Yesterday, I was directed to the startling Wimbledon story by New York Times writer William Rhoden, where he went to the event, saw the first two sets of Nadal/Federer and then, amazingly, decided that Rafael Nadal's victory was inevitable, so he decided to go to the movies with his wife instead. From his piece:
Who thought that in a stretch of 24 hours, Venus Williams's great accomplishment - a fifth women's singles championship - would be dwarfed by a tennis marathon?
Who thought? Not us. So we watched as Nadal took a commanding two-set lead, concluded that this was Nadal's day and decided to take in a movie, "Hancock."
The livid e-mails poured in yesterday. One in particular, from a popular author who chooses to remain nameless, was especially angry. Here's a snippet:
This should not be used as evidence that bloggers are righteous or smart or anything. But it is an example of a columnist at the most prestigious newspaper in the country who is either burned out on his job, or just negligent, or simply has been doing the same thing for too long to give a rat's ass.
It should be noted that Rhoden has written some incredible pieces and has a brilliant body of work at the Times. At the very least, it seemed baffling that the Times would actually run this story. What's that phone call to his editor like? "Hey, here's the hook: I was at the greatest tennis match in the history of sports and I walked out to go see "Hancock." Yeah! I'm that guy! Can you believe it?" Maybe it makes sense from that angle, but you get the sense that was a story he wasn't planning to write. But should his bone-headed judgment cost him his job?
(Update: No. He shouldn't lose his job. Dumb question. Rhoden was "vacationing" and just happened to be there. (Or, not, rather.) So swords should be sheathed.)