R.I.P., Deadspin

Deadspin’s writers conducted their own exit interviews.

Well, shit. Now I wish I’d been a Deadspin reader. The writers who, after being ordered to “stick to sports,” told their Great Hell overlords to eat a bag of dicks seem like my kind of people.

Nitwits who disliked the often-political tone of my columns, “Mad Dog Unleashed” and “Friday’s Foaming Rant,” often suggested that I likewise “stick to sports.” I did no such thing, because everything is political, and happily my editors and publishers never added their voices to the shut-the-fuck-up chorus, though like Deadspin we often found ourselves owned and/or licensed by eejits.

It’s a dire state of affairs and regrettably far from uncommon. Over at The Nation, Dave Zirin tugged on Deadspin‘s founding editor’s coat, and Will Leitch spake thusly:

“I will say that craven dopes like these people buy media companies all the time, and they slowly suck the life and vigor out of them until they are shades of their former selves. Usually, people who work there have no choice but to stomach it and make tiny but real compromises because they have families or mortgages or medical bills or real-life stresses. It is to the ultimate credit of everyone at Deadspin that they did not roll over to ridiculous and incompetent non-plans and brainless edicts out of self-preservation.”

And at The New Republic, Alex Shephard grabbed Deadspin‘s media-bro mismanagement by the plums and squeezed, with a nod to Gawker’s “How Things Work,” observing:

“It is tempting to see the demise of Deadspin as another depressing instance of how things work: a private equity firm full of almost comically idiotic media bros blunders into a successful media property and destroys it because the only thing it knows how to do is juice ad impressions. But the collapse of Deadspin is so spectacularly stupid, so clearly self-inflicted, that it has an epochal quality. If there were any justice in the world, the site’s absurd decline, which could not better contrast the integrity and talent of Deadspin’s staffers on one side and the craven shit-eating of their corporate masters on the other, would serve as a wake-up call to the powers that be. Since there isn’t, it’s almost certainly a harbinger of much worse to come.”

Much worse to come, indeed. I’ve never been a sports fan, but I’ve been a fan of good sports writing, especially when it didn’t have much to do with sports.

And I wish I’d caught Deadspin‘s act before it turned into a vulture capitalist’s turd.


18 Responses to “R.I.P., Deadspin”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Shit. Yet another bunch of vulture capitalists fucking up the universe. Suggesting that sports is not political is itself a highly political statement, i.e., STFU about the seamy side of the equations.

  2. carl duellman Says:

    I just read this article yesterday. kinda sad.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Surprised? Not me.

  4. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    And it’s RIP for Tour of California as well. Frankly, I’m amazed “The California Vacation” lasted as long as it did since AEG’s plan was to find some folks with more dollars than sense to buy it off them after a few years. My guess is they tried to get ASO to buy it but when they said, “Non, merci!” they decided not to throw more good money after bad?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks for the reminder, Larry. I’d meant to note the AToC’s announcement that it would be going on “hiatus” but spaced it out.

      Sure didn’t help that the race was (a) expensive, and (2) boring. Like The Race of Many Names in Colorado, otherwise known as the Tour of the Alpine Ski Towns.

      Also, many of the interesting parts of the state are presently afire.

      How many of these big domestic races have come and gone over the years? Red Zinger/Coors, Philly, DuPont/Trump, etc. Even the midsize events like Casper Classic and Bisbee are history; the Gila keeps hanging on, but only just. It’s gotta be a nightmare to put one on, even just the one time. Across the pond, it’s tradition, culture; here it’s a sideshow, an inconvenience.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Lest we forget, RIP La Vuelta de Bisbee.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        The days of bicycle racing in the USA drawing big crowds are gone along with vacuum tubes radios. JV and the Velon folks might as well try to start up a North American Cricket League to compete with NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL or even WWE.
        Nobody but a tiny minority of weirdos is gonna turn on their TV to watch a bunch of skinny men in spandex pedal around on BUY-SICKLES when all that other stuff is going on.
        AEG’s “start-up” just burned through all the cash they had (or were willing to throw at it) before a sucker came along to buy ’em out, so the “California Vacation” is dead. It’s tough enough to keep ’em going over here where there’s a culture and tradition as you noted, but in ROADS ARE FOR CARS! ‘Murica it seems Zwifting and Soul Cycling are the thing, but I can’t see anyone watching THAT on TV either.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Speaking of JV, he says bike racing in the U.S. needs to be reinvented. He’s impressed by events like Dirty Kanza, Leadville, and RAGBRAI, suggesting that these could have both participatory and pro components, with the former helping subsidize the latter.

        This is one of the things I always liked about cyclocross in Colorado. You could race your own race, then hang around and see how the pros navigated the bits you bollixed.

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          Seems like the MBA-think is what brought ToC to life, no? People have pointed out that ToC HAD a ride for the punters, but they struggled to get even close to 1000 to show up for it.
          I would hate to see JV and Fel..er….Velon f–k up these other events in some greedy attempt to make pro race/TV events out of them. Heck, even RAGBRAI’s falling apart with a competing event now, whooda thunk that?

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Is there any sort of model you see working for pro racing Stateside, Lorenzo old sock? I have a hard time imagining how anyone can make money promoting it.

          Especially in a time when “pro gamers” and “e-sports” are all the rage. An SUV sneaking past a corner marshal is never an issue in e-sports, or in Peloton, Zwift, etc. There’s room for everyone on the Infobahn.

          Of course, there’s always gravel racing. Maybe what we need is to get the NBDA behind an event that capitalizes on all the hot categories: a gravel race for cargo e-bikes. Mixed pairs (men/women) tag-team kind of deal. One rider pedals, the other chills in the cargo bin. Trade off on the hour, every hour. Too binary? Just spitballin’ here. …

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Kinda like Epic Rides programs. Pro and amateur riders on the same course, the fat tire crit the day before the trail races, and equal purses for male and female pro riders. Their races are not events, they are a happening with large crowds, music, food, camping sometimes, and business and local government participation.
        My two cents is that bike races should be on car tracks with grandstands and easily televised courses. Laguna Seca? Firebird? Daytona with the infield course? Music and food afterwards where the pros mix with the fans.

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          Car tracks? Have you ever watched a race on one? Dull, dull, dull plus the bicycles/riders look like colored ants out there on the huge expanses of asphalt. The Giro has finished on the Imola track a time or two and the World’s at Zolder was dull, dull, dull, even with Super Mario winning. Gawd save cycling from that, please!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        That’s the Sea Otter model. If you’ve never been, you should really check it out. Pro/am road and mountain racing at Laguna Seca/Fort Ord. Gran fondos and tours. On-site camping. A consumer expo, with demos. The works.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          Is the circuit race fun to watch? I assume the spectators are in the infield instead of the grandstands. Motorcycles race on these tracks, and they aren’t much bigger than a bicycle, and the slower speed of bicycles is easier to track. All I’m saying is it is time to try something new. Stage races aren’t making big money, and the small ones are folding up the tents. I wonder how long the grand tours can last. I bet the cities and towns around these tracks and other venues love riders that come, stay a few days, spend some money, and come back year after year. Epic Rides is doing fine, and Tucson and Prescott love and promote their events. I see on the Sea Otter link, that Patrick provided above, that they have been going for 30 years. Must be doing something right! The bottom line is the same old shit isn’t working anymore. I haven’t watched a grand tour in years.

  5. David McBride Says:

    Holy Smokers. Modern times, I guess. Management trying to turn people’s minds to mush.

  6. Pat O'Brien Says:


    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It’s getting harder and harder to find anything worth reading anymore, innit?

      • psobrien Says:

        Want something fun, interesting, and relevant to read? Mad Dog Media is the answer, the bomb, the place to be. Biting satire, humor, and occasional ranting is there in abundance written by a pro. Plus, loads of good information, insights, ideas, and bullshit from the peanut gallery. What’s not to like? O’Grady for president I say! I’d love a debate between the Mad Dog and the Dumpster. Watch the weave wearing bum slink away like the scum that he is after Patrick verbally thrashes the asshole with a teeny weeny and dainty digits.

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