Jay Busbee pens a long column discussing why he was offended that many of his colleagues applauded Trevor Bayne in his post-Daytona 500 victory press conference.
Look, it’s very simple. When you’re paid to do a job, or (in the case of some of NASCAR’s “citizen journalist” unpaid bloggers) when you’re invited into the media center, your loyalties are to that job first and foremost. Can you be a fan and still do the job? Of course. It’s helpful, in fact, to give you insight into the mind and heart of the fans, the people who expect you to bring them the news and accounts of the day. But there’s passion and there’s professionalism, and if you have your priorities as a journalist in order, never the twain shall mix.
Busbee makes an important distinction in his story. When you cover sports, you’re going to see amazing feats of athleticism, perseverance, and drama. That’s the whole point; that’s why people care (and you’re there to cover the event). So yes: “Still, the applause at the end of the race, I can almost excuse as spontaneous, the equivalent of an “OHHHHH!” which often happens during a wreck.”
When something amazing happens – whether it’s Bayne’s victory or Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria, which we were lucky enough to witness from the press box in South Africa – you smile and maybe gasp. Then you return to your laptop and re-write your entire story to reflect the brilliance you just witnessed.