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Criticism of controversy is laughable

One of my favorite sports writers does a syndicated piece for Fox Sports and writes often on controversial topics that range from ethnic diversity to marriage, to articles on athletes simply being underachievers.  His articles are filled with substance and good points but are usually marred by the topic itself, with many readers who are blinded by the “politically correct necessity complex,” dismissing any of the just statements and label the works as garbage libel.

I’m sorry, but he’s billed as a controversial writer and paid to do exactly that.  He does it with tact and keeps it within the realm of understanding for many who couldn’t tell the difference between a technical foul or a personal foul.  

As with many controversial sports writers, Jason Whitlock takes flack for pretty much all he says, and I suppose it’s to be expected with writing the topics and toeing the line he does, but it would be nice to see the readers actually read his articles and absorb the content instead of reverting to gut reactions to things they may not want to hear.

For example, after Wimbledon, everyone was either talking about Federer being dominant or Serena Williams (maybe) returning to glory.  Whitlock took a different stance and put Serena in a category of underachievers and stated what has been obvious to those who have watched her over the years: she is inconsistent at best and not as dedicated or committed to tennis as any of her competitors.

Serena was blessed with talent as was her sister.  Together they have dominated doubles tennis, and they’ve traded blows in the singles realm.  Unlike the men’s field however, the women’s field has two big names with several others that seem to win tournaments over the players who out talent them by miles, and in Serena’s case in particular, it’s all due to work ethic.  Serena has slacked off and pursued other ventures over the years and she’s been on and off her game and all over the place.  In the rare cases when she’s been in top shape, she’s unstoppable.  When she’s in great shape, she’s a competitor.  But most of the time, she’s indifferent and falls by the wayside.

She is what could have been the equivalent of Federer, Nadal, or Sampras.  She instead can count her total grand slams on one hand and complains that people don’t give her the respect she deserves.  I agree with Whitlock in saying that if she perhaps tried as hard, or even cared to try, like Federer has done, Agassi had done, or Sampras, she would be there as the women’s ambassador for any sport, not just tennis.  It’s a shame to see talent not put to its full potential.

But it’s an even bigger shame to have people criticize a writer for pointing that out.  I am not one that prefers to keep the truth, however ugly, from coming to light in the sports world.  There is a line drawn at the personal life, but as far as their play and the reasons behind great or poor performances, those things need to surface and be discussed.

In the end, that is the only way there can be effective reporting: fair, balanced and with great debate.

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