Well, almost always.
A recent blog post by Murray Chass criticized Stan Musial for some alleged racist behaviour -- and Pos could not remain quiet. This reply to Chass has been posted on Sports Illustrated's website, in addition to Joe's personal blog.
Years and years ago, I wrote a newspaper column that - technically, I guess - could have gotten me fired. It was a column about silence. I won't go into too many of the details but I'll tell you that the column involved a barber shop, a series of racist jokes and the disgraceful silence of the young man getting his hair cut, the young man being me. I just sat there, in that lost world between embarrassment and rage, while these racist jokes flew around the room. I didn't say a word. I didn't express my disgust. I didn't walk out. I didn't stand up and break out into a "To Kill A Mockingbird" speech. I just stayed quiet. The column was about my own shame, about the shame of being silent in the face of small injustices, about that "Hey, you can't change the world," feeling that I used as a crutch to make myself feel better. ...Pos closes by saying: "[I]t's a shame that tragically unhappy people don't know when they've run out of useful words."
I think back 20 or so years, and I still don't know how I feel about that column. Part of me is proud I wrote it. Part of me is embarrassed. Part of my feels like it took some courage to write it. Part of me thinks it was really a cowardly way out. It's all true. I was very young.
I bring this up now because former New York Times sportswriter Murray Chass has written a post so vile and untrue and devoid of basic decency that I have found myself once again in that strange place where I'm not sure what to do. On the one hand, Murray Chass is a nobody now. He's a bitter man with a past and a blog he refuses to call a blog. He seems to bring dishonor to himself and his work with such regularity now that I cannot help but wonder if he was in fact a vile hack throughout his newspaper career but few noticed because he happened to be on the right side of the baseball labor issue and the indomitable Marvin Miller. ...
So part of me says that writing to stomp out the disgusting Murray Chass post about Stan Musial and Curt Flood will only draw more attention to it, will only spread his lies and malice to bigger lands. That part of me says that the way to deal with a man like this and a blog post like this is to ignore it and let it curl up and die unseen. Stay silent.
But another part of me says that some people DID see it, and if we let it go then a handful of people will wonder if maybe there's some truth to it, if maybe this is not just bitterness and bile and revenge and a desperate attempt to be noticed but maybe there is a germ of truth in it. ...