The Truth Behind The “Media Is Soft” Debate

Disclaimer: I, Tres Winn, am not a media member. I’ve created a Fan-based site that covers the Titans, Vols, Braves, and Predators. Continue reading please.. 

Last week one of my favorite crews at Midday 180 had an incredible debate asking the questions: “Is the Nashville Media soft?”

This sparked one of the best radio debates I’ve heard in a long time, and as the Twitter poll shows, the majority of Nashville sports fans believe it is indeed soft. However, as someone who is an outsider looking in on the Sports Media in general, I have had my perspective changed on this debate. I believe it’s quite the opposite – Sports Fans are actually soft. Let me tell you why:

  1. Keyboard Warriors

As you can tell, I have created a website and podcast in ChattTenn Sports. Since the birth of our fan-run site, there has been a learning process as someone who can be seen as a “media member.” There is a significant difference between the person you might speak to face to face, and the person behind a keyboard. Yes this is obvious, but I want to issue a challenge here, and maybe give you a new life-motto. I learned this from the Nooga Rugby boys, and here is it: “Don’t be a dick.” For those who didn’t catch the message, this is a nice concise way of telling people to be nice.

I’ve gotten to know quite a few Nashville and Knoxville based sports media members, and I will tell you first hand – they’re some of the nicest people around. I’ve simply sent out messages to these people and they’ve been nice enough to come on podcasts, tell their stories, share insight, and even give invitations to events.

The truth about this debate is that every sports fan now has a voice by way of social media. They arm themselves with a high-powered keyboard and they’ll pull the trigger and carelessly put out information regardless of how accurate it is, they’ll bully fellow members of their corner of Twitter, Facebook, etc, and they don’t take a second to think consider the reality of the situation: there is a human being on the other side of that device.

So when it comes down to stating the media is soft, you have to understand that any media members are walking into locker rooms, press conferences and other events with the knowledge that there is another human being across from them. It’s without a doubt in my mind that more than half of the stuff that people post wouldn’t come out of their mouths in a real world situation. So anytime you login, remember – “Don’t be a dick.”


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2. The Media Are Subject To Rules Fans Don’t Know About

As I stated, having gotten to know some media member, I’ve had conversations with them about a situation that most fans don’t have a clue about. Let me see if I can lay this out with an example. When a fan sees a headline about a player, there seems to be an expectation in their mind that the media members they know have to ask this player about the situation regardless of how personal it is to the player. Here’s what fans don’t realize; these players are protected by the teams they play for. Media members are subject to what they can and cannot ask players by the fact that the teams that have allowed the media members access to players and coaches, and they can revoke that access. So when certain players are scheduled for media, and a certain players name has been in the headlines, you better believe the media is going to question with a significant amount of tact. Hell, part of the reason why I am writing this is because I doubt many media members are going to documents out of potential fear these teams could see it and revoke access.

Let’s shift gears and take a look at a response that A to Z SportsAustin Stanley got from a guy on Twitter for questioning how Takk McKinley responded to media recently.

For those that watched the video, you know that Takk was short with the media giving the same response of “I’m good” to any question about his status with the Falcons. Now, with all due respect to Rome, the response here is what honestly made me want to write this article. Rome’s tweet of, “Cus the media is a joke that no players want to deal with, they just have to,” had me scratching my head. given the fact that playing professional sports is a privileged and it doesn’t give anyone the right to “be a dick” and give this childish answers. I don’t blame the media for not fueling the fire by asking a question like – “Why the childish responses Takk? – which would run the risk of them facing punishment for creating a conflict with a player.

Unlike fans behind their 140 Characters, the media is making their living off of who listens to them, and how they conduct themselves will have a positive or negative outcome on how they’re seen by both players and coaches, but also by those consuming the information they’re putting out.

3. Fans Don’t Want To Hear The Facts

As much as I love the community that Titans Twitter has created for the Titans fan base, there are some that cannot handle the facts. The facts that the “Franchise QB” of their beloved team isn’t actually as good as they hope he is, and on the other side of that, some can’t handle the fact that he is better than they make him out to be. It’s 2019, where anyone can log in and voice their opinion, ripping every alternate argument down out by the root and stem. Paul Kuharsky, who I have a great deal of respect for, is known by some fans as a media guy who loves to be polarizing and simply stir the pot. Those fans that say that are usually the same fans that have very different opinions as Paul’s but they also don’t have the most sound logic behind their opinions. Recently Paul released an article about former Titans player, Adam “Pacman” Jones. Paul details the long list of criminal activity that Pacman accrued over his time in the NFL, and the fan reactions was overwhelmingly polarizing.

This article drew the attention of fans and a former Titans players, Nate Washington’s, and the response was divided. But why? Because people want to live solely of the way a report or article makes them feel versus requiring themselves to think beyond their knee jerk reactions and find the truth. It’s a sign of the times, and as a 31 year old man I find myself doing the same thing – just ask Buck Reising.

All this to say, I am not trying to demonize anyone for how they feel or think. I just want to issue the challenge to everyone, myself included, of “Don’t be a dick” and try to think beyond the assumption that “this media guy is just trying to get clicks with a bad take,” which may the root cause of all of this. Be critical in your thinking and stop clinging to what you think and believe about something.

Let the firestorm ensue.