Will Leitch, the founder and editor of Deadspin.com has been making the rounds in media circles lately.
Leitch recently ran smack into the middle of a tete-a-tete with Dallas Mavericks owner and “fellow blogger” Mark Cuban. I am not sure that Mark is the type of guy you want to take on in a fight. He’s smart, influential, willing to play dirty, and damn competitive.
Let’s set the stage. Cuban had agreed to do an interview with GQ. Leitch is freelancing for GQ. Cuban isn’t a big fan of Deadspin.com and/or Leitch dating back to Leitch’s coverage of this incident.
Cuban agrees to do the interview, although later saying about Leitch’s appearance on GQ’s behalf;
“Its my fault. I was stupid to think that the guy who runs Deadspin could stop being the guy who runs Deadspin. I should have asked for GQ to send someone else. Better yet, I should have stuck to my rules and only do interviews via email.” – Mark Cuban, Blog Maverick
The interview takes place, and the GQ piece is published and is entitled, “The Most Likable Blowhard in Sports.” It’s clear that there was some contention in the interview, but the piece overall is very complimentary of Cuban.
“It takes only about thirty seconds before things turn confrontational, with Cuban attacking me for working as the editor of the sports blog Deadspin.com. But that’s Mark Cuban: He’s known me for maybe thirty seconds and already has no problem calling me a hack. For that I say, God bless him.” – Will Leitch, GQ
So, nothing newsworthy right?
Well, that was until Leitch started his press tours for his recently released book (more on that to follow). Leitch writes a guest post on Gawker Media sister site and tech rag Valleywag where he references his recent experience with Cuban in the GQ interview.
Cuban, who explicitly asked during the interview that this was not to be for any purposes other than GQ, finds this and takes offense posing the following question on his blog;
“Is it ethical for a blogger/journalist to travel on their [GQ's] dime to do an interview for their magazine and then use the interview to generate a blog for his site [Deadspin/Valleywag] from a subject that was not expected to be blogged about. – Mark Cuban, Blog Maverick
At the end of the day, I think Cuban overreacted to the details of the situation. The GQ piece was written and in public record, then quoted from in the Valleywag piece with some tangential experiential information from Leitch. Hardly unethical, at the same time though, hardly the smartest thing for Leitch to do given the underlying subtext to the beginning of the interview.
All of this publicity couldn’t be a better thing for Leitch however as his new book about the underbelly of the sports media landscape hits the shelves on bookstores around the country.
God Save the Fan: How Preening Sportscasters, Athletes Who Speak in the Third Person, and the Occasional Convicted Quarterback Have Taken the Fun Out of Sports (And How We Can Get It Back) is Leitch’s new piece of work. I have it on order and will give a review once it is devoured. (Amazon)
In the meantime, here’s a audio of a interview Leitch did touting the book this week on Boston’s sports radio station WEEI and their morning show Dennis and Callahan.