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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tigers’ Max Scherzer upset with SI over cover

Foray into stardom. Max goof?

Detroit Tigers’ Max Scherzer said Sports Illustrated’s cover story on him wasn’t what he expected.

“To be on the cover is a very special moment, but I’m also frustrated that they chose to put the contract stuff on the cover,” he said Sunday.

“When they approached us, (Tigers media relations) and I, we specifically asked not to make the story around the contract. ... They assured us it wasn’t going to be like that. They chose a different route, and we felt like we were lied to and misled.”

The cover headline was “Mad Max’s $144 million bet” and asked “did he make a dumb wager on his future?”

“I didn’t want it to be about that,” Scherzer said. “I’m a baseball player. I want to talk baseball. It’s frustrating when you get lied to about that.”

...Stephen Cannella, SI assistant managing editor, said Monday he knew of Scherzer’s feelings but no promises were made.

“We were aware Max didn’t want to discuss his contract situation in detail, but at no time did we make any promises how we would mention it in the story or how we wouldn’t, or where we would use it, whether it would be on the cover or whether it wouldn’t.”

Repoz Posted: April 29, 2014 at 10:15 PM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, tigers

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   1. PreservedFish Posted: April 29, 2014 at 11:27 PM (#4697202)
I'm curious what they teach about this in ethics classes in journalism school. To me, it's at least rude to focus on an angle that your friendly interviewee is unhappy discussing. Maybe worse than rude. It's not something I would be happy about doing.

I had an idea for a book, a travelogue of a sort, but when I sat down to write I was really uncomfortable writing about strangers without their permission.
   2. Cabbage Posted: April 30, 2014 at 12:07 AM (#4697237)
I'm curious what they teach about this in ethics classes in journalism school. To me, it's at least rude to focus on an angle that your friendly interviewee is unhappy discussing. Maybe worse than rude. It's not something I would be happy about doing.


Reporters are like cops -- people tend to trust them, but shouldn't.
   3. Lars6788 Posted: April 30, 2014 at 12:24 AM (#4697248)
You follow the money - it would be stupid for something that isn't in the Tigers magazine [if the Tigers sell one of those] not to talk about the contract that Scherzer turned down and his impending free agency.
   4. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: April 30, 2014 at 12:24 AM (#4697250)
As William Randolph Hearst said, news is something somebody doesn't want printed; all else is advertising. I tend to believe the SI editor - going out and directly promising something and going back on it is a sure way to get people to not talk to you anymore.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: April 30, 2014 at 12:29 AM (#4697254)
The cover headline was “Mad Max’s $144 million bet” and asked “did he make a dumb wager on his future?”

Whoa! I thought somebody here said he took that deal.

I'm not sure that was a wise move on his part. Having a great year so far though. Still, I can't see him getting Kershaw money even if he does manage to beat Verlander money. I suppose if he's convinced he'll get 7 years.
   6. KT's Pot Arb Posted: April 30, 2014 at 03:02 AM (#4697280)
I'm curious what they teach about this in ethics classes in journalism school. To me, it's at least rude to focus on an angle that your friendly interviewee is unhappy discussing. Maybe worse than rude. It's not something I would be happy about doing.


Your friendly interviewees want free PR worth huge amounts of money that describe their every action and abilty exclusively in laudatory terms. What they want doesn't really matter if you are truly a journalist.

Journalism is following a story. If Scherzer didn't want to discuss it, then he shouldn't chase a SI cover by agreeing to an interview. Just saying you don't want to talk about it doesn't mean the writer isn't going to cover it using quotes from other people.
   7. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: April 30, 2014 at 07:50 AM (#4697291)
ethics classes in journalism school

No such thing.
   8. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: April 30, 2014 at 08:25 AM (#4697297)
No such thing.
There was no such thing at my alma mater either. I had writing classes, broadcast and journalism law classes, production and programming classes, and all sorts of other stuff I never used. Heck, I learned how to splice reel-to-reel tape. In 1997.

The only ethics course I took was as an elective because I needed to take something that fell under the "philosophy" umbrella.
   9. Pooty Lederhosen Posted: April 30, 2014 at 08:59 AM (#4697310)
If any fault should be assigned then it's to the Tigers PR staff, or Scherzer's agent, or both. The writer is doing his job, which is interviewing/covering an athlete for a story. How that story turns out is going to depend in a big part on what material comes up. A contract is obviously an important thing.

If Scherzer didn't want the story to be about the contract, then don't talk about the contract. Don't answer questions about the contract. Talk about everything but the contract. That's it. It's not hard.

Now that I read the stupid article, I see this thus-far-unmentioned quote: "Scherzer said he did not personally make his wishes known to SI but worked through the Tigers' media relations." So yeah, WTF Tigers' media relations?

I'm going to assume that Tigers media relations or his agent has, at a minimum, given Max a brief on how to work with the press. It can be accomplished in two minutes. When you talk to the press, say what you want to say. Whatever question gets asked, say what you want to say. Don't say anything else.

Reporter: Max, last night you got hit pretty hard. What happened out there?
Max: What this country needs is more banjo. There's a serious lack of banjo in America, and it's what's made this country great.
Reporter: Some have said you were tipping your pitches last night. Do you think that's the case?
Max: America was at its greatest when the banjo was an integral part of popular music. If America wants to be great again, then it needs to teach kids how to play the banjo.

Don't want to be misquoted? Don't say anything you don't want to read later. That's it. Reporter gets frustrated and becomes hostile? That's not your problem.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: April 30, 2014 at 09:50 AM (#4697331)
It seems to me that this is an odd hook/headline to use for a cover story. In essence, nothing happened. No newsworthy extension was signed. No star player switched teams. A team made an offer and a player declined, that's it - and weeks later that's cover-worthy news? While there are actual games going on as well as playoffs in 2 sports?
   11. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 30, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4697359)
No such thing.



I took media ethics in college. It was mandatory for all journalism majors at our school.

Scherzer is free to ask the subject not be brought up. He's free to make it a condition upon him cooperating with the writer. Obviously SI can write about the topic (and feature him in photos) with or without Scherzer's or the Tigers' approval. If the SI writer promised Scherzer that the subject wouldn't be part of the story as a condition of his interview, then that was indeed an ethical violation, whether he was flat lying from the outset or was overruled by his editors (and that's one reason a writer shouldn't be making any such promises like those to sources begin with).
   12. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 30, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4697372)
It seems to me that this is an odd hook/headline to use for a cover story. In essence, nothing happened. No newsworthy extension was signed. No star player switched teams. A team made an offer and a player declined, that's it - and weeks later that's cover-worthy news? While there are actual games going on as well as playoffs in 2 sports?


Yet another indication of the way baseball is dying in the US.
   13. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 30, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4697381)

I'm curious what they teach about this in ethics classes in journalism school. To me, it's at least rude to focus on an angle that your friendly interviewee is unhappy discussing. Maybe worse than rude. It's not something I would be happy about doing.


As George Orwell said: 'Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.'
   14. Pooty Lederhosen Posted: April 30, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4697406)
Scherzer is free to ask the subject not be brought up. He's free to make it a condition upon him cooperating with the writer. Obviously SI can write about the topic (and feature him in photos) with or without Scherzer's or the Tigers' approval. If the SI writer promised Scherzer that the subject wouldn't be part of the story as a condition of his interview, then that was indeed an ethical violation, whether he was flat lying from the outset or was overruled by his editors (and that's one reason a writer shouldn't be making any such promises like those to sources begin with).

From the article: "Scherzer said he did not personally make his wishes known to SI but worked through the Tigers' media relations."

Your point is well-taken, but the onus on any such request is on the media relations department. If Scherzer wasn't doing the pre-story to-and-fro but relied on professionals to do it for him, then they're the ones who presumably dropped the ball.
   15. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 30, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4697411)

Your point is well-taken, but the onus on any such request is on the media relations department. If Scherzer wasn't doing the pre-story to-and-fro but relied on professionals to do it for him, then they're the ones who presumably dropped the ball.


Absolutely.
   16. deputydrew Posted: April 30, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4697418)
Whoa! I thought somebody here said he took that deal.


I also thought he signed an extension, which made the headline even more confusing...
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 30, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4697552)
It seems to me that this is an odd hook/headline to use for a cover story. In essence, nothing happened. No newsworthy extension was signed. No star player switched teams. A team made an offer and a player declined, that's it - and weeks later that's cover-worthy news? While there are actual games going on as well as playoffs in 2 sports?


Print journalism: telling you what you learned on the internet weeks ago!
   18. geonose Posted: April 30, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4697775)
SI says they made it quite clear that they wouldn't promise the contract angle wouldn't be brought up. So much for working through the Tigers' media relations department, huh Max?

That said, has anybody actually seen the SI article, or only the cover? I'm wondering, because, like headlines, cover text is usually written by some schlub that had zero to do with the article or its content. There may be no mention at all of the contract offer in the article itself. The copywriter for the cover may not even have known about Scherzer's request that the subject be off-limits.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: April 30, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4697823)
Yet another indication of the way baseball is dying in the US.

Not to mention our banjo crisis!

Or as Lou Grant once said that George Orwell said that Charles Foster Kane said that William Randolph Hearst said: "Journalism is reporting stuff some schlub wants to read so he'll look at the ads that pay all of our salaries."
   20. DanG Posted: April 30, 2014 at 07:37 PM (#4697896)
Not to mention our banjo crisis!
Crisis averted!
   21. KT's Pot Arb Posted: April 30, 2014 at 07:46 PM (#4697899)
SI says they made it quite clear that they wouldn't promise the contract angle wouldn't be brought up. So much for working through the Tigers' media relations department, huh Max?


So Scherzer asked the PR department to ensure the contract angle wouldn't be in story.

SI told PR department, are you kidding?

On way back to tell Max, either the PR department

A) stopped off to pick daisies for a few weeks

or

B) decided the only bad publicity is no publicity, and Max would get over it once they got "their" cover. Think of the extra tickets we sold, Max!
   22. Depressoteric Posted: April 30, 2014 at 07:51 PM (#4697901)
B) decided the only bad publicity is no publicity, and Max would get over it once they got "their" cover. Think of the extra tickets we sold, Max!
If this turns out to be true (and I doubt it -- I rather suspect that someone in the chain of communication dropped the ball) then it might as well be interpreted as the functional equivalent of the Detroit Tigers saying "adios, asshole!" to Scherzer. Because stunts like that are an easy way to ensure he signs with someone else.
   23. Nasty Nate Posted: April 30, 2014 at 07:55 PM (#4697903)
It seems like Scherzer didn't think the non-contract was forbidden as a topic, but he didn't like that they put it on the cover.
   24. puck Posted: April 30, 2014 at 08:25 PM (#4697913)
The article, however, seemed quite laudatory. It does mention the gamble but it does talk baseball and how Scherzer has achieved to put himself in the position of taking the gamble.
   25. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 30, 2014 at 09:23 PM (#4697951)
I'm wondering, because, like headlines, cover text is usually written by some schlub that had zero to do with the article or its content.


"Some schlub" meaning the editor in chief of the magazine. If the man in charge didn't write the cover text, he certainly approved it.
   26. Lassus Posted: May 01, 2014 at 07:54 AM (#4698080)
Agreeing to an interview is chasing an SI cover?

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