Sports Satire Site Ceases Operations Until Nation Re-Embraces Facts and Has Better Grasp of Line Between Fake and Real News
The Sportsman’s Daily ends 10 year run as the go-to site for breaking sports satire
BOCA RATON (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) This year marked the tenth year anniversary of the Sportsman’s Daily, the place for palpably fake sports news. The founders of the site called it satire, as its mission was to reveal and ridicule the absurdity of prominent sports figures (and their mindless fans/apologists) making fools of themselves on the regular. While the majority of the stories appearing there had some — some — grounding in reality, the lines were often blurred — an inescapable byproduct of any satirical endeavor, which did cause occasional confusion, sometimes even anger when a reader would realize he or she’d been had, bamboozled, suckered, made to feel foolish, incompetent and/or stupid. Such are the unintended consequences of satire, though there are no cases on record of anyone storming a pizzeria because they misread a TSD story on Mike Piazza, or citizens rising up to counter stories mercilessly ripping entire cities for their sorry histories of sports ineptitude.
The founders of TSD had every intention of embarking on another decade of making shit up. Indeed, plans were in the works to add a multimedia arm to improve the breadth and depth of engagement around what one critic called its “artful bullshit.” But the recent epidemic of “fake news” has made satire an increasingly perilous exercise. In a culture — and at a moment — when millions of U.S. citizens give more weight to feverish conspiracies “uncovered” in breathless chain mails and Facebook posts than they do to an investigative story on page 1 of the Washington Post, the question becomes: is sports satire compounding the problem?
The founders of TSD have concluded that it has, which is why they’ve decided to suspend operations as soon as this is posted to the site.
“We’ve had a great run and are proud of the work we’ve done in exposing the hypocrisy, absurdity and self-importance that characterizes so much of professional sports,” said Charles Epstein, TSD’s co-founder. “Do we have regrets that some of our invented stories caused confusion, heightened anxiety or stoked anger among unsuspecting and largely innocent fans lacking the discernment to separate satire from reality? Not really. Do we feel remorse that we in some small way contributed to the blurring of the lines between news and fake news that we see today? Well, truth be told, we’d feel a lot more remorse if we had more of a following and made more of an impact. So no, we don’t feel remorse…we do, however, feel we could have done more to increase clicks, but that ship has sailed, unfortunately.”
According to Epstein and his partner, TSD co-founder and Executive Editor Tom Alexander, the site will remain up indefinitely, though no new content will be added. They are not ruling out resuming editorial activity, but according to Epstein, not until there’s clear indication that the American public has “gotten its shit together” and “Twitter implements a 7 second delay for President Trump’s 6 AM tweets, giving the truth just enough time to catch up,” which he believes will help reorient the public, and via “ruthless repetition build ‘fact-grasping’ into muscle memory.”