Sports

Floyd Mayweather, Michelle Beadle, and the Dangers of Reporting The Facts

A credential is perhaps the most important thing that any person covering a sporting event can possess. The credential provides access to the press box, to the playing surface, to the locker room. A reporter needs the credential to speak to an athlete or a coach before or after a game, to attend practice, to just be present.

It's how the reporter gets quotes used in stories, or receives background information. It's this information, these quotes, that are used to inform readers and viewers about how what happened happened, like how a guy was playing sick and was a step slow, or how coaches picked up something off of the video and implemented a special play to take advantage.

There was media outrage this weekend when ESPN's Michelle Beadle and CNN's Rachel Nichols were denied credentials to cover the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao fight. The primary cause for this appeared to arise from the fact that Beadle and Nichols had been outspoken in reporting on Mayweather's issues with domestic violence and the repeated beatings he has placed upon various women (there were several others who had their credential request denied, and they also reported on Mayweather's many misdeeds, but Beadle and Nichols were the most vocal when it came to the request denial). And while it's easy to see this as nothing more than a horrible person and his people denying access to his critics, it points to a more important issue, namely the desire that reporters -- beat writers in particular -- work as propagandists and not reporters.

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John Royal is a native Houstonian who graduated from the University of Houston and South Texas College of Law. In his day job he is a complex litigation attorney. In his night job he writes about Houston sports for the Houston Press.
Contact: John Royal