King Kaufman's Sports Daily

Your penis-centric column is a crock! Plus: Where's the Tour de France coverage? And: Lay off the NHL! The (gloriously disgruntled) readers write.

Published July 22, 2005 3:41PM (EDT)

We like to keep the customers satisfied here at the Sports Daily. But on the other hand, when they're unsatisfied, they tend to write better letters. It's time to dip into the ol' in box and let the readers write. Especially the disgruntled one.

We'll start with someone apparently so mad she -- I'm assuming there -- had to resort to a pseudonym. I've replaced her capital letters with italics so your spam filter won't eat this column in case someone e-mails it to you.

Smooches!: Your "Sun Rises in East" cover line made me think that for once, someone at Salon had something to say about the WNBA, that a sportswriter who I read regularly (and most times, agree with) was finally getting around to talking about the Sun rising in the East -- as in, the Connecticut Sun is having the best season of their lives in the league.

They're at the top of their conference -- the Eastern Conference -- and they're making it look easy. Their All-Stars are having, well, All-Star seasons and their overlooked All-Star -- who, in my opinion, has been way overrated -- is kickin' ass and taking no prisoners.

But, I go to your column and it's all about testosterone run amok. Wow. Just exactly what I've been missing in sports coverage. I never get to read about this shit!

I don't even know why I'm wasting my time here. I'm sure, like every other sportswriter in America, you'll give a few obligatory lines in your penis-filled column when Connecticut wins the championship.

I'm sure it'll go something like this: Connecticut Sun wins the championship and former UConn star shines! Now back to what's really important: egotistical, overpaid, petulant men who know nothing about teamwork, sportsmanship or even entertainment. Gotta keep telling these tales!!!!!!!!

Oh, and I know you write about women. I've seen what you had to say about Danica Patrick. It's too bad she, too, is overrated. (Has she won anything?! I already know the answer to that question.) But she sure is hot! And that's all that's important in women's sports. How hot they are!

King replies: If I wrote that much about the WNBA championship, it would be the most I've ever written about it. I'm going to aspire to that.

Also, I don't personally think Danica Patrick is that hot, in the sense meant here. What I wrote about is that she's hot in the media-buzz sense. Part of that has to do with the fact that enough men think she's hot in the Google Images search sense. I'm just not one of them. And while Patrick hasn't won anything yet, that's not the only measure of success. Only a rookie, she's already accomplished some things no other woman ever has.

Now, back to the penises! And speaking of egotistical, overpaid, petulant men, we'll get to Kenny Rogers in a moment.

Lance Armstrong

Tony Cross: I'm wondering when/if you will be writing about Lance Armstrong -- not just him, but the entire Tour de France. I have been getting up at 4 and 5 a.m. every day for the last two weeks to watch on OLN, and it's clear that this is the greatest event going on in the world of sport right now.

I know it's all subjective, but I feel that what Armstrong has accomplished, and is currently accomplishing, is the greatest sporting feat of our generation, if not longer. He's a modern-day Muhammad Ali.

Also, watching all the cyclists suffer, and all the fans go mad, is quite educational on many levels and deserves more exposure. The tactics and politics of the peloton are complex in a way that most American sports are not.

King replies: Letters wondering whether I'm going to comment on the Tour de France and Lance Armstrong have been trickling in for the last week or so. I'd say I've gotten about a half-dozen of them.

I think I've pretty much said what I have to say about Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France here and here and here and here. I don't have much to add.

Barring a crash or something else unforeseen, he's about to win his seventh straight Tour. Good for him. He's a remarkable athlete, and his is a great achievement made even more compelling by his recovery from cancer.

I don't know what makes him comparable to Muhammad Ali other than the fact that, like Ali, who was a hero of mine, he's a hero to many. But I'm kind of over arguing about it. If you think he's a modern-day Ali, it's fine with me, and for all I know it's fine with Ali.

I think Armstrong's specialization in one event -- an equivalent for Ali would be if he only ever fought Joe Frazier -- and the team aspect of bicycle racing make him quite unlike Ali, never mind the absence of any political stands made at personal risk. But then, I don't know much about bicycle racing.

I wish Armstrong well in his coming retirement. His fans say he's made his sport popular in America. I think it's Lance Armstrong, not bicycle racing or the Tour de France, that Americans have gotten interested in. We're about to find out if I'm right. I think it would be cool if I'm wrong. We'll see.


Marc Ethier: I must take umbrage at your reflexive NHL bashing. While everyone else in sports punditry cracks wise about the indifference toward hockey in this country, why not take a look at the sizable minority who are truly impacted by the end of the lockout? We're (cautiously) ecstatic.

Few writers or talking heads seem to concede that there could be fans out there who missed the NHL, and who welcome it back, albeit with trepidation and not a little resentment.

Why join the chorus when you can have a solo? Why is it so hard to admit that hockey is a great game with a lot of fans?

King replies: Hockey is a great game. And I continue to hold out hope that the NHL will get back to playing it someday.

And yes there are a lot of fans, relative to, say, badminton. But not relative to the major sports on this continent. I wish there were more fans. I'm one of them, after all. I wish I could join in on the cautious optimism that the NHL will win more people over.

I'm ecstatic the NHL is coming back too. I'll believe the NHL can do something right when I see it. But I'm willing to be surprised, and hopeful that I will be.

Kenny Rogers

A cameraman who asked to remain anonymous wrote in about Kenny Rogers' second dustup with a photographer, in the county courthouse as he was booked on charges stemming from his first dustup. Rogers eyed the cameraman menacingly and told him that he was getting too close.

I'd written, "I don't know how close the cameraman, Mike Zukerman, was at the time Rogers started talking, but he was far enough away that Rogers' body was in the frame down to about his hips."

Name withheld: I have worked in ENG sports photography, and have covered the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL and NCAA, to name a few. I suspect Zukerman was somewhere between four and eight feet away.

Without going into tedious chip size/focal length/angle of view calculations, that's my best guess. Not all that far away and, at the same time, not exactly breathing down the guy's neck. Probably at the wider end of the lens, since it tends to make for steadier handheld shots. Thence the distance guess.

Now, I've had players walk away from interviews when they didn't like a question (NBA locker room interview) and been told by an MLB outfielder to stop shooting him, when I was told to shoot specifically him by my reporter.

Never been threatened or harassed by a player. Had it happen a few times on other assignments/gigs, usually by morons on the street. Never backed down, never had it come to a serious confrontation.

Kenny Rogers is a ...

King notes: The next word was a very bad word.

Previous column: What the NHL has to do

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