Debunking Erroneous Sentiment on CD9

My last column on ESPN for awhile…spilled way too much vitriol this week, my apologies for that.

Gosh, I love ESPN, just not the voice of one of their lead writers and I’m sorry to be combative here.

No one is expecting this in the short term. They're hoping.

I had a chance to review this article on ESPN on Charlie Davies and yet again I have a number of problems with the qualitative nature of this column.

My first question is: What audience is the writer addressing in these statements below?

So when this Web site reported in February that he’d be able to return much sooner than expected, elation followed.

Elation … and unrealistic expectations.

Precisely who is counting Charlie Davies absolutely in for the World Cup at this point? Who?

Just who has unrealistic expectations here? I’m not quite certain. Did you poll people? Where are you getting your sentiment from?

What you could say is that most fans are not yet counting him out.

How many casual fans or uber fans out of 100 did you poll that had that specific “expectation.”

Not TSG or our community as recently as today or others for that matter.

And some clarity on this statement:

What’s often overlooked is that these aren’t your run-of-the-mill soccer injuries that Davies has had to overcome. All common soccer knowledge of injury recovery timetables is irrelevant.

Once again, precisely who is overlooking these injuries. Who is? Nobody.


There are no expectations here, there is hope, positive sentiment, positive momentum and a dramatic story that has everyone rooting for a Hollywood ending.

They’re categorically not expectations.

And further, you’re missing the story, here.

That is, that a man who couldn’t walk in October, underwent five hours of surgery before anyone knew what is was on and who the U.S. Soccer Federation said had injuries that “were not life-threatening but ‘possibly’ career-threatening,” is back at it in less than six months.

That, ESPN, is already a miraculous recovery; the sentiment that your prose in closing nonchalantly tosses under the bus.


I’m not an optimist (well I am actually) but for this column my objectivity lies with the accomplishment and the hope that Davies has and has given those around him. Again, it’s not expectations; never was.

Here’s a better set of expectations, that one of the highest quality sports broadcasting company in the world seeks to publish knowledgeable, well-thought commentary by experts in the subject matter not who seek to be controversial merely for controversy’s (and their web traffic’s) sake.

I don’t want to tune it Soccernet to “see what they say next” that’s not what an authoritative source on soccer news should aspire to.

Here’s a thought. How about letting people know that Michael Bradley broke his nose today? or…

How about commenting on Clint Dempsey’s awesome Juve goal the day afterward like last Friday instead of six days later?

18 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Matt Mathai on 2010/03/24 at 5:53 PM

    This guy’s not very well-informed but he continues to spout his inane opinions. He uses that old writer’s trick, a straw man that he can cut down. You’re exactly right – nobody intelligent is ‘expecting’ CD to make the WC team. It’s probably fair to say that many, maybe most, of us are hoping he does, because that’d be a fantastic story of guts and hard work.

    Maybe if you ignored this writer he’d go away. Frankly, all you’re doing is driving traffic to this guy’s site, which is more than he deserves.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/24 at 6:09 PM

      I know Matt. Last time for awhile ill reference it.

      I have no problem with opinion. What I have a problem with is using assumed statements that are incorrect and then chastising the audience that supposedly made them.

      And I’m done.


      • The ol’ “strawman” is such a great gimmick for politicians and sportswriters alike! Set up the fake “some people” and then knock ’em down.

        See? Winning an argument is easy when you make up your opponent!


  2. Posted by i like tuesday on 2010/03/24 at 6:20 PM

    Seems to me that intelligent fans expect Charlie Davies to make the World Cup team knowing full well that it will be a miracle when he does.


    • Nailed it. I truly believe he’s going to be there, and I say that with the full understanding that it will be against all odds that he does so.


  3. Posted by Tripp on 2010/03/24 at 7:09 PM

    There seems to be a rather sad trend of not putting money into the writings at ESPN and SI. I found out earlier this week that the Limey had written their final article for Beside TSG and, The Limey Blog was the only American oriented sites worth while. Here is a link to their archive if you have never read them. The older the blog the better the article, so keep going back.


  4. Posted by Kevin on 2010/03/24 at 7:34 PM

    Please don’t get me going on about ESPN matt. You’re absolutely right tough. We SHOULD “expect” quality from a major proffessional sports media company, but educated viewers of the world’s game know that we can only hope. In fact, I would give Davies higher odds of making the WC roster and wearing the captain’s armband than I would expect to read quality about soccer from ESPN. Why stop there? At their rate, I give higher odds to the statement that THE WORLD WILL END IN 2012 than the odds I give ESPN to EVER produce quality material relating to soccer.


  5. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/24 at 7:47 PM

    Forget ESPN – stick with the BBC!


    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/03/24 at 7:50 PM

      In the US? The other day when I said Sky is the best, I completely forgot about BBC.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/24 at 7:53 PM

      Love the bbc and the guardian. The guardian is great.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/24 at 7:58 PM

        Jonathan Wilson is good. And Henry Winter (Telegraph) is also good – great reasoning and perspective. The magazine that I subscribe to is FourFourTwo – obviously heavy English focus, but still a great publication for football in general. I love The Sun for it’s entertainment value (and Page 3!)…


        • Jonathan Wilson’s writing on football tactics have brought me to a new level when it comes to understanding the game, love his stuff. And The Guardian’s in-game commentaries are how I follow matches while at work, fantastically entertaining.


        • Posted by Michael on 2010/03/25 at 9:13 AM

          George, thanks for the tips on those two. Already found some good stuff.

          Anyone else have some faves? (apologies if this has been covered elsewhere)

          Man, it would be great to have a repository for thoughtful and well written articles so I wouldn’t waste my time searching or reading drivel on soccernet.


  6. Posted by Gino on 2010/03/24 at 8:30 PM

    Just a quick devil’s advocate defense for Soccernet. I read that article by Ives Garlacep on Soccernet and couldn’t help but read countless subsequent posts by overeager people who proceeded to list Davies in their “official” World Cup Starting Eleven. One of the big reasons why I pretty much stopped commenting on Soccernet articles is because of the juvenile mentalities I too often encountered there. Too many people with unrealistic expectations and knee-jerk responses to pretty much everything related to our beloved Nats. This is the main reason why I don’t publicize your website to Soccernet readers. I’d just rather keep a lot of their convulted blather away from the only place I can count on reading smart and interesting viewpoints. Anyway, I’m guessing that the author of the article you mentioned above was referring to this gaggle of yahoos. (Rant over)


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/24 at 9:56 PM

      Gino — thanks for the converse to our post.

      I think that’s a fair assessment on prior coverage…I think the question becomes, what audience is Soccernet targeting.

      Good point on the first article at Soccernet.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/03/24 at 9:58 PM

      Gino I know exactly what you’re talking about man: where an article about one of the main catalysts to the MNT attack recovering from hell quickly (and I mean at a rate of exponential, tachyon like change) becomes a club-centered/club-jingoistic argument over why Chelsea fans suck so much arse and why Man United fans deserved to be sodomized. It’s ridiculous.


  7. TSG has become my number 1 place for soccer news, FYI.

    I was Soccernet, then went to SI, now it’s TSG. The evolution of the American supporter trolling for decent news source.

    Thank you Matt, and I hope it brings you riches and glory (or free beer, at the least).


  8. Agreed with Gino. Both ESPN and SI columnists have speculated that Davies would be back in time, at the very least as a reserve. A couple of months ago, the AP reported that Davies would “unlikely” recovery in time. Last month, the AP reported that “several media outlets” were reporting that Davies might be able to return given his “miraculous” recover. Some niche podcast and blogs I read even place Davies as a starter, probably more wishfully than anything else, but if the media is reporting as much, I see no problem with the linked-to article above trying to counter those unrealistic sentiments.


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