It all goes back to Ron Mexico.
In 2005, The Smoking Gun broke the story of a legal complaint about a prominent athlete who “knowingly failed to advise” a partner that he was infected with a sexually transmitted disease. The athlete, then-phenom Michael Vick, was reported to have used the alias Ron Mexico during herpes testing, a story that quickly spread across the nascent blog culture of the Internet.
Will Leitch, an early, struggling blogger, got the idea for Deadspin after taking note of what he believed to be a failure in mainstream sports media: It wasn’t covering or even mentioning stories like the tale of Ron Mexico—stories that sports fans were eating up. Partnering with Nick Denton’s Gawker Media, Leitch launched a site that would talk to the average sports fan like a real average sports fan, eschewing, as the site’s motto goes, “access, favor and discretion.”
Over the last seven years, Deadspin has grown from a one-man operation run out of a bedroom into a formidable counterweight to the sports media industrial complex of Sports Illustrated, ESPN and other players. Along the way, Leitch and successive editors have exposed star athletes and top media personalities, offended countless readers and managed to make over the culture of sports journalism, all from the outside.
On Jan. 16, the site was the first news outlet to report that Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s girlfriend, whose “death” was the basis of one of the more inspiring stories of the past year, was a complete hoax. The story would explode and cement Deadspin’s place at the head table of the sports media world—and the mainstream media’s worst nightmare. … Keep Reading
I tracked down the interview Leitch mentions he did with Bob Costas and Buzz Bissinger. (Braylon Edwards is there too, although he’s mostly a non-factor who seems most interested in fighting for Matt Leinart’s right to party.) The whole segment is mostly frustrating to watch, but it is pretty remarkable to see Costas confuse the random comments readers post below a blog post with the actual post itself, and Bissenger, amid his meltdown, confuse a blog post’s genre tag with the author’s name. A good reminder that the internet isn’t so easy for everyone.
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More from Will: http://tinyletter.com/williamfleitch/letters/volume-1-issue-26-born-in-a-junkyard.