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Heroes and Hot Air: How Should the Press Cover Sports?

The gloves came off for's second official THINK{drinks}. Held at the Half King Bar in West Chelsea, nearly fifty sports journalists from ESPN magazine to the New York Times gathered over beers to listen and discuss whether the press has stepped too far into the personal lives of players. Alan Schwarz, a senior writer for Baseball America magazine and sports history guru, moderated the panel, which included Steve Jacobson, a reporter for Newsday who has covered sports since the Sixties; Alan Grant, a former NFL player and reporter for ESPN magazine; and Sam Marchiano, a Fox Sports NFL reporter and correspondent for the National Sports Report on Fox Sports Net.

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The discussion focused on how sports media coverage of athletes has turned 180 degrees over the years--from the hero-worship days of Babe Ruth to the salacious rubbernecking of Darryl Strawberry. Schwarz and Jacobson lamented the loss of a sports reporter's status as a de-facto member of the team, recounting the dramatic feats and flawless characters of players. Today, reporting off-the-field behavior is now standard fare in most sports reports, rationalized by the public's love of scandal. Marchiano and Grant played opposite sides as Marchiano admitted that she will go to the homes of players in order to get her story. Speaking as a former player, Grant reminded the audience that the most important part of the story is the game, and players' personal lives should be left out.
--Rachel Lehmann-Haupt, THINK{drinks) producer and curator.

Click on images for larger view.

Guests enjoyed the Half King’s oysters and Guinness special.

Moderator Alan Schwartz

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