Imagine being a baseball sports reporter at their dream job reporting for MLB Network and walking into work one day to find out you have been terminated. Or if you’re a writer for a certain Texas Rangers site. That happened recently to Ken Rosenthal after he wrote an article criticizing Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred on how he’s handled baseball recently.
In my experience writing about sports, I’ve never seen a commissioner go out of their way to get someone fired cause they didn’t like the article written about them. He must have the thinnest skin out of any league commissioner in the sports world today. You don’t see Roger Goodell or Adam Silver getting reporters fired for criticizing them.
I’ve seen articles criticizing Goodell and Silver for allowing protest movements to establish a presence in their leagues. To this day, most of the reporters who wrote these articles are still employed with the companies that allowed them to write the article.
Ken Rosenthal’s firing by Rob Manfred is a bad look as the Texas Rangers and the rest of baseball await an end to this lockout
Journalists have the right (if not duty) to report on topics that aren’t easy to digest. Ken Rosenthal had every right to write the article criticizing Manfred for not doing his job as the Baseball Commissioner and he didn’t cross the line as a journalist.
I’ve even gotten criticism for writing some articles that didn’t sit well with some of my readers over at Blackout Dallas and The Smoking Cuban. Did I hunt down their employer the next day and ask for them to be terminated? No, I took the criticism and started writing my next article.
The Texas Rangers have plenty of media covering them on a daily basis. There’s no reason for any of those writers to be fired for simply doing their job.
I’ll end my rant with this, other sports reporters such as NBA reporter David Aldridge have come out and backed Ken Rosenthal for his work. Mike Thomas, Sportswriter for Sportscasting, included Aldridge’s quote about him butting heads with David Stern while he was the NBA Commissioner.
"“I worked for Turner Sports, which operated NBA TV & NBA.com in partnership w/the league, for 14 years,” “You know what David Stern did when I wrote or said something he didn’t like? He called me up and cussed me out. But he didn’t go to my bosses & try to fire me.”"
All sports commissioners can learn something from David Stern on how to handle criticism from reporters.
As reporters, all we want to do is tell our readers our opinions on what we are assigned to cover. If the commissioners have an issue with that, just reach out to us and tell us your side of the story so we can better understand what is going on.