For the past three decades, Mike Wilbon has earned a living barely disguising his contempt for you, the filthy peasant sports fan. Whether boasting to the world how unsurprised he was about Sean Taylor being murdered, or chastising you for looking to him for gossip from his White House partygoing, or pissing and moaning about people who like watching the NFL draft, Wilbon is one of the last stubborn holdouts of the old media era, when sportswriters labored under the delusion that they mattered.
And his worst delusional tendencies came out in full force this week, when he got into a pissing match with the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg, who is maybe the best sports blogger in the universe. It started with Wilbon writing a troll piece with Tony Kornheiser in ESPN The Magazine's D.C. package, in which he called D.C. a "terrible" sports town, unlike real sports towns like Los Angeles. Yeah, Los Angeles. Steinberg wrote an item about that, wondering why Wilbon "seems to go out of his way to antagonize the fans who helped turn him into a national star."
Wilbon, gutless and phony troll that he is, promptly rowed back his criticism of D.C.—suddenly it was not "terrible," but "a pretty good sports town ... but not great"—but compensated by calling Steinberg and ESPN's Bram Weinstein, who'd also objected, "little babies" who were scared by manly, badass Michael Wilbon's refusal "to speak a company line that agrees with their hypersensitive feelings." He also went on Twitter and called them "punks," because Michael Wilbon is A MAN.
"Telling readers how great they are as sports fans was never one of my priorities," Wilbon wrote. Michael Wilbon will not pander to the fans! Michael Wilbon saves his pandering for the famous and powerful people he's cravenly starfucking.
So Steinberg wrote a follow-up about how Wilbon is a gutless starfucker who won't stand by what he writes, which he actually expressed about as politely as he could, because Steinberg is great:
I think it's great that Wilbon is still willing to speak truth to power between rounds at Columbia, celebrity roasts and expense-account lunches with Earvin. My only counter would be that it's cool to speak truth to power when the power is a team owner, or a sports network, or a washed-up quarterback living on past accomplishments. Flaming ordinary sports fans in your town for not being passionate enough strikes me as a less noble journalistic mission.
At that point, Wilbon lost his mind, tore off his face, and demonstrated that he's Tony Kornheiser in a fat suit by posting this Facebook rant directed at Steinz:
I've seen increasingly how impressed Dan Steinberg is with himself and his non-column. What I wonder is whether he's smart enough to know that when he takes a shot at Earvin Johnson flying to a celebrity roast at Landsdowne Steinberg also is belittling Don Graham's massive charitable crusade to raise millions of dollars for tuition of D.C. High school children. Don Graham, last I checked, is still Steinberg's boss…or does he think it's the other way around? And when Don asked me to co-host that golf tournament to raise those dollars, I was thrilled to do it. If Dan wants to match Earvin's donation to help a D.C. Kid pay college tuition, it would be welcome. Then again, it's fair to wonder about the judgement of someone who would show up looking like a slovenly bum at a memorial service for the late Mr. Abe Pollin. If you're going to wrap yourself in D.C. Sports patriotism, Dan, have the decency to come to a public service honoring the patriarch of D.C. Sports (while representing The Post, no less) in a professional manner. Then again, I'm sure you'll find some excuse for that, too. You and your tag-team partner, Bram Weinstein, seem to think I'm under some obligation to run my opinions past you, like you're my editors…or even qualified to be that. Anytime, anyplace you want to post and compare resumes or career highlights I'm more than happy to engage. Until then, I'll form my own opinions, popular or not, without seeking your permission.
Holy shit, what a bleeding hemorrhoid. Wilbon has since apologized for the part about Steinberg's appearance, which means he's totally fine with the parts where he tries to tattle on Steinberg to his boss, sneers at him for not being as rich as Magic Johnson, and asks to compare resumes. ZOMG YOU'RE SO TOUGH, WILBON! YOU REALLY SHOWED THOSE JUNKY JUNKSTERS!
This is what you're paying $8 million for, ESPN. You're paying all that money to a petty bag of shit who enjoys using his former position and his celebrity connections as a means of exalting himself. Who writes a stupid troll piece and, when someone calls it a troll piece, cries about how it's a "personal attack."
Wilbon likes to pretend that he's some sort of accomplished journalist when he's spent the past decade dressing up like a cop and hosting Who's Now. Shit, ESPN doesn't even bother crediting him with stolen shit in the BottomLine, that's how useless he is as a source of information.
Wilbon accused Steinberg of kowtowing to D.C. sports fans. Well, I know Steinz A LITTLE BIT, Wilbon, and I can tell you that isn't the case at all. In fact, half the comments on the D.C. Sports Blog are from Skins fanboys threatening to shit in Steinberg's coffee. You'd know that if you read it, but that might feel a little bit like work, and you don't work anymore. That's what frightens you about Steinberg: He's doing the job that you and Kornheiser staked your reputations on, and he's working his ass off, and he's reaching the fans. While you sit on a bag of money and flap your mouth on TV, knowing you're a total fraud.
What constituency do YOU serve, apart from that of your own inflated ego? You're using your fame and notoriety as a way of bullying any other journalist who would dare call you out for spewing bullshit. And it IS bullshit, Wilbon. Your degree from Northwestern doesn't give you any extra magical dose of credibility when you play with heads on sticks. You're just like the rest of us; the only difference is that you don't know it. Fuck off, Wilbon. Any sports town is a better sports town without you in it.