And So What’s The Fate Of Deadspin Now That Gawker Has Filed For Bankruptcy?
I've always said that "You're With Me, Leather" would go out with Chris Berman ... like Mark Twain and Halley's Comet.
"Leather" was one of the first posts I wrote in the early days of Deadspin -- it told the story of ESPN's Chris Berman, who allegedly (according to an eyewitness account) entered a Scottsdale bar one spring evening and poached a potential hookup from another male patron. Berman is reported to have said to the woman "You're with me, leather," at which the woman, clad in leather pants, followed him out the door.
It's a bit ironic that Berman, who may retire at the end of the coming football season, goes out at generally the same time as Deadspin: like Smeagol and the ring of power falling into the fires of Mt. Doom.
Gawker Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today, which is Hulk Hogan's first real win. It comes three months after Hogan won a $140 million lawsuit against the web site in the notorious sex tape trial, and since CEO Nick Denton is reporting he doesn't have the assets to pay, he felt this was the only option.
Gawker and its satellite blogs Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Deadspin, etc., could go on publishing under Chapter 11, overseen by the court. But Denton said he's putting the sites up for auction. An opening bid of $90 million to $100 million has been made by PC Magazine owner Ziff Davis, according to Politico. Here's Davis' statement on the potential acquisition.
So while Deadspin may not die, it's unlikely it will ever be the same. Denton's fingerprints were all over it, and who knows if its better writers will hang around under new management? And what if Davis is outbid by someone who doesn't want Deadspin?
In almost direct contrast to the people dancing in the streets over Gawker's predicament, loyal Deadspin readers are particularly bummed. While Deadspin shared the mother ship's passion to root out embarrassing truth (Berman's leather obsession, for instance), it was all about sports. Back before there was an internet, people have been calling sports the newspaper's toy department, and no one's getting angry or outraged at the toy department.
Although sometimes Deadspin crossed over. I posted the first current look at a video of Sarah Palin, circa the 1980s, reporting sports for an Alaska TV station. (The hair! My God, it was enormous). And among the many gems written by Managing Editor Will Leitch was that of a poor schmuck in Ohio who was arrested for masturbating in a library. He was interviewed on camera by an investigative reporter, while the masturbator was wearing an Ohio State sweatshirt -- and it may have been the first viral meme.
But Deadspin was mostly about sports, and mostly hilarious -- at least in the early days. But as its popularity grew, so did its ego. When Leitch left, Deadspin began taking itself too seriously. In fact it was former Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio (who replaced Leitch) who, as Gawker chief, posted the Hogan sex tape. "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." -- Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park.
But I did did not come here to eulogize Deadspin. It will likely soldier on. But this surely marks the next life for the now-11-year-old sports blog. May your +1's always be remembered.
UPDATE: Denton says he's already agreed to sell to Ziff Davis. Deadspin, however, has a post up with
You're up for auction, fellows -- and may have already been sold.
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