Cardinals refuse credential to Outsports reporter on Christian Day

When will business leaders, athletic directors, team owners and politicians realize–you can’t suppress negative coverage; you can only, perhaps, delay it.

Most everything eventually becomes public. Just look to the White House (or Baylor University), where stories emerge daily from private discussions and emails. Sports beat writers uncover previously hidden stories as well.

So why in the world would an esteemed franchise, such as the St. Louis Cardinals, deny credentials to a respected media outlet like Outsports for an unspectacular mid-summer baseball game?

Probably, and stupidly, because they feared that Outsports would write something harsh about its Christian Day theme. You see: Outsports focuses on athletes and issues related to LGBQT. Sure, Outsports offers commentary, but so does every other sports media outlet. Typically, Outsports celebrates athletes who are LGBQT, sharing amazing stories about talented athletes.

Instead, Outsports writer Erik Hall bought a ticket and reported the event from the stands, sticking to facts, observations, interviews and clear writing — as he always does. I’ve known and respected Erik since he was a hard-working sportswriter back in college. He’s now a top-notch journalist whose stories are always a pleasure to read. Had the Cardinals done any research, they would have realized this. More so, they failed to understand that denying this reporter a credential caused this negative press.

(Sadly, denial is a choice advocated in many PR courses as a way to deal with crisis communication. This approach typically extends the storyline and inevitably causes more negative coverage. More journalism training is needed for those seeking to work in Public Relations.)

There’s clearly nothing wrong with a team holding a Christian Day, despite absurd comments by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny that Christianity is an afflicted minority. But something is definitely amiss when a team can’t understand fundamental concepts of public relations, fabricates MLB policies and taunts a reporter by telling him to buy a ticket to cover the game.

That’s all kinds of stupid, and it’s most definitely not a Christian approach.



About jgisondi

I am the author of the "Field Guide To Covering Sports," the second edition now available from Congressional Quarterly Press/SAGE, and "Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot" (U of Nebraska Press). Field Guide to Covering Sports, Second Edition goes beyond general guidance about sports writing, offering readers practical advice on covering 20 specific sports. From auto racing to wrestling, author Joe Gisondi gives tips on the seemingly straightforward—like where to stand on the sideline and how to identify a key player—along with the more specialized—such as figuring out shot selection in lacrosse and understanding a coxswain’s call for a harder stroke in rowing. In the new Second Edition, readers also explore sports reporting across multimedia platforms, developing a foundational understanding for social media, mobile media, visual storytelling, writing for television and radio, and applying sabermetrics. Fully revised with new examples and updated information to give readers confidence in covering just about any game, match, meet, race, regatta or tournament, Field Guide to Covering Sports, Second Edition is the ideal go-to resource to have on hand when mastering the beat. In "Monster Trek," Joe Gisondi brings to life the celebrities in bigfoot culture: people such as Matt Moneymaker, Jeff Meldrum, and Cliff Barackman, who explore remote wooded areas of the country for weeks at a time and spend thousands of dollars on infrared imagers, cameras, and high-end camping equipment. Pursuing the answer to why these seekers of bigfoot do what they do, Gisondi brings to the reader their most interesting—and in many cases, harrowing—expeditions. You can order both from Amazon.
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