On Monday we looked at the 10 Sports Media People Who Had An Excellent 2013. It was a happy, warm piece full of holiday cheer. Today's piece is a more Grinch-like 10 Sports Media People Who Had Terrible 2013s (Or Made The Sports World Worse In 2013). It is less cheerful. It is also likely that more of you will read this one than yesterday's. That's human nature.
Let's get to it:
Col Allen. Big news stories like the Boston bombing bring out the worst in a lot of media people -- Lord help me if I ever have to talk extemporaneously on live television with zero information -- but no one can out-worst the New York Post. Not only did the paper put two men of Middle Eastern descent on the front page days after the bombing with the headline BAG MEN -- even though it was well-known before they published the photos that the men weren't suspects -- the Post refused to even apologize. "We stand by our story," Allen, the tabloid's editor-in-chief, said then. "The image was e-mailed to law enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon seeking information about these men, as our story reported. We did not identify them as suspects." Other than putting them on their cover with the words "BAG MEN."
Thayer Evans. It's not entirely fair to just go after Evans for Sports Illustrated's dud of a five-part series about supposed scandals at Oklahoma State. It wasn't entirely his fault, and it was sort of unfair how much of a target he became in the wake of the story, from Jason Whitlock to OSU fans who actually knived an effigy of Evans. That said, the story was a mess, and Evans certainly had his share of culpability. (He has also basically been in hiding since the story hit.) Plus, have you seen that hair?
Bryan Goldberg. The Bleacher Report founder -- with whom I have a history full of professional rather than personal disagreements -- stepped in it big time in a New Yorker profile. There are a ton of great details in the story -- which is about Goldberg's amusing attempts to come up with a successful "women's site" -- but my favorite is still, "Men, to the best of my knowledge, don't even read. When's the last time you heard a man say, 'I've been reading this great book, you'd really like it?' My girlfriend always tells me about these books she's reading, and I don't even see her reading the book! Where does this book live?" That's just outstanding. Yeah, bros, books, what's up with that, right? To the best of his knowledge, indeed.
Gus Johnson. You're listening to the world's biggest Gus Johnson skeptic, so keep that in mind. At least in football and basketball his bombast can work in context (or in a complete lack of context). Giving this man a job broadcasting soccer is basically asking for an international incident. If Fox is still planning on having him call the World Cup, Univision is going to have record ratings. It is as if Fox looked at what NBC Sports Network is doing with the EPL and thought, "Any way we can do the exact opposite?"
Brian Kilmeade. Speaking of Fox, Kilmeade didn't do anything specifically terrible this year … other than hit a baby in the face with a basketball. (I'm sorry, that gets funnier every time I see it.)
Mark May. May is one of those ESPN personalities who isn't overly offensive and is, in fact, milquetoast enough that you don't notice, until you start paying closer attention, just how full of it he really is. Also, he'll follow the company line to the point that he'll cheerfully lie to you if it makes his bosses happy.
Phil Mushnick. It's always been a bit baffling that the Post's Mushnick is considered a "media" columnist. It's like calling that demented uncle of yours a media columnist because he occasionally shakes his fist at the television and yells racist things at the screen. In another year of ugliness, you can't do much worse than the time Mushnick seemed to blame Adrian Peterson for his son being murdered.
Pete Prisco. I'm going to go ahead and just let Keith Olbermann handle this one, since you can't say it much better than he did.
Rick Reilly. Even in the context of the last 10 sad years of Reilly's once-mammoth career, this was a rough one. Here is a countdown of his lowlights:
Fourth place: The Jets poem column.
Third place: The Rick Reilly kicker quiz.
Second place: The column in which he seemed surprised to find out college students weren't thugs (and ended with a line about George Zimmerman so thuddingly lunkheaded that I actually gasped when I first read it).
First place: Being accused of purposefully misquoting his father-in-law. This would probably be the worst incident of anyone's year.
John Ziegler. There's nothing about the former radio huckster-turned-"filmmaker"'s crusade to vindicate Joe Paterno that wasn't gross. The Paterno family ran screaming away from him, and why wouldn't they? Please keep these people out of our sports.