Though some reasonable people feel that it isn’t a story worthy of discussion, Deadspin’s decision to publish stories about the sexual exploits of certain ESPN employees has been one of the hottest stories in the sports blogosphere over the past 24 hours.
We have withheld published judgment to this point, but have been very interested observers at the many angles of this story. One of those angles is what motivated Deadspin editor AJ Daulerio to go ahead with the posting of these stories.
AJ was kind enough to join us on the podcast this afternoon and to provide his answers to some of the criticism Deadspin has received in the wake of yesterday’s events, as well as some of the general criticism he has received since taking over for Will Leitch as editor.
MSF Podcast: Interview with AJ Daulerio
Here are some of the highlights that stood out to me after our discussion:
- The decision to publish the stories was “completely” his.
- AJ admits that a major factor in his decision to post the stories was, as he stated in his original post yesterday afternoon, a dissatisfaction with how ESPN (in particular Josh Krulewitz) handled his initial requests for information about the Steve Phillips story in early September. He characterizes their responses to his inquiries as “a little deceitful” in telling him there was nothing there, when obviously there was.
- “I really like Josh a lot…but I really didn’t think that he handled himself with the code that we’d established there.”
- “Was it like a temper tantrum there in some ways? A little bit, but there is a larger issue at hand here…these public relations people can’t lie.”
- A big issue for AJ is why Steve Phillips is being suspended. “It seems that this policy that they have there is very arbitrary.”
- Interestingly, he also explains that the stories he printed yesterday was not just “from the inbox” but rather stories that had been vetted…”especially the Kuselias item”.
- “It’s the worst kept secret in sports media as to what goes on over at ESPN…this has been going on for years.”
- Was not surprised by the wide spectrum of reaction that the posts have received from the blogosphere and elsewhere.
- “I don’t really consider myself beholden to the blogosphere in terms of what kind of actions we take.”
- “I think it brings up a legitimate issue as to what ESPN’s policy is. It’s not like we don’t provide hyper-coverage of ESPN.”
I’ll leave you with those quotes and encourage you to listen to Daulerio in his own words.
In addition to the specifics of his decision to publish the stories, he responds to a few specific critiques levied at him, debunks one hypothesis that he went forward with the posts to undermine and “stick it to” Sean Salisbury, talks about how we would handle being confronted by one of the individuals he outed, and how the site is different because of differences between he and Will Leitch and because of the natural maturation of the blogosphere.
It was a very interesting discussion that we were certainly happy to host, and hopefully you enjoy it as well.
And we’ll leave the poll up to continue tallying the general reaction to this story.