We’ve talked about The Players’ Tribune before. That’s the website Derek Jeter has created in order to give athletes a direct platform for publishing their views and stories and things. Some stuff there is good, some stuff not as good. It’s like a lot of outlets. Bonus points for being unique and having some ambition.
One of the more talked-about things regarding The Players’ Tribune in its first few months, however, are the titles given to the athlete contributors. Lots of “editors” and “senior editors” and the like. This despite the fact I seriously doubt Kobe Bryant or whoever is actually doing any editing or management for The Players’ Tribune. Whenever a new post is put up there, some journalists on Twitter will make a crack about the “editor” title claimed by the athlete. I’ve joked around a bit in this regard myself.
But with the latest installment — this one from Mets pitcher Matt Harvey about his year recovering from Tommy John Surgery — I think I have figured out something about how these titles work. I think they’re about the athletes trolling journalists:
“New York City Bureau Chief” is fantastic. Partially because it makes me imagine an actual news bureau of elite athletes someplace in New York, barking at each other like Walter Burns and Hildy Johnson. But mostly because I am coming to believe that the purpose of these titles is to mock actual journalists. The senior editors and columnists who pass judgment on the players by virtue of their positions. I bet a lot of players think very, very little of these guys, and view criticism from a lot of them as mere arguments from presumed authority rather than reasoned critiques. So they’re turning the tables a bit, giving themselves titles and daring the press to mock them. Go follow some reporters on Twitter and you’ll see them quite frequently oblige the athletes in this regard.
Not that it’s some Important Statement. Athletes have better things to do than fight with the media. It’s just some impish table-turning on a group of folks many athletes consider to be annoyances at best, enemies in some cases.
More of this, please. Don’t stop at “Bureau Chief.” I want to see a ballplayer call himself a something-or-other “emeritus” before the end of spring training.