Yesterday was a tragi-comedy in two parts on Deadspin -- a train wreck that was equal parts grimace and grinning disbelief. Former Vikings QB and ex-ESPN NFL analyst Sean Salisbury, who clearly has had it up to here (with here being as high as your hand can reach, plus a few more miles) sent Deadspin a series of rambling e-mails indicating he would be suing the site and others (including ESPN) for ruining his reputation. (We would include the particulars of the why and the what, but would that just make us another defendant?). He also says he will be writing a tell-all book about his time at ESPN. Everything looks legit at this point and Deadspin ran with it -- printing both his initial threat and then a series of e-mails he sent as follow-ups. And all of them were sent from his iPhone, which didn't help in the grammar, spelling or punctuation departments.
In truth, we're not all that surprised that something like this has happened. Sports figures/personalities still haven't adjusted to having their off-field antics so heavily scrutinzed or publicized. If one site was going to bear the brunt of a backlash, it would be Deadspin -- which has, in our opinion, leaned more heavily on tabloid-type stories in recent months while still trying to be a gossip site, offbeat sports site and real journalism site. Deadspin has always carried itself with a certain brazen attitude -- necessary when trying to carve out a niche, but less necessary now. Deadspin isn't the underdog in as many fights these days, but one still gets the sense that they're surprised when people hit back. Just an observation from someone who still checks the site daily and enjoys it.
Salisbury is the perfect case study. He was known to be brash in his playing days, he turned that into a post-playing career with ESPN, lost that gig, lost a radio gig, and now seemingly has less to lose than most. His meltdown yesterday -- and yes, it was a meltdown, regardless of what he might think it was -- was stunning in its scope but not in its mere existence. Perhaps it will best be remembered as a sign of the times. As Stu noted -- in 140 characters or less! -- one of the wonders of the modern age is watching a career self-immolate in real time. Geez Louise.
Welcome to 2009.