Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jack Harry talks smack (again)

Jack Harry probes soccer again 

Way back on May 31st, local sports guy Jack Harry ranted about how he did not like Sporting Kansas City's name. I replied here. He is of course entitled to dislike the name but as a professional reporter he should use the team's name, not a derogatory nickname he made up. Guess he isn't all that professional after all.

On September 29th, Jack Harry ranted about why he did not cover Sporting Kansas City.

"I'll be honest; I still have a difficult time trying to get a grip on this new name. I preferred the old nickname---Wizards."

So did a lot of the old fans, most have gotten used to it. Of course a lot of fans hated the name Wizards also. Times change and so do names. You don't call the Chiefs the Texans still. Or do you?

"It seemed to roll off the tongue much easier. I shortened Sporting Kansas City, to just calling the team "Sporties". That didn't fly with club officials who notified and urged me to drop that moniker right away."

Can't imagine a team would want a local sports guy to use the team's name, how dare they!

"But, if you know me, I’m not one to bow-down to sports promoters of any kind.
I did ask, what I thought was a fair question: "How can you take a team seriously that doesn't have a nickname?” I didn't get a response."

I wouldn't have responded to that question either. Ridiculous. Very brave of you to not bow down to a sports promoter. After that you bravely did nothing. No coverage. No mention. No effort to learn anything about the team.

You continued.

"Oh by the way, here's another of my pet-peeves about soccer.
The new TV announcer was imported from England. At least, he sounds like an Englishman."

He is English. Nice guy also.

"I guess that’s the stylish thing in this sport. Everything seems to have a European theme, to it. That bothers me a little bit."

IF I thought Sporting Kansas City was only doing things to make it sound European, I would be the first to complain. In fact I did until I took the time to learn why they used the Sporting Club name and concept. You should try asking those kinds of questions Jack, that might be a step towards actually reporting again.

"This is America, isn't it? Don't get me started."

Don't get you started? Don't get me started. I am as pro-America as can be. I am a former Marine that takes great pride in my love of my country. Your response is, well ignorant and does sound xenophobic. Soccer is a world sport. Leagues around the world pull talent from around the world. Americans play in England and every European country that I have watched play soccer. There is even an American coaching the Egyptian National Team.

Sporting KC has players that hail from all over the world. Why not pull a talented, up and coming announcer from another country? There is a real lack of good soccer announcers in this country. Some of them are getting better but they are too few. More Americans will become better announcers for soccer as the sport continues to grow but they are in short supply now.

"Look, I’m not a big soccer guy, so I don't know how good our team really is.
A fan of the sport told me our team would be only the fifth best team in the other conference.
That may be true, but I really don't care. It's not relevant."

Never waste an opportunity to demonstrate your ignorance and lack of work ethic, is that your plan here? You don't know how good the team is, a fan had to tell you how the team would compare to the other conference and you declare you "don't care" and all of that to be "not relevant". Here is a concept, do your job as the sports guy on NBC. Or don't, but do not be surprised when people complain.

People did complain and that leads to Jack's next rant on October 12th.

"I want to use this space tonight to alert you of a special, mailbag feature, I’ll be doing Sunday night on the 10 o'clock sports, on NBC Action News.
I will be showing a number of e-mails I’ve received in the last two weeks regarding my comments on pro soccer in kc.
Many of you are unhappy with my posture regarding Sporting Kansas City. For those who do not follow soccer, the team was formerly known as the Wizards.
It happens to be the moniker they used when reaching the pinnacle of the sport, winning a major league soccer title a decade ago.
I might add, it was great time for our city. A time when soccer fans were civil and not full of hatred and vitriol for those who dared, to offer any criticism of the sport.
While I have high praise for the team ownership, I have been somewhat critical of the European theme this sport now uses , to promote itself.
They’ve even hired an Englishman, I assume because of his accent, to serve as a TV commentator for the games."

Again, they hired Callum Williams because he is good. He is good at a young age and he is only going to get better. Even the fans that still hate the name change like Callum. Do they like him because he is English?  Nope. They like him for the same reason he was hired. He is a good announcer. I have interviewed people about how and why Callum was hired, you might consider doing the same before you spout off again. Of course that would ruin your act.  

"When I mentioned that in my story, some said my remarks were offensive, inflammatory and very xenophobic."

It does sound that way.

"While that certainly wasn't my intention, those detractors are entitled to their opinion, but at the same time, I vehemently disagree.
Let’s be honest about this.
The internet has turned anyone, with a library card, into a reporter, a columnist, or even, a media hater."

A library card? Sorry, I really don't get that. The internet has changed things though. It allows people to respond and spread news in amazing new ways. They can write blogs, they can research, they can ask questions and find facts. Yes it allows people to send emails while they are still mad and I bet you do have a few that makes fans look bad.

The internet allows people like me to try to do the job that traditional "reporters" don't. Up until recently it was very hard to find any traditional media outlet covering soccer worth a damn in this city. The Kansas City Star has really stepped up the last couple years and local radio stations have taken note and covered the team this year as well.

After the first time I responded to Jack a fan asked me why I didn't respond to Kevin Kietzman. I was told he has Jack on there and had used the term Sporties also. At that time I had never heard Kietzman say much of anything about the team, good or bad. I do not listen to them regularly enough to hear what they called the team. Since then though I have heard Kietzman do a few very good interviews with Manager Peter Vermes and actually discuss soccer in an intelligent manner. It may not be his favorite sport or team name but he made a professional effort.

Something might surprise you though. If Kietzman uses a bastardized nickname for the team I don't care. I don't really care if a reporter likes the team or not. I only care that they are doing their job and covering the team.

Try it Jack. Stop the curmudgeon act and try doing what a sports reporter is supposed to do. Cover the team.

I made the offer by tweet after the previous rant and I offer again. If you would like to go to a game I will be more than happy to escort you and help you understand and appreciate the sport. I will show you where to pick up your media credential. I will introduce you to Callum and you can see he is there for more than his accent. I will introduce you to fans who will happily embrace you as long as you give the team some coverage and a fair shake.

If you decline, that's okay. I am quite happy ignoring you as long as you ignore the team. I would prefer to see you use your expertise and experience to cover the team and sport. I would love to hear you editorialize on whether it was good to pick up Jeferson or chances if the team makes the playoffs. Something with substance.



  1. One of my biggest concerns regarding Jack Harry and his dislike of the team is the parent company he works for will be carrying MLS games next year. I hope NBC national does not plan to rely on local NBC sports reporters for information. I would hate for Kansas City in general and Sporting KC specifically to be associated Harry's xenaphobic tendencies.

  2. I wouldn't worry too much. Jack would either have to do his job (some) or they find someone else. Maybe we can help NBC find their soccer reporter for Kansas City since Jack won't do it.

  3. Wonder what he did and said to his son Tyler when he played soccer?