Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bloggolalia: Guess the Anonymous Source

Just a short column for this Friday. I'm the nosy type who always loves trying to guess who "anonymous" is in various newspaper and magazine articles. Now, when "anonymous" is identified as a government official, I have no chance of guessing correctly. There's a lot of those. But what about when your local sports columnist says "a player" said something controversial? You're in luck!

For example, when Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson were competing for the Bills QB position, an "offensive player" on the Bills team criticized Johnson's leadership. Now, why would a player on the offense criticize one of the two contestants before it was clear who was going to win? Johnson used logic, figured out it was Flutie trying to undermine him, and accused him of it. I think he was right.

Or, consider when Charlie Rosen quoted an unnamed veteran Orlando Magic player some years ago who criticized Tracy McGrady's defensive intensity. At the time, the best sources Charlie Rosen had in the league were connected to Phil Jackson in some way. Also, who on that roster was an outspoken veteran with enough credibility to challenge a superstar? Horace Grant, of course, who had played with Jordan and O'Neal and knew what a superstar should be. I figured it out, and, interestingly enough, so did Tracy, who apparently tried to fight Horace on the plane as a result.

Anyway, keep your eye out this year for those "a player" or "a coach" blurbs in your local paper. Beat writers are often not smart enough to disguise who the player is. (And frankly, in basketball, with only 15 players on the squad, it's nearly impossible to disguise identities.) A little sleuthing with a current roster in hand can often reveal the player's identity, and also make your blog more marketable because you can provide extra info on a team. Just don't be wrong!

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