When a writer feels he can just write a story about Mike Piazza being gay off a whim, we know sports writing has taking a dump in the fish tank. Perhaps it is the fact that the writers feel an obligation to their employers to give a story. I know there was a time where a writer reported just the facts sprinkled in with a little bit of what they saw. In the baseball world, that died in the mid to late 1970s where players like former Pittsburgh Pirates LHP Bruce Kison, Seattle Mariners catcher Bob Stinson and Oakland Athletics RHP Rick Langford all have testified that their privacy was being invaded. In addition, all three have stated that stories were written about them that were not true. Because of that, none of the preceding three will ever do another interview.
It makes it frustrating for a young writer and/ or radio show host who tries to establish himself from their ability to report and interview. How is one able to tell whether a reporter has good intentions or conversely is looking to slander the athlete just to write the story? Because of these jerk-offs, many writers and radio show hosts try to slip under the "media" labeling. Being labeled a member of the media is becoming an insult. Why would one want to be thrown into the grouping of a bunch of evil-intentioned people who use slander and gossip without ever reporting their sources? I can see why one would not want to be.
Odds are, terrible sports writing can be traced to earlier than 1940, but a writer for the New York Daily News named Jimmy Powers went with a silly take on the struggles of the 1940 New York Yankees. While it was true that the team that won 106 games in 1939 when they became the first team in modern day baseball history to win 4 straight World Series Championships (or equivalent Championship Series) was for the most part, in tact for the 1940 season. The team was on their way to an unexpected, but deserved, third place finish behind the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians. However, they finished just two games behind the Tigers with their 88 wins. Still, the team had a down season and the New York sportswriters were all baffled as to why a team that had dominated the American League for the better part of the past 12-13 years had not won games at the same rate.
Powers fabricated a story using the sad situation involving Lou Gehrig to try to explain the Yankees struggles. He decided to blame Gehrig and say a "mass polio epidemic" contracted from the legendary Yankees 1B had infected the entire team and was a reason for the team's struggles. Powers had no choice to retract his story after Gehrig and former roommate Bill Dickey filed a lawsuit against Powers and the newspaper. Nothing like putting the fact of needing something to talk about over reporting facts. No wonder Powers has no wikipedia page and is completely irrelevant.