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Oral Arguments

Last night, as the latest Redskins-related organizational firestorm raged on the Twittersphere, some stark contrasts between the modern media world, and the calmer, more dignified world of my youth were on my mind.

Don’t get me wrong. Upon hearing the latest on the burgeoning scandal quickly christened 'BJgate’, I made my share of snarky, inappropriate comments. I am an American male after all. If you lob me a pitch, I’m going to swing. So yeah, the current Redskins embarrassment may be overblown and hard to take. It makes me want to drop to my knees and pray for better days ahead for my beloved Burgundy and Gold. Sorry – I think I’m done now.

But why oh why is this even 'news’?

Let’s take a hard look (okay – I really AM done now) at what we know. The wife of presumptive franchise Savior, GM Scot McCloughan, is angry, suspicious, and jealous. These are qualities all of us, sharing that quality known as 'human’, have felt and expressed during our lifetimes. It happens. Mrs. McCloughan clicked 'Send’ on an unfortunate tweet the other day, one accusing a female DC-based Redskins coverage reporter of inappropriate behavior. In more rational reasoned days, we used to call this a 'marital issue’.

No one knows, with the exception of McCloughan (who we used to affectionately call 'McLovin’ – perhaps we need a new moniker?) and said female reporter (who I will show enough respect not to name here) if there is actually anything inappropriate going on here or not. Unless you are one of the two parties impacted by the boundaries of matrimony here, I’ve got to be blunt – it’s none of your ****ing business what’s going on here.

I know you want to know. I know you need to know. But you don’t have a right to know.

How sad it was to hear Mike and Mike lasciviously open their national show this morning with the McCloughan story. I suspected they would. I expected they would. And I was sorely disappointed that they did.

Cloaking themselves in the flag of journalistic integrity, Greenberg and Golic reassured us that this was national news because of their 'outrage’ that one of their own had been attacked in suck a 'disgusting’ manner. But let’s get real here. Stories like this one become the lead story here because they’ve gone viral on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other social media sites. Controversy and humiliation sell, and controversy and humiliation involving sex sell the best. If you’re going to open up a national show with this breaking headline, at least have the integrity to admit you’re catering to the lowest common denominator – your salaciously-fixated viewership.

I feel sorry for everyone involved with this unfortunate story. Our female reporter, 'sidechick’ or not, must feel angry and humiliated. The sense of outrage expressed by our supposedly progressive media machines didn’t preclude them from spreading this story as far and wide as possible, with total disregard of the impact on the female reporter and her reputation. Some of the most unbelievably harsh criticism of this reporter has come from female posters on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere. That’s just plain sad. As for Mr. and Mrs. McCloughan, what can we say? Despicable as the original tweets here were, we all make mistakes. We all communicate things, at some point in our lives, that are ill-advised and don’t reflect or represent who we really are. Mike Greenberg felt free to tell the world this morning how disgusting Mrs. McCloughan was, stating he 'doesn’t know her and doesn’t care to’.

I’d love to have had a birds-eye view into your personal life over the past decade Greenberg – as I’m positive you’ve never done anything reprehensible or embarrassing ever.

The bottom line? This isn’t news. It shouldn’t be splashed all over media creation. Sports journalists and media outlets shouldn’t be rolling around in it like a dog on a dead possum. But they are. This is a personal issue between a husband and his wife. That the husband happens to be the GM of the Washington Redskins, the favorite whipping post of sports journalists everywhere even on a good day, is irrelevant.

I already know the arguments.

Sports reporters like Mike and Mike will preface their panting, salivating coverage of this kind of story with disclaimers like 'It’s a shame we have to report on unfortunate matters like this’. But the shame of it all doesn’t deter them from making it their lead story. I get it. Social media has transformed 'what’s news’ and 'what’s not’. Mrs. McCloughan made this news when she made that tweet. People in the public eye are newsworthy whether they like it or not. I’ve heard it all before.

There’s also an argument to be made for human decency. Just because we want to know, doesn’t give us the right to know.

There’s some shameful stuff going on here Greenie, Golic, and the rest of you outraged media types – but I’m not sure it’s exactly what you think it is.
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