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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

SI writer fired for Daytona lapse will resurface

Reportedly, a freelance writer for Sports Illustrated's website,, was seen clapping upon Trevor Bayne's win at the Daytona 500. The writer, Tom Bowles, claims it was a "five-second" lapse in judgment which led to his monumental career detour, the buildup of one of the sport's all-time greatest moments. For this, Bowles has become the Jeffrey Maier of sports writing.
In this age where there are hoards of bloggers and writers from untradional media outlets on the beat, press credentials are numerous. When I first heard this story, I assumed it was a member of the "new media." I was surprised to learn Bowles represented SI, which I believe is the reason such strict action was taken.
This situation is sort of like the Broncos beat writer who went for Tim Tebow's autograph in the preseason.
Of course we all know it's wrong to cheer in the press box at any event. I've been known on this blog to be a stickler when it comes to media ethics, but this guy has suffered enough. In his response to his firing, Bowles makes it clear he's passionate about the sport as well as a solid writer, while admonishing his actions at Daytona.
Spots Illustrated should have suspended the guy, but if he was good enough for the gig before this, he should be a good enough writer for them to use in the future. Let me be clear: It's not OK to openly root for a team while working as a member of the press. This doesn't mean the guy should never work again. Place Bowles on probation, maybe don't run his work for a few months. Whatever. This shouldn't be the end of his career, which he's worked quite hard to establish, and it likely won't be, especially with an abundance of new media out there.


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