There was much media drama and ado surrounding the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, primarily for tabloidesque reasons that may appeal to readers of salacious sites like Defector, but are of no importance to an analytical publication like Jaguars Junction. I also happen to be physically located near Jacksonville at the moment. I had planned to attend Sunday’s Jaguars game in person, producing a “meeting of the minds” between America’s favorite Jaguars writer, and the Jaguars themselves. The piece of writing produced by such an occasion would, needless to say, have been hotly anticipated. However, there was more to be considered.
My cousin and I had planned to attend the game. But the forecast in Jacksonville Sunday called for rain. Rain, falling upon your head at a football game, is loathsome to the spirit; soaking to the garments; repellent to the core temperature; chafing to the skin; soaking to the wallet; deflating to the spirit; annoying to the palate; assaultive of the humidity; and antithetical to the notebook. I cannot be expected to operate in such an environment, when all of my concentration is needed to evaluate and interpret the occurences of the game itself. I chose not to attend the game after all, for the same reason that a professional “storm chaser” might not volunteer to plow headlong into a deadly twister: Because journalism should be a profession, not a sentence of punishment. Viewing the game on television, I did in fact see fans in the stands soaked by raindrops, validating my choice. Any responsible employer would support the decision of a responsible professional not to place themselves in harm’s way simply for the sake of the “almighty dollar.” Public clamor for lurid tales must never override our basic need to protect ourselves from excessive moisture.
II: MANAGEMENT ISSUES
As America’s premiere Jacksonville Jaguars writer, I need hardly mention that my services are in demand. Any number of prestigious media outlets have tried to woo me away from the publication for which I currently write, yet I have stayed put out of some misplaced sense of loyalty. If only the same could be said for my employer.
Whenever I send an email to Defector editor “Tom” Ley suggesting a provocative angle for a future story, I receive in reply not effusive praise, but aggressive disinterest, bordering on rudeness. “Whatever,” he tends to email. Or sometimes, “fine.” Often he cannot be bothered to even capitalize his words or insert punctuation in his replies to me. That’s fine, Thomas—you’re only talking to the person who produces the most financially valuable asset that your wretched website can lay claim to (Jaguars Junction). Please, don’t exert yourself too much.
Just as great generals motivate their troops, so too do poor generals fail to motivate their troops, plunging them headlong to defeat. It may come as no surprise to you that my motivation to compromise my own safety in order to attend a rain-soaked fiasco was not bolstered by the insensitive attitude of my direct editor. This is the way of the corporate bully: Try to instill in employees the belief that they do not matter, all while reaping the profit from their toil. Unfortunately for the executives at Defector, I fully recognize the value that I bring to the brand. I therefore felt absolutely at ease making my own decision about whether or not to attend the game, without being troubled by any illusions that I should “take one for the team.” To those who utter such remonstrances, I say simply that I am a member of only one team, and that team is not called Tom Ley’s Wallet. It is called the Jaguars.
III: A THOUGHT
Every team that wears teal is bad. Maybe this is part of the problem.
IV: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Rain may come and go, but poor employee relations is a problem not so easily dismissed for Defector Media. I can only imagine the public outcry that might result were I to take one of my many suitors up on their offer of fame and riches in order to rebrand Jaguars Junction under their own corporate banner. Often have I contemplated savoring the sweet revenge that this would entail, imagining the salty tears of my so-called “editors” as regret filled them for their high-handed and dismissive treatment of me. I have never asked to be treated as a star. I embrace the equality of all humans, with certain reasonable dispensations made for the fact that certain people contribute more value to an enterprise than others. But it seems to me that in their quest to ostentatiously embody the self-satisfied values of a worker co-op, some who sit atop the Defector food chain may be isolating the very people who draw so many Jaguars fans to the site in the first place. I do not propose to air the dirty laundry of the tawdry world of football analysis in this public forum; I mean only to offer some small explanation of the situation to the people whom I actually consider myself to work for: you, the readers.
V: ONE SCENARIO
Were each fan of this column to send me $20 or $50 in the mail, I could film a video in which I “make it rain” on myself as I cackle and proclaim that this has proven that Jaguars Junction must be treated with a greater degree of respect by the people who have wrapped their icy hands around the web-publishing mechanisms that fuel this website. Such a display would be the truest embodiment of the “power to the people” ethos. I leave it to the conscience of each reader to determine if this course is correct, and if so, what denomination of bill to send to me in an effort to demonstrate to the powers-that-be that you will not stand for this madness any longer. It is quite staggering for me to contemplate the fact that I set out on this journey with no goal other than to create an independent source of football analysis unaffiliated with any professional sports franchise, and yet I now find myself at the heart of a web of human intrigue that rivals any John le Carré novel.
VI: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS VS. TEXANS GAME
“Game report: Texans 30, Jaguars 16” – Jaguars.com
“Jaguars Junction” is an independent source of football analysis unaffiliated with any professional sports franchise.