These are the dog days for sports media too

• Trying to stay hydrated and cool — especially under the collar — is near impossible (really trying to save on the air conditioning bill). So when a Seattle sports blogger and radio talk show producer Liz Mathews began spouting the deeply flawed research from USC sociology professor Michael Messner about the underrepresentation of women in sports media, I felt my temperature rising before I responded.

Actually, we had a fairly good and civil conversation on Twitter — the gist of my counterpoint is right here — that I hope continues beyond this sequence today. I had never heard of Liz before but saw her comments on a retweet and love how this social media tool makes it easy to discover people with similar interests and with whom you can engage directly, sight unseen. She’s sharp, well-informed and passionate about sports. I just wanted to offer something else to think about, and indeed, one of her followers has done the same:

“I guess I just see things as biz opportunities. There’s obviously a market for sports targeted to women. Do it b4 big $ catches on!”

Precisely! What I’m addressing on my new sports site goes to the heart of some of these matters — especially the business and future of women’s sports — and I consider the time spent today on Twitter a quite useful piece of slice research as well as a chance to sharpen my arguments. For what I have in mind, I’m going to have to defend myself more vigorously than Messner could ever imagine.

Given the fawning and largely uncritical attention he’s gotten for his survey, he’s likely never had to be on the lookout for pitchforks.

• A growing array of pitchforks, knives, axes, shivs and other sharply lacerating tools are truly out for Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom, who recently won the Red Smith Award, the highest honor given by the Associated Press Sports Editors. First it was an elegant takedown from the legendary Dave Kindred, pointing to Albom’s retraction after writing about events at the 2005 Final Four that did not happen:

“Note to journalism students: This is known as fiction. It can get you expelled.”

Now the bombastic Jason Whitlock has chimed in on The Big Lead, lambasting Albom, the APSE and the newspaper industry in his usual carpet-bombing fashion:

“Excuse the arrogance, but the idiots running APSE should’ve invited me, Bill Simmons, Adrian Wojnarowski, Will Leitch, Dan Wetzel, Mike Florio, Dan LeBatard and TJ Simers to pontificate about the stupidity of newspapers. (I didn’t check with any of these people about writing this. They’re just a few of the many people in the business with the balls to do things differently. They might disagree with everything I’ve written here.)

“Instead, the sycophants invited their bottom chick to make love one last time.”

Whoa there! I love audacity with the written word, but I wonder when — or if — Whitlock ever realizes when he goes over the line. He may just have done that here.

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