In the end of the day, I accept life's too short for carrying grudges against sports columnists, but 24 hours after reading Brian O'Connor's terrible column on the NFL yesterday, that feeling of bitterness has yet to subside. We're shameless NFL fans here at Balls.ie, so I'm totally unbiased, and ultimately O'Connor is entitled to write whatever the hell he wants to fill a column space that was more or less thrust onto him when Tom Humphries' problems started. And yes, I'm generally perturbed about the fairly rapid decline of the Irish Times, especially its once bulletproof sports pages, so maybe I can't see the forest for the trees with this (I mean Mary Hannigan, who we like, managed to write a TV review yesterday that featured the going's on at Leopardstown that somehow avoided mention of Peter Casey's sex pledge to the nation). But when it comes down to it, as sports fan and sports writing fans, we just don't understand how a person who's chosen a life in sport can pen a column of such pomposity and veiled ignorance about another sport. You don't have to like American football, but you could at least take it seriously.
@ballsdotie Imagine if, say, the European correspondent wrote a column about how he knew nothing about France and didn't really like it.
— Fergal Crehan (@Fergal) January 30, 2012
I've gone to the trouble of our listing some of my least favourite sentences below -
- The belief that the Super Bowl is watched by a billion people worldwide still exists out there, but the reality is more prosaic. What the NFL say is that the game will be available to a billion people globally. It’s just that most of us can’t be bothered.
- Pimple pills are obviously being flung around the locker room like tic-tacs: not like our rugby behemoths, obviously, whose bulk is solely due to a devotion to the gym and an expensive private education.
- The trick is to eliminate all the statistical nonsense from your mind. That’s not going to be easy. American football relies on statistics the way a drunk relies on a lamppost.
What imagined sports community does O'Connor think he's speaking for here? Wealthy, bored middle-aged men who still buy the Irish Times? Perhaps that slim demographic nodded in agreement when reading the column. In the end of the day, these are just one man's opinions but they seem illustrative of an ivory tower elitism of a newspaper that doesn't know how to engage with its readership.