"Stick to Sports" narrative killed one of the most prominent sports websites of the past decade

Not sticking to sports: I am going to miss Deadspin

Deadspin

Last week Deadspin, one of the premier sports blogs over the past 15 years, went down in a blaze of glory. For me and many other fans of sports, satire, and silliness the events of last week feel like the loss of a friend. What is worse though, is that it is a loss at the hands of the ridiculous "stick to" commentary that has unfortunately entered our discourse. If you aren't familiar with what happened, the implosion went down like this:

Deadspin and its parent company Gawker, had been involved in a number of highly controversial stories over the past few years which resulted in a number of lawsuits which eventually took down Gawker. Deadspin, along with a number of its sister sites survived but the sites were acquired and sold to different groups a number of times over the past couple of years. This past week the actions of the most recent ownership group, G/O Media, unfortunately brought about the the end of the site as we know it by issuing a "stick to sports" edict to the Deadspin staff. If you know anything about Deadspin you know this did not go over well. Readers of the site know that some of the best parts of Deadspin have nothing to do with sports. No its stories that rank breakfast cereals, share unfortunate poop stories, or touch on the trials and tribulations of being a dad. Deadspin unquestionably produced great sports content, however it is the other "stuff" that really makes Deadspin what it is. Following this corporate demand, the staff revolted and immediately filled the homepage with their best non-sports stories, all of which had the not-so-ironic tagline of "Stick to Sports" plastered on the cover photo of each story. This did not sit well with the powers that be at G/O Media and brought about the immediate firing of the site's editor who had been with Deadspin since the site's beginning. Over the next three days the entire staff of Deadspin resigned, completely neutering the site of everything that made it great. While the site is technically still up and running with new writers there is no doubt that it is for all intents and purposes dead, and for this I am sad.

We all have our favorite little spots on the internet, a sanctum from the stresses of daily life. A place that we instinctively and almost subconsciously type into our browsers as soon as we log on to the internet. Deadspin was one of those places for me; when I type the letter "D" into my browser it auto-fills with Deadspin. I would spend entire class periods in law school on Deadspin and even more time once I started working a full time job. If I was bored it was one of the first places I went.

I realize though that not everyone loved Deadspin and they found themselves embroiled in controversy on regular basis making more than a few enemies. Could their writers be somewhat insufferable at times, yes, but really who among us isn't. Did they say things that they probably shouldn't have, yes, but who among us hasn't. Were they childish, absolutely, but again, who among us isn't. I didn't necessarily agree with all of their takes, but I still read because maybe at the end I would learn something or be entertained (God forbid that someone continues following a site with takes that they sometimes disagree with).

However, I will miss Deadspin the most because it was a major factor in bringing me here – writing on SportsMap. While I am certainly not as talented as the Deadspin writers their style of irreverent writing spoke to me and gave me a template to build my own written voice from. Additionally, through Deadspin I discovered a sister site called The Vane which was more or less Deadspin for weather. Being the weather geek that I am this was a mind-blowing discovery for me. Were there actually people who would read weather related content that wasn't just a bland local forecast? Apparently there were, and I wanted to be part of it. I began writing on a personal blog that never gained many readers but helped me develop a writing style I was comfortable with. Eventually I managed to hook on with Houston Sports and Stuff (somewhat of a predecessor to SportsMap) and when SportsMap came along I was lucky enough to have the powers that be (Fred) allow me to continue.

These days the "stick to" mindset has become way too prevalent. We are all humans with varying interests and some of those interests may even be * GASP * outside of one's stated profession. I see the "stick to sports," stick to weather", etc. commentary way to often now and I just don't get it. It is the "stuff" in life that makes it interesting and I fear we as a society are losing sight of that. Lets be honest, no one wants to be around the guy who only can talk about one topic, so why is this not true in our online lives? The "stick to" mentality is unfortunately becoming another buffer that people are using to insulate themselves from information that makes them uncomfortable or that they don't agree with. This mindset killed one of my (an millions of others') favorite places on the internet and it is just sickening to me. Even though it has cost me one of my happy places, I applaud the Deadspin staff for standing up for their principals and sticking it to "stick to sports" guy.


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This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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