US basketball star Deron Williams has hired a team of journalists to write positive stories about him. Here’s why we should be worried, says The Daily Shift’s David Prendergast…
A new trend of journalism has emerged in the world of American sports.
Rather than wait for newspapers to write about him, Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets has hired his own team of journalists to write about him, daily. The journalists have full access to Williams and cover all of the Nets games, with a strong focus on William’s input of course.
The content is then posted at www.deronwilliams.com. Williams’ site is run by Athlete Interactive, which reportedly has another 21 athletes on the books, although Williams is their most high profile client. The site has feature articles about Williams, game reports on his contribution to the Nets and photo galleries. Accordingly, to the site’s purpose, Williams features in nearly all of the article headlines.
Athletes have long since espoused their views and opinions on social media such as Facebook and Twitter so worryingly this has a scent of evolution about it. And when one considers the amount of trouble athletes can land themselves in via these unfiltered networks (James McLean for example) hiring a team of hacks to put a professional, polished shine on your image seems like an obvious step when so much of what being a modern athlete means involves the development of brands.
Reaction by Williams’s teammates has been positive; ranging from “big-time” to “pretty dope”.
The worry here of course is that if that fashion takes off the objectivity of journalism would be jeopardised. Williams, who is represented by Excel Sports Management, vets everything before it is published on the site.
This is to ensure the protection of his brand which enhances his appeal to sponsors. This totalitarian control of the site demonstrates the loss of any true journalistic value that William’s writers are creating and highlights that this project is nothing more than a vanity website.
Why Williams, who is on a five year contract worth $99 million with the Nets, feels the need to push his image any further is puzzling. But as the saying goes; if you’re explaining you’re losing.
Williams and journalism is definitely losing here.