The 18 sports writers and broadcasters who re-voted to give Cushing his Defensive Player of the Year Award are getting a lot of crap from their colleagues in the media. The DROY* says he’s excited the media backed him up so he can go about the rest of his life feeling no remorse whatsoever for his actions. Since there’s some in the media who want to pretend like the drug test never happened, I think this is a good time to call into the question the credibility of the people responsible for handing out some of sports’ most prestigious hardware.
During the 2009-10 NBA regular season, LeBron James enjoyed an amazing year with mind-boggling statistics and at least two “did-you-just-SEE-that?” plays per game. His season was so spectacular, by Christmas, reasonable NBA fans knew he met every possible standard that came with the league MVP award. He went on to win the MVP in a landslide, but all three of the people who gave a first-place vote to the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard were in some way affiliated with the Magic franchise.
I bring this up because not only is John McClain of the Houston Chronicle a massive disgrace to the name John McClain, he’s one of the writers who re-voted to re-give Cushing his DROY award. There’s really only two reasons why McClain would want to be part of the egregious 18 voters who re-voted for Cushing.
1.) He really believes that because Julius Peppers and Kevin Williams have both failed tests in the past, there’s really no need to get in the way of tradition by stripping awards just because of a little cheating.
2) He made the re-vote for political purposes. Kind of like no politician wants to vote against tax cuts in a recession, local sportswriters don’t want their readers finding out they voted against the guy on the home team when he has a chance to win the thing.
Obviously, beat writers don’t always blindly vote for players from their teams, but you have to wonder about rouge voters in the cases of McClain and the Orlando employees. Either make the voting more transparent so fans know who voted for who, or get rid of anyone with a potential conflict of interest from the national panel of voters.
McClain and people of his ilk will tell you that there was no clear #2 option for the award, since neither the 9 interceptions from Jairus Byrd or the 10 sacks from Clay Matthews on a playoff team are able to impress anyone. He will also talk about how stripping Cushing would be messy and would set a new precedence. Yes! This utterly insane notion that if you cheat, people will make your life miserable is something that’s too messy to deal with so let’s make rules to prevent abuse and hope that’s enough. Done, and done!
Much of sportswriting is being speculative and critical of professional players and coaches. So awards season is the one time of each respective sports year where the fans can really be critical of how individuals in the media have performed. And with the Cushing controversy, they came through like the spell check on Chris Johnson’s tweets.