Monday, February 21, 2011

A Gray Area

Jim Gray of NBC and the Golf Channel has earned the reputation as a pretty tough sports reporter and interviewer. Unfortunately, he has also earned the reputation as someone who often makes himself the news, rather than just reporting on it.

Gray got himself kicked off the Golf Channel's coverage of this weekend's PGA tour event in Los Angeles. When Dustin Johnson missed his tee time Thursday, Gray hunted him down for an explanation during the round, which displeased both players and caddies. "In order not to provide further distraction, we've decided to remove Jim from this particular assignment," Golf Channel spokesman Dan Higgins said.

This all might be much ado about nothing, except that Gray has made a career putting himself at the center of the news. Just some of the highlights include:

*His (in)famous 1999 interview with Pete Rose regarding Rose's alleged betting on baseball. No one argued Gray's right to ask the questions, but his approach made him seem petty and vindictive. Gray apologized to fans the following night on NBC.

*A verbal confrontation with golfer Corey Pavin regarding Gray's reporting on the Ryder Cup.

*And who can forget Gray's participation in last summer's "Decision" announcement with LeBron James, where Gray asked 16 questions before getting down to the only question anyone cared about?

There is no doubt that Gray is an accomplished sports reporter, and he deserves his reputation for asking tough questions and not taking 'no' for an answer. But too many times Gray has injected himself into his own reporting. He is almost becoming a caricature of himself, like what happened to Howard Cosell at the end of his career.

The first rule of sports reporting should be "you are the reporter on the story, not the story itself."


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