Photo credit: Dave McKenna

Deadspin has dong-shot standards.


I learned this the hard way two years ago this summer. I’d just cleaned out my boyhood home for sale. Along with keepsakes like a cap gun and my one and only Little League home run ball, I found lots of old photographs taken in the late 1970s after I used paper route money for my first camera. Most shots were lousy. But one was sublime.

It was the above photo of John McEnroe. I took it at the Volvo Tennis Classic at the Smith Center, a D.C. field house. This was McEnroe’s first year on the tennis tour, several months after he’d made the Wimbledon semifinals as an amateur. The guy was already known as a big dick—that’s why we loved him!—but this was ridiculous.


I remembered seeing him play as a kid, but I had no recollection of taking or even ever seeing this photo. I had unwittingly captured evidence—with help from misleading shadows and coincidental creases— that Mac was packing something in his pants large enough to smack two-fisted backhands with.

I mean:

I road tested my photo with my old friends who had also seen young McEnroe play back in the day, and they all had the same reaction as me: Adolescent guffaws, like we were back at the school lunch table.


I figured Deadspin would be perfect for this vintage possible celebrity dong. This was, by reputation, THE landing spot for cockarazzi shots.

But my attempt to take it viral was shot down by the blog elders.



“The dong has to tell a story,” I was told from up high.

McEnroe’s boner, faux or no, didn’t meet the in-house standard. It wasn’t even close.

“But ... but ... but ... but ... but!” was my best retort. Nobody that mattered was swayed. The piece never ran.


So, word on the street be damned: Deadspin does not publish dong shots willy-nilly. Remember that as you ogle Mac’s package, or whatever.

That’s the story.

This is Gawker Media’s last week as an independent media operation, and while that shouldn’t affect you much one way or the other as a reader, we’re still going to take advantage of a pretext to run some especially stupid posts. If you have any ideas for such posts, hit us at