Emphasis on tried. I don’t recall ever outright cheering in the press box. But there have been moments of temptation. Villanova defeating Georgetown in what to me remains the biggest upset n college basketball history. Martina Navratilova’s record ninth Wimbledon. Magic Johnson’s stunning rookie performance to clinch the NBA championship. Florence Griffith-Joyner in Seoul. Julius Erving’s behind-the-backboard-around-Kareem shot in the Finals. Bo Jackson hitting three homers against the Yankees. OU football (my home state!). Jimmy Connors. Bird-Magic. Monica Seles French Open debut, and Michael Chang’s courageous win at the same event. The Nets upsetting the defending-champion 76ers. And on and on.
Tom Bowles, then a racing writer for SI.com, witnessed such a moment last weekend, and he just couldn’t help himself. As 20-year-old Trevor Bayne captured the checkered flag at the Daytona 500 to become the youngest winner ever in the history of the iconic race, Bowles, a grease-monkey with a pen, stood and cheered.
And for that he was fired.
Kicked to the curb.
Bowles has an unmitigated, unbridled and unapologetic passion for racing, which is one of the reasons he was hired, I presume. Yet while many sports journalists have a passion for the sports they cover they must manage them in the name of impartiality.
Some do; many don’t. In fact, Bowles, who responded vociferously on Twitter, wasn’t the only “fan” in the press bow that Sunday afternoon who led with their emotions rather than their fingers, and they’ve been criticized for it.
Even the bloggers at NASCAR Insiders took their brethren to task for their behavior.
Yet to my knowledge none of those who allowed their emotions to best them for a moment paid for it with their gig.
Bowles should have been reprimanded, wrist-slapped maybe even made to cover hockey for a month. (Okay, that wasn’t fair. My bad.)
But it’s hard t cheer when anyone loses their job over enjoying their job too much.