I’ve always been confused by the stick-to-sports dictate that some readers place on sportswriters. Is it that we’re supposed to write only about the games? Nothing else? Or is there more we’re allowed to address? Athletes’ interesting hobbies or pursuits? Off-field issues? Personal lives? Their opinions on topics that might have little to do with the sports they play? What’s OK and what’s off limits?
You can understand why a poor scribe might feel adrift.
The questions reached a boiling point several years ago when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, hoping to bring attention to social injustice, took a knee in protest during the national anthem. This riled up a large segment of fandom that thought politics and other hefty issues belonged as far away from stadiums and ballparks as possible. Some of these same people had gushed about Tim Tebow’s faith in God whenever he knelt in prayer on the field before games. Religion, apparently, is as much about football as the forward pass is. Got it.
I bring this up because former Cub Ben Zobrist is in the news for something that has very little to do with the game he played, baseball, and very much to do with a game lots of people seem interested in, alleged marital infidelity. A story about a sensational lawsuit he has filed has been one of the most-read articles on the Sun-Times’ website for days. I can’t help but think that more…