Much has been made today about Jeff Pearlman’s Sports Illustrated column condemning fans — all sports fans — for cheering Ben Roethlisberger upon his return to the Steelers. The reliably great Drew Magary had a solid take down of Pearlman’s article over on Kissing Suzy Kolber about why this type of sports writing represents the laziest “oldest trick in the columnist handbook.”
After my Twitter outburst this morning — “So @JeffPearlman is going to moralize on men victimizing women while making light of @jenniferweiner, Rachel Ray and A WALK TO REMEMBER?” and “It doesn’t work that way. You don’t get to say you’re on side of women while marginalizing their tastes in the same column. @JeffPearlman” — I was asked for my opinion privately. This was my email to them:
I wasn’t thrilled with the “Jew Liberal*” comment in Drew’s post — which is just as lazy if you ask me, I think he nailed what was wrong with Pearlman’s article. I also think we’re a long way from seeing how Pittsburghers (from what I have seen, fans outside of the city seem to be more cautiously optimistic than fans in the city) actually deal with seeing Roethlisberger’s return, so already assuming he’s going to be cheered is misguided at best.
When Pearlman frames the story on his own blog as “a son, a husband, a father of a girl” and here is why I care, it seems inconceivable to me that he would then list the things Roethlisberger will do to shore up his public image with examples of things that tend to be extremely women-centric which many would see as code for “Them ‘dem broads and their Weiner who writes about fat chicks, and their loud-mouthed Rachel Ray and her sammiches, Oprah and stupid chick-flicks.” It’s condescending and rude.
It’s going to be a very hard year to be a Steelers fan, no matter what gender you are. No one needs to be condemned by a national columnist for a reaction that hasn’t even taken place yet.
Unfortunately, I think this is just beginning of a very long, brutal season for Steelers fans. Not because of Ben, but because everyone has already written our storyline and our reactions for us.
Further reading; my thoughts on Roethlisberger back in April.
*EDIT – I know Drew is just referencing the John Rocker “Jew” comment to Pearlman, but I hate it when it is brought up in any context because it’s like a repeat of the insult makes it valid somehow.
Originally posted on Black & Gold Tchotchkes.