If you have flipped passed ESPN’s First Take this past week, you may have caught a glimpse of the hot debates being discussed surrounding the relationship between the media and athletes. If not, here are a clips of the hot topics:

Despite how the rough turf was first crossed, athletes are doing their best to stand their ground and defend their integrity against harsh media critiques like Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) and Stephen A. Smith (@StephenASmith). Jalen Rose (@JalenRose), a retired NBA player and former member of the “Fab Five” at the University of Michigan now is an analyses for ESPN. He sat in on one of the discussions, arguing that often time reporters are attacking the credibility of a person when name-calling is being done and he himself can take an innocent comment personally based on the tone of their voice.

So, is the integrity and credibility of the reporters and/or athletes being questioned? NEWS FLASH: that’s exactly what a discussion is, arguing opposing views on a particular platform. At a collegiate or professional level, when athletes commit to performing on such platforms they commit to being analyzed and picked apart by reporters. They choose to open their careers and lives to the public. This “whining” done by athletes when the Stephen A. Smiths of the world call them “scrubs” should just be ignored.

This position of vulnerability holds true with reporters as well. If you are a member of the journalism community, might it be publishing pieces or speaking openly on a debate show, you’re allowing yourself to be put in a vulnerable position where your opinion can be questioned. So, when Skip is being checked via twitter or across the table by an athlete, it’s all fair game. Reporters, and bloggers, are in a position to be critiqued just as they are critiquing athletes of any sport.

Are both parties being just a little too thin skinned?

My Take- Yes. What the athletes are asking for, analyst to pass along the box scores and leave the name-calling out of it, would take that much more life out of sports. If the debate shows ended and the controversy dissolved, entertainment in the sports world wouldn’t be any fun.

Fortunately for the fans, that just won’t happen. With the emergence of twitter, facebook, and high-speed internet, the rawest opinions are able to be uploaded as quickly as you can hit the “update” button. The term “freedom of speech” has a whole new meaning and it just so happens that Skip Bayless has exploited this viral stage. He, and all other professional analyst, part-time reporters, and back-room bloggers will continue to tag on their 5 cents on the lives of these celebrity athletes. The entertainment that is created on the back of these people is what is fueling the 21st century.

None-the-less, Skip was right: top performers in any arena should shame the personal attacks by out performing or out debating their opponent. Shrug off the rest and keep it moving.

Until next time Jersey Girls,

B. Long (@Ms4thandLong )