Grantland writer Bryan Curtis examines the demise of The New York Times' Sports of the Times column, which for years appeared seven days a week and distinguished the newspaper's sports coverage.
As Curtis relates, the column is pretty much defunct. Retired columnists Dave Anderson and George Vescey occasionally return to do columns, giving glimpses of lost excellence. The column in its glory days regularly showcased some of the newspaper's best writers, such as Red Smith and Robert Lypsyte as well as Anderson and Vescey.
The Times sports editor gave Curtis a strained explanation for the column's absence, saying the newspaper can't find the right writer or writers to do it. Strong staffers like Jere Longman would rather stay with feature stories. Please - the country is loaded with young and talented sports columnists who could write Sports of the Times with style and distinction. I have one candidate - former Times writer Jonathan Mahler, who now does an online column.
One of the former group of writers no longer doing Sports of the Times is William Rhoden, who gave the newspaper one of its few black perspectives. Perhaps Rhoden's columns were too edgy for the Times. In fact, Rhoden's disappearance leaves the newspaper with virtually no black voices.
The end of Sports of the Times is just one sign of the newspaper's decline in quality.