If, or more realistically, when the Portland Trail Blazers are eliminated, it will mark the end of the deepest playoff run for the franchise in almost 20 years. They should be focusing on this triumph, and what it portends for the future. Instead, the organization is picking a petty fight with a local publication over a throwaway post published late Saturday night, over the post’s salty Skip Bayless-scented headline.
Saturday night the Blazers squandered a big first half lead and home court advantage and lost Game 3, 110–99, to the Golden State Warriors. The result gave the Warriors a commanding 3–0 lead in the series, which is functionally the same thing as stamping their ticket to the NBA Finals. Soon after it was over, Tim Brown, the “Sports Trending Editor” of the Oregonian, published a lazy and actually-not-obligatory roundup of tweets from Blazers fans, NBA watchers, and lame-brained viral-hunting meme jockeys. Maybe these kinds of Twitter roundups are meant to be cathartic for fans, but mostly they suck mondo ass.
There are 131 tweets embedded in Brown’s stupid post, mashing together bot-crafted shit like SportsCenter’s Twitter account recycling the grim success rate of teams down 3–0 in NBA playoff series—spoiler alert: it’s bad—with one each of every meme GIF ever made, plus, like, some internet blue check mark drearily firing off “This is a tough one.” It’s Content Mill chum—there’s no angle or insight or purpose to the blog, except to get a thing onto the internet with the minimum amount of effort. You could call it clickbait, except that would be an insult to the shit-hearted craftsmanship of quality clickbait.
The worthless blog would’ve vanished unceremoniously into the void, except that Brown (or whoever put the headline on this thing) shined Skip Bayless up into a “national sports writer” and repurposed a characteristically dyspeptic Bayless tweet into a spicy headline:
Satisfied that this headline expressed something worth sharing with fellow humans, the Oregonian then socialed the post, with the headline as the text of the tweet. Predictably, this tweet was seen by members of the Trail Blazers organization, among them Chris McGowan, the team’s president and CEO. Probably the right thing for McGowan and those in his employ to do with this kind of internet junk is sigh and grit their teeth and ignore it, but here he has chosen another course:
This is super-duper dumb. The post makes the Oregonian look like a desperate team site, debasing themselves in the foolish hope that a critical mass of crap will pass as worthwhile content. McGowan’s performative disgust and oath of vengeance make the Trail Blazers look small and vindictive. Just a real dearth of dignity and self-respect, all the way around.