gronk disrespected himself,” “Brady’s legacy is tarnished.” A bunch of questions and statements without answer. I understand that it’s part of the entertainment value of the game, but what’s this got to do with football? I think I understand BB’s position better: That’s in the past. We are preparing for the next thing.

Mike (12:30 PM)
Dave, thanks for the compliment and now I rant…

Mike (12:31 PM)
The pictures of Gronkowski and Light at the post-Super Bowl party didn’t bother me at all. This is a 22-year-old kid who gave his all to this team this year. People blow off steam in different ways and he’s entitled to do whatever he wants (within the law) as far as I’m concerned. I’m more angered that some low-life would take video of it and distribute it. I find that despicable. …

Mike (12:32 PM)
…As for the legacy talk, my take is simple: Talk to me when their careers are over. We always seem to want to write the ending to stories while they are going on. Why? Why can’t we enjoy the journey and then talk legacy? …

Mike (12:34 PM)
I have been having some internal philosophical debates in my head about what media is these days. What are we trying to accomplish? When I got into this business, I thought we were supposed to tell people what they needed to know. Now I think we’re trending in a dangerous area where we report based on what will get clicks. It bothers me…

Mike (12:36 PM)
… I’m not perfect, but when I see a company soliciting publicity for dropping a boatload of Butterfingers in Boston and thanking Wes Welker for his drop — and then some report on it to give that company exactly what they want (publicity) — it makes me shake my head. What are we doing here?

Mike (12:36 PM)
Rant over.

Erik G (Los Angeles)
Love it when you get feisty, Mike. So while we’re at it, tell us your thoughts on the post game words by Brandon Jacobs…

Mike (12:36 PM)
Pathetic.

A little later, he added:

cp (reno,nv)
flip side what do you make of Brady’s wifes comments?

Mike (12:39 PM)
CP, I think she has to know better than to say that. She was wrong. At the same time, I was more angered that someone would incite her in that manner, but I guess I have to accept that’s where we are in society today. I just want to know what is in that person’s heart. What would possess them to taunt her? Who does these things? Maybe I’ve been living under a rock over the last 10 years, but when did everyone seem to get so angry?

Well said, Mike.

Hats off to you for sounding off on some of these things that seem to have gotten so prevalent and really take away from the enjoyment of sports.

In addition, I’ve really never been a big fan of Rick Reilly, but his column here is dead-on as well: It’s only a game.

  • Angry Old Bastard

    2 Thumbs up, 5 stars and a Blue Ribbon to Reiss for his "rant" like he can read my mind. Fantastic stuff. Same goes to Tom Curran for his "Bottom Liners" column yesterday.

  • classless

    Hits it on the head. Im sure his local media breatheren will snicker at him for it., such as “wise old sage” Steve “I hate the dumb fans” Buckley

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    I find it difficult to believe that Mike doesn't understand why someone would taunt Giselle like that. Mike, you grew up here! You know what New York fans are like! Normal sports fans are glad their team won. NY sports fans are glad your team lost. This, then, surprises you?

  • Tom

    The legacy thing really is out of control. No more than 3 minutes after the game Sunday I turn on ESPN and the guy turns to herm Edwards and says "before the game herm, you said you would put Eli in the HOF if he won tonight. So, what say you?"

    Really?? A Superbowl that came down to the final seconds, with tons of things to analyze and the first question out of the highlight package is about Eli's HOF status? Good grief.

    • bsmfan

      I think you need to get used to it. Remember when Green Bay was 8-0 and got to about 13-0? ESPN was introducing every Green Bay highlight with some symphony, perfection, etc. That changed after W14 with the loss to KC.

      After that, while everyone was still orgasmic over them until the Giants loss, where most of this energy shifted right over to Eli Manning.

      Get used to the Giants thing unless they go 7-7 again when the fire coughlin headlines will replace 'best QB ever'.

  • bsmfan

    Love the rant. Even Felger, during one of the Superbowl sessions when they got Reiss for a segment, introduced him as "the best local beat reporter"

    At least Wilbur had the will to recant and post something.

    "Now I think we’re trending in a dangerous area where we report based on what will get clicks. It bothers me…" — Something came out today showing ESPN.com being out of the top4 of online properties. FoxSports, Yahoo are now ahead and ESPN is trending down. When I've read and listened to some of the previous ESPN people like Pat Forde, they paint a very clear picture that anyone who they flip into a public facing-personality has to "be a brand" — Simmons being their "example"

    Unfortunately, that is where it seems like things are going. I always wondered how the good/bad writers around here stacked up, unless they just measure this by something by the number of comments (good or bad) that are on a specific article.

  • Angry Old Bastard

    On unrelated, off topic note. Got my issue of Sports Illustrated in the mail today. Leafed through it quickly, ripped it to shreads, tossed it in garbage. Not because of the quality of the articles (didn't even read em') Just couldn't do it. The knot in my stomach is just starting to go away….when does the scouting combine start?

    • Mike

      AOB, me too! Did the exact same thing.

    • bsmfan

      You fine gentlemen need a fireplace!

      • Angry Old Bastard

        ,,,,actually I GRONK SPIKED mine into the garbage!

  • Quantum Mechanic

    I hope Reiss has some job opportunities in mind, because that (very true!) comment about reporting based on what brings clicks instead of reporting on what's worth knowing is not going to make his ESPN bosses very happy. Because what Reiss is justly criticizing is ESPN's raison d'etre.

    • latetodinner

      I think Reiss is very safe. ESPN knows they have arguably the best beat reporter in any sport in the country working for them. He gets plenty of hits. So his criticism will be taken more as a challenge than any thing else in Bristol.

      • bsmfan

        Yeah, I am pretty sure ESPN knows that Reiss is one of the most respected. How does he have a friendly relationship with brass in Foxboro while Borges and others still whine about access?

        When you get "promoted" from a local->national, I think they know you're good enough to maintain and Mike's daily work reminds us of why he's not stuck in the Boston market. I would not be surprised if Rap had the same opportunity someday.

        I know some are content being in local markets but don't most journalists want to be promoted at some point? When you're still stuck in a local market, no matter how big, and your colleague gets promoted, don't you stop for a second and ask what you're doing or not doing?

        • latetodinner

          Reiss, Curran, Rap, Karen G etc get along fine with the people in Foxboro because they write about football not the politics around football. They do not sensationalize and opine in either positive or negative ways. As such the brass in Foxboro feels comfortable with them reporting around the team. Its not that they are suck-ups…rather it is that they are thoughtful and competent. I am sure that drives the lazy “look at me” hacks ballistic.As for being promoted…I am not sure. Bob Ryan certainly had national “opportunities” but choose to stay in Boston and cover the Celtics. I think quality of life and size of market effects those decisions as much as fame and dollars.

  • mandb97

    Did you see all of the bitter, ugly and upset New England fans when Bob Kraft and the Patriots players were introduced? Wait you mean they received a standing ovation? Gee, many of the media said we are this bitter ugly group who feel betrayed. Once again many in the media still do not get the fan base in Boston.

    This is why this Mike Reiss rant is so good. He understands that the majority of fans are nothing like those that Shaughnessy, Buckley or Wilbur would make you believe.

    • Tony

      Your last paragraph really sums it up for me. Did anyone see Simmons' "15 reasons not to feel bitter"–or whatever it was called–piece after the Super Bowl? I stopped reading him a long time ago because I don't think he really knows all that much about sports–outside of the NBA–and he's got too much of a drama-queen persona in his writing style. But I read that piece, and regretted it the minute that he suggested that "Boston fans" feel like Brady has to "win them back" because he hasn't won a Super Bowl in 8 years now–or since he joined his wife's (offseason) jet-set lifestyle. Is he kidding? Tom Brady owes me nothing. I should be thanking him, in fact, for all the great sports memories he's provided. Again, Simmons, like a lot of mediots, distills the views of a scant few "public" Boston fans and serves it up as the "common fan" viewpoint–ridiculous.

      • Angry Old Bastard

        agree 100%, Tony…..I used to enjoy Simmons, there was a time (long ago) when I thought he did have the "pulse" of the REAL Boston sports fan. Maybe it was moving out to La-La land or just working for ESPN, but he LOST the "pulse" a longtime ago. Now I look at him as just another National sports yakker.

  • latetodinner

    I wonder if a second reason why Reiss detoured into commentator land was because he knows that the quality beat guys are starting to be lumped in and painted with the same broad brush (look ma…two cliches in a row) as the mediots. As such they run the risk of their own work being taken less seriously or worse, marginalized. I think Reiss, Curran, Rapp and KG have all looked at guys like Borges, Farinela, Shank, Buck or Wilbur and decided they do not want to be in that club. The only way to avoid it is to stand up and say…NO. Curran has done it a few times to Borges this past year on the air. Reiss just did it in print. The herald duo has done a good job of staying above the fray and out of the way. If you pay attention F & M have subtly changed their approach to the Pats (we will see how it lasts). We will see if this is a trend towards quality or just a small push back.

  • Tom

    I don't understand why Kraft and Gronk were at the Celtics game last night. What a joke!!
    Don't they know they should be home cowering in a dark room, crying and trying to hurt themselves, while family members slide their food under the door???

    • bsmfan

      BREAKING NEWS: SOURCES ARE TELLING BSM.COM THAT KRAFT, GRONK AND THE CELTICS TEAM WERE EATING FRIED CHICKEN, DRINKING BEER AND PLAYING VIDEO GAMES IN THE CELTICS LOCKER ROOM.

      SOURCES ALSO TELL US THAT DOC RIVERS HAS A PAIN KILLER PROBLEM.

      TOM BRADY AND GISELLE ARE ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LOSS TO THE LAKERS LAST NIGHT.