New Deadspin, Same Old 'Animal House' Mentality

 New Deadspin, Same Old 'Animal House' Mentality

The “Animal House” of sports blogs is back on the grid. Deadspin, which went dormant last fall when its potty-mouthed writers with eighth-grade mentalities stomped out because new ownership demanded less irreverent writing. Awful Announcing’s Ian Casselberry posted a story saying the Deadspin site is showing new signs of life and hiring writers, but he’s behind the times. A whole new cast of radical characters has already resumed operations.

G/O Media took over Deadspin in the fall and ordered the staff to skip the politics and juvenile tantrums and stick to sports. That went over like a lead balloon. The petulant kids refused to straighten up and fly right. Firings and walkouts followed, and the site stopped breathing.

The new Deadspin now has a heavy New York Daily News influence, including former News writers Carron J. Phillips, Chuck Modiano and Jesse Spector, along with editor-in-chief Jim Rich, hired by G/O Media in January.

Spector was also a national writer following the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball for Sporting News. He was laid off in 2016 and did some freelancing, but couldn’t find full-time work and was thinking about changing careers. He’s already written some stories for Deadspin, and it doesn’t appear the site has changed its demeanor. The first sentence in his first Deadspin story states that former San Francisco Giant Aubrey Huff is an “asshole.” That must have the former staff members proud.

Phillips, former sports and politics writer for The New York Daily News and more recently with The Shadow League, had the lead story on Deadspin Saturday. He’s made Newsbusters mentions many times for his left-wing bias.

Modiano is also a progressive lefty.

So, what’s changed at Deadspin? The staff is now made up of left-stream writers with higher name recognition than those who left in the fall.

Another veteran NHL and MLB writer, Sam Fels, writes that he’s been hired to help “resurrect” Deadspin. He covered the Cubs and Blackhawks previously. “I know. I know the face you’re making. I made the same one when I got the first call,” Fels said of moving to Deadspin. Which has that “Animal House” reputation.

Specter says he is aware of “the territory he was entering. Many former Deadspin staffers and readers are still upset about the site’s downfall since G/O Media took over ownership of the former Gawker Media sites, which has undoubtedly made some hesitant about looking for work there.” Specter said former Deadspin writers have given him their blessing and he won’t get run off by readers.

They weren’t too pleased when Alan Goldsher wrote a straight news story last fall. He was one-and-done because the angry Deadspin reader mob ran him off.

Casselberry said the new Deadspin “will almost certainly be viewed with skepticism,” but not for the reason he thinks. It looks and reads like the same old angry, vulgar writing. Yet Casselberry wonders if the new writers will deliver what the site’s fans love: ‘‘Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion.” Early on, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

The new writers will face “a considerable upward climb,” says Casselberry. But it’s a step in the right direction.

Upward climb? Casselberry is either uninformed or in denial. It doesn’t appear the writers and editor mentioned above need to scale any heights connected with left-wing bias.