Boxing

The Unfair Katie Taylor Coverage Criticism Gets Political, Of Course

The Unfair Katie Taylor Coverage Criticism Gets Political, Of Course

It's Monday morning. You look at the week ahead. What are we going to write about this week?

You make the list for your morning meeting. Katie Taylor tops the list. It's a big week for her. She's fighting in Madison Square Garden. She's fighting to become the undisputed champion of the world. History will be made. How are we going to cover this? What stories can we do to give the fight its due attention?

Second on the list is the Champions League final.

Newsrooms around the country are doing the same. The golden child of Irish sport has her biggest professional fight on Saturday night. Some are off to New York. Others don't have that luxury. Either way, we can't wait. We discuss who's doing the graveyard shift to cover the fight. There are plenty of volunteers. This is why we do this.

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It's Tuesday morning. Paddy Barnes, an Irish boxing legend and great friend of Katie Taylor, has retweeted a weird attack on the Irish sports media from actor Kieran O'Reilly, best known for his role in Love/Hate.

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The sentiment is fine. This is as big as it gets. Katie is on the verge of doing something no other Irish person has ever achieved. It is something to shout from the rafters about.

It's also unfair. It's Tuesday. The fight is on Saturday night/Sunday morning. The shelf life of a story is a few hours. The week of a fight tends to build. The attention will be there on Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Sunday will be all Katie, all the time. We've done this before.

There is no news of any note.

Katie is in full camp mode. That's the way she wants it. She is preparing. She isn't Conor McGregor. She's not a hype machine built to have a story about her in the media every day. She is a sportsperson. Even still, she does her bit. Off The Ball feature an interview with her on Tuesday night. She's featured on the Six-One News. She speaks with others too. Each of them make it a feature of their coverage.

There is only so much hype that can be generated without overkill.

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The tweet has nearly 3000 likes and goes somewhat "viral". Journalists with a rich history of covering Katie Taylor, such as Kieran Cunningham of The Irish Daily Star, rightly fight their corner and offer their bona fides on the story.

It's an interesting discussion up to a point.

The point, unfortunately, as it so often is, is when the politicians decide to get involved. This time it's Fianna Fáil's Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport, Robert Troy.

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Troy, as it turns out, was equally frustrated at seeing "nothing" about Katie Taylor in the media. And the man to blame is, somehow, Minister Shane Ross. Now, we've no doubt we'll have something to complain about Minister Ross for before the week is out, but can't quite fathom how this one falls on him. We also very much doubt there's anyone hanging on with bated breath to find out what Shane Ross has to say about Katie's fight!

Here's the statement released by Fianna Fáil:

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport, Robert Troy TD, has said that Minister Ross needs to address the lack of attention given to our national sporting heroes. Deputy Troy was commenting as Bray native Katie Taylor is attempting to make boxing history on Saturday night.

He said, “Katie Taylor is just one of a number of Irish national sporting treasures, but this weekend will see her attempt to make boxing history. As well as being an outstanding amateur, she has reached the heights of world champion in the pro ranks.

“This weekend, she will attempt to unify all the belts at her chosen weight and consign herself to the history books if successful. She is a true icon and a fantastic role model for young children, yet there has not been a word about her. I have heard more about Aston Villa's promotion to the Premiership this week than I have of Katie Taylor.

“One look at Minister Ross’s twitter tells me all I need to know. Tweets of himself sitting on a swing or with a digger on the site of his pet-project all feature, but no mention of our talented sportspeople who are flying the flag for Ireland”, he concluded.

Apparently coverage of an important football game, involving Irish players, on the day of the game, is beyond the pale when six days out from a Katie Taylor fight.

The real insult here, of course, is the use of Katie Taylor, the 'national treasure' as Troy puts it, as a political football. It's a bandwagon with easy targets in the media and Ross. It's hard to imagine Katie really figures into it at all. On the week of the biggest fight of her career, this is the nonsense her camp needs to keep her away from.

In terms of the woman herself, her achievements, and the fight, there's plenty of good work to go around. Just google "Katie Taylor". There'll be a lot more coming as we head towards Saturday night too. It's a long week. Stay tuned.

As for the politicians, keep an eye out for the next bandwagon. There'll be plenty of faux anger to go around too.

 

SEE ALSO: 'It Is Not Happening. We're Getting Very Little Help'

Michael McCarthy

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