The worst kind of punditry

Fox's Alexi Lalas is chatter for the sake of chatter

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Obviously, I’m biased. I don’t much care for Alexi Lalas, which I’ve made clear. But this isn’t about him exactly. It’s just that he’s the type of media analyst that dabbles in this kind of horseshit all too often to justify his existence. We can thank First Take for this, the idea that debating about sports was more important than actually watching sports. That players and what they accomplish in a game or month or season are merely doing so so that a bunch of people in a studio can debate what it means and where it ranks amongst other players currently or in history.

Everything has to be clearly defined, and we can’t do that unless we give every player, coach, team a slot. They either have to be better than this guy or worse than this guy or whatever.

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This is just noise for the sake of making noise. The noise is the point. This follows so many “discussions” where the point isn’t to truly appreciate something or give it some kind of perspective, but the actual discussion is supposed to be the main point. The headline isn’t that Kylian Mbappe is currently playing better than anyone. It’s that “ALEXI LALAS SAYS MBAPPE IS THE BEST IN THE WORLD.”

Tossing out the term “best player in the world,” didn’t use to be about some mythical ranking, and that ranking is the story or some sort of sign of authority or decree from whatever analyst trying to get attention. It was just something you said to express how well someone was playing, and how they’d attained a level we rarely see, no matter for how long. It wasn’t really anything more than a descriptor, a long-form adjective to convey truly special play. We didn’t actually care if someone was the best player in their sport or not, and it’s almost always impossible to figure out. There’s a group that can take that title at any time and then share it around like a joint.

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Now it’s just fodder to fill up the cycle, because there can’t be any dead air or simply time to breathe. So Fox pays people like Lalas because they constantly make noise and have no problem constantly chattering away, even if they have nothing really to say because all Fox needs is the chatter. Lalas can do three minutes on whether Kylian Mbappe is the best player in the world, come up with some arbitrary criteria to define it in his mind and express it like it’s the only true measure, and then whether or not he’s willing to bestow his figurative sash to Mbappe. It’s not what Mbappe is doing on the field, it’s what Lalas is saying about it that’s seemingly important.

It’s empty, of course. It doesn’t mean anything. And yet we’re bombarded with this kind of shit all the time. ESPN is built on a foundation of Lebron vs. MJ, and it’s pointless. Same goes for Lalas’ power rankings every day. It’s empty hot air meant to look controversial. It’s lowest common denominator stuff.

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But Lalas wasn’t alone on Sunday. Adam Schefter was around to spread the same kind of propaganda that agents and front office types have been feeding him for their own agenda for years that he gets to parrot and portray as being “inside.”

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Read that drivel and see if you can find any kind of description of what it is Deshaun Watson has actually done, or what his treatment involves, or who’s administering it for him, or what the benchmarks of progress are.

One would think admitting to his dozens of acts of sexual assault would be the first step of any sort of “recovery,” and yet he’s never done that. So what the fuck does anything else matter that he’s supposedly doing? Maybe Watson one day will run for the celebrity safe haven of sex addiction or something, but what requires treatment here? Either you know not to assault people you hired to work for you as physical therapists or you don’t. It’s not like Watson has some dangerous and rare fetish. Even his own lawyer made it clear he thinks all massages and masseuses can be hired for sex work. Watson couldn’t bring himself to hire actual professionals, this was some loophole in his mind and mind only. He probably still doesn’t think he did anything wrong, and he certainly hasn’t demonstrated thinking so in any public way.

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But you can always count on Schefter to carry some agent’s or player’s water when they need it. He’s a sycophant, meant to boost the image and popularity of the league. He’s by far a bigger hanger-on than what a lot of fans think agents are, because at least agents make no bones about working for players and protecting them from all sorts of things. They do a job. Schefter is just the biggest example of a nerd who doesn’t want to have to stop hanging out with the captain of the football team. He still lusting after that hello in the hallway. That’s the only purpose he really serves.

Saturday’s Sunday night massacre

Now that the Indianapolis Colts are becoming the joke we all thought they would be, it was hard not to picture Jim Irsay’s oddly colored face with its shit-eating grin at the press conference announcing Jeff Saturday’s hiring by recounting all the stories Saturday told him when it was last call in some hotel bar every time the Cowboys scored Sunday night. The assured look in Irsay’s eyes that he knew better and was getting away with something by hiring someone off the couch, the unearned arrogance of being rich and having no one tell you you’re a moron, ever. I’m sure Colts fans see it, too, and it’s a shame they had this foisted upon them. This team already quit on Irsay’s buddy, and the image of the Cowboys putting up 54 points should always be juxtaposed with this:

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Cause and effect.