Buzz Bissinger is the hot topic of the sports blogosphere right now, thanks to his livid lashing out at Will Leitch during the latest episode of HBO’s “Costas Now”. And now the author of “Friday Night Lights” tries to explain his tormenting tirade.
Bissinger appeared on Dan Le Batard’s radio show on Thursday to discuss his demonstrative attack on Deadspin & other sports blogs.
Based on what we heard, Buzz wasn’t apologizing for the things he said, but he was sorry for the way he said them.
Bissinger started out by explaining he was a “man of passion” (like Bruce Pearl?), and he let his emotions get to him:
There were some things I should not have said. I shouldn’t have used profanity, I shouldn’t have been as hostile in my approach to Will Leitch, ’cause it makes me look bad, its unprofessional and its unfair to him … I don’t care if it’s Will Leitch or anyone, no one should be treated the way I treated them. Just wasn’t right.
I don’t take back a word of what I said. I have a tremendous amount of problems with blogs. It doesn’t mean all blogs are bad. It doesn’t mean I’m against free speech, because I’m not.
So, why fly so far off the handle in the first place?
The reason for it was is that I really care about this passionately, because, you know, I think blogs are a threat, not a threat to old school, it’s not a threat to M-M-S’es, as they call it, the mainstream media, it’s a threat to writing and reporting, which is what I’ve done for 40 years and what many people have done better than me.
It’s not all just about what flies into your head, and let’s, you know, put it down, and let’s be nasty and mean-spirited and hope we get as many posts and comments as we can so traffic increases and then, bingo-bango, we make some money. That’s not what it’s about.
But Le Batard, himself a long time newspaper columnist, can see the writing on the wall when it comes to new media. He responded, “But here’s the thing, though, Buzz - you and I don’t get to decide, the mainstream does.”
Bissinger grudgingly agreed, admitting, “You’re right. Whether I like it or not, this is the wave, I guess, of the future.”
Maybe it was being on camera that brought out Buzz’s snide showmanship:
Sometimes you make your point too emphatically. you’re in front of an audience, and you get hooked up in the moment. And maybe it was too sweeping a generalization. There are some good blogs out there … But I think the basic tone of these things is to be nasty & mean-spirited and to embarrass athletes and embarrass people, because unfortunately whether we like it or not, that’s really what plays in American culture today.
Overall, Bissinger believes he was right to bash blogs, but also realizes that the way he opinionated on-air was way overdone:
I was angry and overly impassioned, and for some reason Deadspin rubbed me the wrong way, and he rubbed me the wrong way, and that was not his fault, and I got too wound up, which is frankly something I’ve probably done 100 times in my life, and I regret it. I regret it.
I embarrassed myself, and I may have embarrassed other brethren in my profession, and I feel terrible about that. And I feel terrible that people who were fans of my books ripped me and saying that I’m burning them or throwing them out.
And I regret that obviously there was a way to say it, with a tone that could have been forceful and strong, but not the tone that I used. But these things obviously just infuriate me.
At then end of the interview, Le Batard was surprised how smoothly things went, saying, “That is not what I was expecting.” Guess he’ll have to save his bleep button for the next time Kyle Turley & Robert Smith come back.
Audio of the full interview can be found here.