JR 240 Assignment No. 1: Sports Article Critique

By Annie Jenkins

For this assignment, I read Tom Curran’s Jan. 30 article Curran: Goodell Deflategate stance shows he’s a fraud and my takeaways were that while it clearly is a column rant, I respect Curran and his work because he has been covering the Patriots beat for over 15 years and works as an NFL Insider for Comcast SportsNet New England. His voice and analysis are unique and I enjoy reading what he contributes.

I must admit that I took the first ever Sports Communication class at Emerson College (Spring 2014) and Mr. Curran helped co-teach the course. With that said, I may be somewhat biased toward his work. But by meeting the man, it helps to put a face and name to the writing. The more I got to know him, the more his writing quirks made sense (he would show us examples of his writing in class) and I gained respect for his style (short sentence structure, rhythm, punctuation and short grafs.)

Mr. Curran writes with conviction in his voice and a sense of humor, while also providing his readers with a strong narrative and does an excellent job of explaining a situation to provide clarity. As one might expect from a beat writer for a professional sports team, Mr. Curran knows his stuff, as he is around the team all the time. He knows the team so well, he even got called out by first name by Coach Belichick, for asking a question the coach wasn’t amused by during the Deflategate scientific press conference “physics seminar” on Jan. 24.

This article in particular appealed to me because it was a commentary about a major issue swirling around the NFL in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. A journalist’s job is to be a watchdog and call out those in power. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has taken a lot of heat this season for how he has handled and ruled on sticky situations, such as the domestic violence issue involving Ray Rice. Now, with the Patriots being accused of cheating for having deflated footballs during the AFC Championship game, Goodell’s actions are at the center of an investigation again.

One of the best lines in the article was, “In September, the NFL’s effort was trying to pretend it knew nothing. Now, it’s been pretending it knew something. Progress?.” I found this to be so amusing because it was written with a harsh tone/edge that I would almost call borderline satirical.

To be a journalist and maintain credibility, one needs to practice good journalism consistently in order to garner the respect of readers to understand when you’re voicing an opinion. Mr. Curran is very familiar with the team he covers, has a local New England sports presence (appearing on various radio and sports television shows), so I believe his recent piece calling out Goodell is justified because Curran spoke his mind, provided a theory of his own and backed it up with convincing information.

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