Former Deadspin editor: 'Sticking to sports' would have been 'profoundly dishonest'

Former Deadspin editor: 'Sticking to sports' would have been 'profoundly dishonest'
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Barry Petchesky, Deadspin's former acting editor-in-chief who was fired two weeks ago, penned an op-ed that appeared in The New York Times Tuesday.

In the op-ed, Petchesky, whose firing led to a mass exodus of staff from the online publication, rips into Deadspin's new "stick to sports" guideline, stating that the sports world and the outside world are heavily intertwined.

Petchesky was fired after ignoring the mandate.

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"We refused to 'stick to sports,' because we know that sports is everything, and everything is sports," Petchesky writes.

"It’s the N.B.A. kowtowing to its Chinese business interests; it’s pro sports leagues attempting to become shadow justice systems for publicity reasons; it’s the opioid epidemic roiling N.F.L. locker rooms at least as hard as anywhere in Appalachia, even as the league refuses to relax its marijuana policy."

The key to good sports reporting, Petchesky asserts, is "knowing that there’s no way to wall off the games from the world outside." 

In the op-ed, Petchesky then pivots to the purchase of Deadspin and its subsequent fundamental change. 

"It’s the private equity model," Petchesky writes.

"Purchase an asset, strip it of everything of value, then turn around and sell the brand to someone else before they realize that what made the brand valuable in the first place has been lost and can never be recovered."

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The former editor-in-chief calls the increasingly popular business a model in journalism a "societal crisis," citing publications that have suffered a similar fate as Deadspin, including Newsweek, The Denver Post and Sports Illustrated.

"Everything you liked about the web will be replaced with what the largest number of people like, or at least tolerate enough to click on and sit through three seconds of an autoplay ad," Petchesky concludes.

"Unique voices will be muted, or drowned out altogether."