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Year In Review

What Our Family Members Thought Of Defector In 2020

Father and son play with a toy train set as mother and daughter look on circa 1940's.
Photo: FPG/Getty

The Defector staff asked their family members what they thought of the site this year, or at least for the few months since its launch. Here are their responses.

Dan’s Mom:

I love your stuff! Seriously, some of the content is beyond my level of interest, i.e., Philly sports. But I am not your target audience and I’ll keep on subscribing.

Dan’s Dad:

Defector is perhaps my favorite site and not just because I’m related to someone who works there. It is so diverse and unencumbered by some of the pomposity and arrogance of many sites which spend a big chunk of time patting themselves on the back. To be honest, I don’t like everything on the site but there is such a broad approach I can always find things I like. It isn’t afraid to take chances, doesn’t follow the kind of pack journalism I find mundane and doesn’t take itself too seriously. On top of all that it has forever had the best comments section even when it had a different name. Please keep it up.

Ray’s Wife:

I thought it was all sports, but I do like the food stories. That Chefector thing.

Ray’s Daughter:

The logo. It drives me up the fucking wall. I didn’t know I had OCD until I saw that crooked logo. Straighten that shit up, for God’s sake.

I haven’t read enough of it, but the best thing I read was Here Are Some Birds We Like. I was outraged that a pelican wasn’t included.

Barry’s Mom:

Fun site to check out several times a day; the subject matter is vast so you never know what will be there.

Especially love reading the comments; the new site has a very intelligent following.

The website is top-notch; well done.

Giri’s Mom:

Wow! Very happy to see a group talented writers charting their own way and as a parent of one of them wish them much success!

Chris’s Dad:

First, I want to say how inspiring it is to see writers figure out a way to own their own publication. Bravo! (I also hope you kids can make a living out of this thing…)

And then there’s the writing. Everything I expected it would be. So many great voices; so much stuff that makes for great big coffee spit-takes, and so much that invites a reader to think (or at least this reader), often in the same piece. (And this is the one publication where I look forward to reading the readers’ comments; you folks have the best readership!)

As a guy who’s given up on the one sport I ever followed—pro football—my only suggestion would be to skip all that sports stuff.

Chris’s Mom:

Defector reads never, ever disappoint! Brilliant and hilarious—so proud of you all for making this happen.

Maitreyi’s Dad:

I like that I can read the comments and not lose faith in humanity.

I prefer pieces like yours that are topical, analytical and build nuanced arguments, rather than those that are just stridently anti things.

I prefer pieces that are yours. Is that so wrong?

Maitreyi’s Mom:

I agree with Appa (even though I haven’t read any other articles, I am sure yours are the best). I enjoy reading about how sports intersects with other important current issues like public health, social justice, politics, etc. Most sports blogs and articles are only about sports, but Defector reminds everyone that sports has a far-reaching impact. I guess that was the whole point of it, right?

Kelsey’s Dad:

Historically speaking, keeping up with Kelsey’s exploits involves some combination of money and time. Want to stand in line all dressed-up for the next Harry Potter midnight movie? Okay. We’ll drive. Need a week at softball camp to improve? I’ll take a week off and get you there. Friends start a website and need a boost in cash & readers? Alright. Sure thing. I’m in.

I spent 8.3% of my COVID stimulus check to get on board, and little did I know that I’d have some of the best time-kills of my pandemic life even if I was too early an adopter to get a tote bag. The Defector community has cracked me up with trivia nights and video game competitions, whether or not Tom Brady played like crud, who cooked what for Thanksgiving, surveying weird real estate and even some other sports stuff. Even the commenters are funny. So, what I like most is that it feels like hanging out with funny sports-adjacent friends…

…but I’m not paying 2.3% of my stimmy to get a coffee mug. I feel like at that point it moves from community to cult…

Kelsey’s Mom:

It’s great!

That’s all I got right now…

Lauren’s Dad:

Defector has been a source of happiness and pride in what has otherwise been a rather difficult year. The content has been terrific, and watching you all come together to build something new has been awesome. Being able to make a living doing something you love is special, and I am very proud of you for taking this chance. I am looking forward to seeing the site grow in 2021, including maybe adding a Defector hat to the Merch store?

Luis’s Dad:

When my son joined Deadspin, I believe it was one of the happiest times of his professional career, and his writing showed. Through him, I became a fan of the site. When the troubles at Deadspin started, I shared his and the rest of the staff’s anguish and uncertainty. And I missed their irreverent and sometimes controversial content. But Deadspin, for all practical purposes, was gone.

Then came Defector. I confess I initially became a subscriber to help. Every father wants to help his child. But, as a sports lover, I started to get hooked on the content. The writers are clearly knowledgeable, but their writing is more than informative; it is engaging. You feel that you are talking sports (and other subjects) with friends (or, in my case, my son and his friends) at a bar. I don’t have to agree, and the comment feature allows me to say so. And, believe me, many times I don’t agree, particularly with my son. We don’t even root for the same teams (my Giants have beaten his Patriots in two Super Bowls!).

Anyway, Defector is a lot of fun to read, the pieces are very well written, and I can react when I feel like it (like when my Atletico de Madrid beat Luis’s Barcelona or Pool Boys…). I am looking forward to being a subscriber for many years to come.

Samer’s Dad:

It was so refreshing to see the names of the “old Deadspin.com” editors and writers seen together again under a different banner: defector.com — how appropriate of a chosen name. Congratulations to Tom, Barry, Diana, Samer, Billy, Justin, and the rest of the “Defectors” who get the full credit as well for joining in . I am elated to see my son, Samer joining a fine group of independent thinkers with an outstanding determination to be heard as well as maintaining their independence of thinking and not to be told how to think! Though embarrassing for me, it is fit here to make a confession. As a retired professional with half a century long career under my belt and from a different generation than yours, I always distinguished pragmatism from idealism, and though strived for, and strongly believed in the merit of idealism, I always thought it is for monks and not attainable in a capitalistic corrupt society. Idealism is fragile and difficult – even impossible- to maintain in a transactional business setting. Witnessing your unprecedented move of “mass-resignation”, standing firm in the face of tyranny and not caving in – merely to have a job- was a tremendous move that requires an outstanding amount of courage and sacrifice. Your readers are very proud of you. You rightfully earned our respect and confidence in your stand and publication, especially during a time where “alternative facts” seems acceptable and truth is diluted or murky. I imagine very few would do what you did. Though you are among the few in an ocean of corrupt media, you are our hope of what things will evolve to be in the future. I am proud of all of you for inspiring us that “right can prevail at the end” if you have the courage and will to do right.

You brought to life defector.com from the ashes of the deadspin.com publication that got inflicted with the greed disease by a selfish equity capitalist group. The equity firm envisioned deadspin as a profitable milking cow and wanted to ruin it regardless of the cost to the readers! In contrast, you demonstrated your high care for your publication and your readers. As an experienced businessman, my advice to you is to cherish your new fledgling publication. It is your intellectual and financial investment. Work hard to keep it financially healthy, and do the impossible to survive against all outside forces that will try to sink you. With your attitude of determination, you’ll make it and grow beyond your expectation with the sky’s the limit.  Small businesses always face the toughest first three years then grow exponentially. Not only that based on statistics, but based on my own personal experience. I know. I established my own small textile design firm in New York City and faced the same challenges. I successfully operated that business for 28 years.

We are in the season of Holidays. My good wishes are in order, for all of you and everyone else. 2020 is a year for you to mark and celebrate success, achievement, and realizing the fruits of your strong will. 2020 is a great year not for the rest of us. I wish that was the case everywhere and for everyone. Sadly, I am afraid it is not. I cannot hide an analogy that is crossing my mind right now on how desperately we are in need of our own “defector.com” and “defectors” in Washington as we are witnessing our state of fear, uncertainty, and current abnormality in our life as people.  We are experiencing difficulties nationwide. We are living our own horrible moment of “deadspin.com” after the acquisition, and have been told how to think! I sincerely wish that your experiment can be duplicated.

Tom’s Mom:

One of the very very VERY few bright spots of 2020 was the birth of Defector.  Witnessing you guys hanging together in the end of 2019 on a matter of principle, through the creation of Temporary Unnamed Sports Blog, leading to the creation of Defector, was mind blowing to say the least.  IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC.

This Defector team showed your parental group the way it’s done– that it is still possible to stand on principle and it is still possible to work hard and follow your dreams and be successful.  You guys stood up and said NO for all of us who never had the courage or the confidence to actually scream, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”*  No hiding under the bed for this crew!

You all have built something special.  I could not be more proud.

*Network, 1976

Drew’s Mom:

Hi Drew, pls tell your friends I like the new website, esp its look. Nice and clean looking and good logo too. I don’t really read the sports articles, except your stuff sometimes. I like the human interest articles like the interview with the vegetable gardener Medwyn Williams. The pix of his displays at the Chelsea Flower Show in London were great. And those onions! I’m a gardener too, but not like that.

I also like that the website is up to date on new shows like Emily in Paris. It makes me feel cool that I watch the stuff you showcase.

And I like the daily blasts. Not too long, and getting only one is great. Best of all is no politics!

That’s it, love you, mom