Not that long ago, the editor of Grantland.com, Bill Simmons, wrote about the disconnect between how sports (and athletes) are generally talked about, and how they’re covered. When you and your buddy Jimmy are watching sports in a basement with pennants on the wall you’re never going to think “boy, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ray Lewis did steroids, but I don’t want to falsely accuse him, so I’ll sit on this thought.”
And so it goes:
“That dude definitely did steroids.”
“Oh, no doubt about it.”
That’s something that’s always going to be there. The media have sources to protect, they have to avoid dangerous speculation, and they have standards to adhere to. Even when they think X is happening it, they have to print Y until they can prove X. The rest of the sports world does not.
10 weeks ago Erik Karlsson had his achilles tendon sliced 70% of the way through, and we were told he was out indefinitely. It was assumed his season was over and the Sens would have to make do without him. In an interview in March Karlsson himself gave this quote:
Last night, he played over 27 minutes (more than any other Ottawa Senator), fired eight shots on net (more than any player in the NHL last night), tallied two assists, and was +16 in Corsi terms. I believe in football terms that’s described as “Beast Mode. Also: day-um.
Generally, I’d write about the phenomenon that is Erik Karlsson and how miraculous and cool what he just did was, because HOLY BANANAS AND APPLESAUCE, did you read the above paragraph? Heavens to Murgatroyd. Only a premier defender can do things like that (in his first game back after 10 weeks, no less), only a special human is built to do such things, holy smokes is he logic defying.
But here’s where we come to the disconnect between what people write and what people say. I’d happily write about the show he put on last night. But judging from my Twitter feed, email inbox and personal interactions, plenty of people think he did performance enhancing drugs or took human growth hormone to get back so quickly. They really do. Too much too soon, too unbelievable. Read the rest of this entry »