Lazy-Ass "Journalist" in a "Dead Ass" Town
Many people in Jacksonville may not have heard of you, but the ones who have surely respect you Charles P. Pierce. They are likely fond of most of your writing. They may also respect your consistency as the least-funniest panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell me! They also realize you’ve got a lot on your plate right now, with your deadlines, appearances, and reprising John Candy’s role as Uncle Buck.
But, Mr. Pierce, don’t be a lazy-ass writer.
After referring to the Jaguars as a "spectacularly dead-ass football team" and calling the city a "spectacularly dead-ass town", you went on to question the city’s right to have a football team. I’m sure these words:
"wonder why in the name of the Decatur Staleys there's an A-level professional sports team in Jacksonville in the first place? Was Peoria booked? Was there no room for a franchise in Saginaw? Green Bay is cute because it's rooted in the mythology of the league. Foxborough's an accident. But finding an NFL team in Jacksonville — much less finding the Super Bowl there, as it was in 2005 — is like putting an entertainment complex in, I don't know, Branson freaking Missouri. Wait, that's it. Jacksonville is the Branson of professional sports."
were meant to be pointed, hilarious, and incite feelings of gleeful pity from your colleagues who hail from actual team-deserving cities towns like Boston and New York. These words were also surely intended to be hurtful and you would have succeeded if your insights weren’t so tired, lame, and hackneyed. I’m hoping, at least Bill Simmons’ eyes rolled (does Simmons roll his eyes?). Or perhaps he cringed when he read yet another sports writer dumping on Jacksonville for being a decidedly Un-super sports town—something he wrote about in 2005 and revisited only a month ago.
Don’t be lazy Charlie. Saying the Jaguars stink and that Jacksonville is a crappy sports town was so 5 years ago. Even then the line on Jacksonville was that they didn’t support their professional football team and, therefore, didn’t deserve to have one.
2009 was the last time the Jacksonville Jaguars had an empty stadium (by television blackout standards). As it stands, the Jags are working on their 4th year in a row with no blackouts. From a fans perspective, this was (and is) a grueling stretch in which the team has gone a dismal16-64. Through 2 owners, 2 GM’s, and 4 head coaches, residents of this dead-ass football town showed up on Sundays. Despite what you heard in 2009, Charlie, Duval County residents are supporting their team. They like National Football League football and they attend Jaguars games.
The Bucs had 6 blackouts last year. Would you say Tampa deserves a football franchise? How about Oakland, Miami, or San Diego (4 blackouts each)?
Maybe, just liking football and going to games is not enough reason for a city to deserve a team. Maybe the city has to meet other criteria that you have developed. How the city of Jacksonville will earn your approval, however, is not likely being discussed during any city planning commission meetings at this point. But, we welcome your sage input.
If for no other reason than the conservative site Media Research Center hates you, you seem like a populist kind of person and, therefore, I will at least try and appeal to your political sentiments.
If you are looking for a great recession case study city, look no further than Jacksonville. Pre-2007, the city saw its housing prices skyrocket as inventory grew and grew. Hardworking people invested in homes beyond their budget all while greedy bankers preyed upon them with crappy loans. When everything blew up, the city was hit hard. While the banks were bailed out years ago, people are still being kicked out of their homes, or at the very least, waiting for the bank to restructure the mortgage on their house worth a third of what they paid. You’d be hard-pressed to find a middle class family in Jacksonville left unaffected by the financial crises.
As things get better around the country, Jacksonville has been slow to recover. Still, people in this spectacularly dead-ass town rally around the Jaguars. They root for our spectacularly dead-ass team on TV, and if they can afford them, they buy tickets to the games. The people of Jacksonville do this just like the people in the other 30 cities with NFL teams. Are you saying they don’t deserve this experience?
Deciding which citizens of what cities deserve to enjoy National Football League games, live and in person, makes you sound like an elitist asshole, not a populist. So, whether you truly think you know who the haves and have-nots should be or you’re just lazy, you’re article was obviously lacking in word count and anything resembling insight. It doesn’t matter though. You’re better than that Charlie.
The people of Jacksonville who know of you are sorry your lazy ass had to come to Jacksonville and watch a football game. But, promise them this. In a few years, if Gus Bradley has drafted a competent quarterback and built a stout, physical defense, and if the city of Jacksonville hosts a meaningful football game that winter, please don’t come back. We already know what lazy-ass things you’ll write about if you do. You’ll surely want to write how the fans have begun to take on the identity of the team and their fiery coach. It’s likely you’ll say that the stadium is finally full despite the economic woes of the city. And, you might even say the city loves their professional football team. We know you’ll say these things because this is what sports writers say when teams unpredictably rise from the ashes of awful and a blue collar fan base is suddenly relevant because they have lots to cheer about. Writers like you say that because if deprived of their intramural jargon, most sports writers would be approximately as articulate as your average manhole cover. And you’re better than that Charlie. At least you think you are.
Matt Shaw is a Jacksonville native living in San Francisco. He is a contributer to theinertia.com, Folio Weekly, and blogs at boardandhungry.blogspot.com