Battle Of The Sportswriters: Oh, It's Already Been Broughten

We noted a while back that Texas Monthly writer Gary Cartwright had written a stinging take on today's Texas sportswriters, saying they weren't as talented or wacky as him and his old gang of Blackie Sherrod, Dan Jenkins, Bud Shrake and Mickey Herskowitz were.

He particularly pointed out two Austin American-Statesmen writers, but also noted that "Houston hasn't produced a warm body since Herskowitz retired."

The Chron's Richard Justice response found its way to the web today, and it's a scorcher.

He oh-so-cleverly poses his accusations as questions, but essentially accuses Cartwright and/or others in the gang of racism, plagiarism and outright making up stories and printing them as facts.

"Fun? Those boys had fun. Like allowing friendship and journalism to get all blurry," Justice writes. "Good thing them old coaches never stopped buying you guys off with food and drink. That didn't influence what you wrote, did it, Gary? Say it ain't so, Gary!"


How about covering the Dallas Cowboys while accepting tickets, paid vacations, and assorted other gifts from the team? Now durnit, that was fun. Only thing is, if a player--let's say a black player--got in a contract dispute with the Cowboys, that feller never had a chance in the media, did he, Gary? I'll bet you've got some dang funny stories about how your generation never talked to an agent or got the other side of a story. Beneath you, right, Gary?

Making up stuff? "What can be more fun than getting liquored up, missing a game, and then writing a story that led readers to believe you were there?"

We believe this next one was about Herskowitz, but we could be misrembering (Justice is careful not to include any names to any allegations):

How about taking quotes from a 20-year-old column and passing them off as new and original work? Did you do that, Gary? One of the people you praised in your article sure did. Ain't heard much from the old boy since a real editor decided to hold him accountable for doing something that would get a reporter in any other department fired.

Justice goes on -- it's really quite the screed, well worth a read.

Neither side exactly comes off looking good. Cartwright's piece, as we noted at the time, was an Abe Simpson rant about the allegedly great good ol' days. Justice's response makes great points, but it's not like today's sportswriters have been dogged investigative newshounds ferreting out stories on steroids or college-recruiting scandals.

It's kinda fun to watch them go at it, though.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly