We take a brief break from talking about the Olympics to talk football. Well, not really football, but the reaction to Mizzou’s Michael Sam’s attempt to become the NFL’s first openly gay player.
No big deal, right? Ha! All around the country it was a huge deal. The New York Times even sent out a breaking news announcement when the story broke. Think about that for a moment. Sad, right? And yet what did your local sports anchor say about it?
Your sportscaster didn’t have anything to say? Then you don’t live in Dallas, where WFAA’s viewers look forward to Dale Hansen’s occasional Unplugged commentary. Hansen, in his typical fashion, disassembled those NFL insiders who say being gay is a distraction teams don’t need.
You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You’re the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy’s welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they’re welcome….You love another man? Well, now you’ve gone too far!
Typically Hansen’s words would have reverberated around Dallas for a couple days with a few attaboys and not much more. God knows WFAA didn’t do much to help spread the piece. They didn’t even mention it in their Twitter feed. But thousands of viewers did.
According to veteran TV critic Ed Bark, Hansen’s piece was seen by about 340,000 people. But since then the piece has been viewed online more than 1.2 million time on YouTube alone. It’s been shared on Facebook more than 40,000 times and on Twitter it’s still going strong three days later.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) February 13, 2014
Yep, that’s Jimmy Kimmel taking time to give props to a sports guy in Dallas. It was retweeted 400+ times in the first hour after he posted it.
And that is why your sports anchor’s head is exploding right now. Because while their bosses are telling them to show clips and banter with the news team, hundreds of thousands of people are eating up the fact that an old white guy in Dallas is calling out the NFL for narrow-mindedness. They are applauding old-school editorialism in a very 21st Century way.
As budgets are cut and newsrooms shrink all around the country, it’s typically the veterans like Hansen who are getting run off in favor of hipper, cheaper, younger talent. That’s what makes social media’s big embrace of Hansen’s commentary so rewarding. Now, if only general managers and publishers will take note.
Now back to our regular programming.
About Project TILWO — I watch Sochi 2014 Olympic coverage on TV and online then share the lessons I learn, with occasional help from my friends. Edited by Lynn Hess @ Premier Proofing.