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Rick Telander: hack

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Matt wrote earlier about writer David Fleming coming home to Detroit and singing its praises on ESPN's page 2.

Now for the flip side. Bill Emkow (who is largely responsible for MLive being considered a valuable source of sports information due to his work with the Detroit Lions forum) has posted a portion of an article by Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun Times on his blog. Here's a clip; you'll get the gist:

I got lost trying to find my hotel, but the crack-house attendants were so helpful.

The first speed bump I hit had already been killed.

OK, OK. I apologize. (After all, the warmth from that burning house was invigorating!)

But here's what you're wondering:

You drove?

Yes, I did.

To get to Detroit from Chicago, this is what you do: put your Glock under the seat, get on 94 and drive until you hit Canada.

Actually, just before the tunnel to Windsor you go into a controlled slide (harder for snipers), make three speedy right turns and skid to a stop under the canopy at the Marriott Renaissance Center.

You don't have to roll on the pavement past the doorman and into the foyer like I did. But I'm too old to train my weapon on everyone.

Wow, where to begin? We knew this was coming. We knew, as soon as it was announced that Super Bowl XL would be in Detroit, that we'd be forced to hear criticisms of our beleaguered city. But honestly, does Telander--or the Chicago Sun Times for that matter--really feel like there is much to gain from a hack piece like this? In employing some of the most cliched stereotypes of Detroit, Telander does nothing to substantively argue his case against Detroit as a Super Bowl venue. Every one of his Detroit-demeaning references are parroted from half-wits before him--e.g., Jimmy Kimmel and those punks in Sacramento, to name a couple. He reaches for nothing but the low hanging fruit (easily picked with little effort exerted), leaving the true discussions of Detroit's merits to writers of diligence. In fact, his own view--that New Orleans should be the permanent site of the Super Bowl (which I happen to agree with)--is lost amidst his derivative vitriol.

Who is Telander? According to his write-up for the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame, he is a former Northwestern football player and past senior writer at Sports Illustrated. Further, he is the author of the 1976 basketball book entitled "Heaven is a Playground," which was ranked #15 in SI's all-time sports books and is generally considered one of the best of its genre.

I don't know whether it is his failed attempts to regain the success of thirty years ago or his John Feinstein/Peter King-envy, but bitterness and old age seem to have caught up with a writer once considered talented. He has taken the inflammatory route in what seems a sad attempt to draw attention to himself. And given that I'm posting about it right now, it has probably worked. But with the rest of the national media giving Detroit its chance to rise to the occasion rather than damning them with history, Telander's childish insults and incessant complaining smack of unprofessionalism.

Bill Emkow's blog [MLive]
Motown: Wrong city at the right time [Chicago Sun Times]