The reporter’s task is to convey useful information to the reader in a timely and lucid manner. Lately, the most devoted scoop hounds in sports media have strayed from this mandate, delivering instead irrelevant and agenda-laden updates to the reader, through cryptic prose-poems that would make William Gass blush. (OK, they still have the “timely” part down.)
Perhaps no one in contemporary literature is turning out more original language than the folks carrying water for commissioners, front offices, star players, or their super-agents. If Defector had thought to endow an award for the best example in 2020, this puzzle box from NFL reporter Josina Anderson would have won:
This year, we were more proactive. Here are the nominees for the 2021 Shams Charania Award For The Divulging Of Information Through Syntax Comprehended By Many. (Some of these have been cleaned up post-publication, but should be celebrated as they originally appeared.)
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, on an injury update for Anthony Davis:
Adam Schefter of ESPN, on a TV show:
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, on Damian Lillard’s unhappiness in Portland:
“The enormous backlash from the Portland Trail Blazers’ process to hire a new coach and his concerns on whether a championship contender can be built have become factors that may push the franchise player—Damian Lillard—out the door, league sources told Yahoo Sports.”
Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, on the Trail Blazers’ process to hire a head coach:
But when Portland reached out for intel from San Antonio figures, the background on Hammon was not nearly as complimentary pertaining to various aspects of day-to-day coaching responsibilities. That sentiment has been echoed by sources around the league.
Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania of The Athletic, on the Timberwolves’ firing of president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas:
Rosas, meanwhile, plunged unapologetically forward right to the end. For a person who spoke so often of being process-driven, he narrowed his eyes much more toward results as the pressure rose.
Adam Schefter of ESPN, on Raiders head coach Jon Gruden’s resignation:
Jon Gruden had a clean sweep of offending NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, women, gays, minorities, all sorts of people.
Shams Charania of The Athletic, on Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated:
Irving has made more than $160 million over his NBA contracts and has a massive Nike shoe endorsement deal, so those who know Irving understand he is not driven right now by money, nor cares for inheriting more, but rather the stand for larger issues in his mind that need his support.
Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic, on the Trail Blazers’ firing of GM Neil Olshey:
After a summer in which Lillard’s frustration with Olshey’s roster construction and the franchise cornerstone’s future in Portland took center stage, the results of the investigation conducted by O’Melveny & Myers, the law firm hired by the Blazers, were undoubtedly an important data point for Lillard and others.
And the winner is …
Shams Charania. Garbling league updates is all fun and games until, one day, you look up and find yourself uncritically relaying the dumbest conceivable reasons to avoid vaccination. It turns out that approaching journalism this way becomes evil the moment there are any moral stakes to your subject matter! Congrats on your first Shamsy, Shams.