By The Common Man
So, at the urging of at least one national writer, who referred to our culprit as “a complete asshole” and revealed that “even people who work with him/by him…loathe him,” we’re happy to announce that, when you see us all driving shiny new Camaros over the next few months (our swift departure from ESPN has revealed a great deal of interest in our services and our blog, as it turns out), you have The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham to thank for it.
You’ll remember Peter Abraham as the writer who, in our initial Bagwell-related piece in December, we ultimately decided not to suspect of plagiarism, because (ironically) there was not enough evidence. Later, we learned that Abraham did not vote for Bagwell last year because he was influenced by the steroid suspicions for which there’s no evidence. This year, however, he publicly reconsidered that stance, and voted for Bagwell. We celebrated that decision. The Common Man even made the point of telling him so on Twitter, saying:
https://twitter.com/#!/commnman/status/152063680941539328 via kwout
Abraham, understandably curious, wondered,
The Common Man continued on, saying:
https://twitter.com/#!/commnman/status/152088318367113216 via kwout
At this point, Mr. Abraham switched to sending The Common Man Direct Messages through Twitter. Those direct messages have since disappeared, and The Common Man was too stupid to get a screen shot of them at the time. He did, however, record them all in an email he sent to David Schoenfield on December 28. Here’s the sum total of our conversation, along with The Common Man’s MST3K-esque commentary:
Peter: Are you insane? Throwing that word around is career threatening and I have never been accused of anything remotely like that.
(And he still hasn’t, as we didn’t accuse anyone of anything. Nor was he even considered suspect.)
Peter: for you even to associate me with that is irresponsible, unethical and reckless
(Reckless? Well, there were some ramifications that The Common Man didn’t consider. Like, for instance, that a crazed writer would get this bent out of shape and get us run off of ESPN. As for unethical, given TCM’s article was clearly satirical in nature, he’s confident he did nothing wrong here. And even if it were not satirical, it’s certainly no less ethical than publicly airing suspicions that someone used illegal substances without proof.)
Peter: and you don’t have the guts to put your name on it? What the hell is wrong with you?
(Doctors everywhere wonder that, actually. Lots, probably. But TCM is pretty clear about the reasons behind his decision to use his pseudonym, and it’s about to become clear why those reasons are valid.)
TCM: I’m sorry you feel that way. My intent was satirical, pointing out the unfair double standard to which some HOF voters were suspecting…
TCM: Bagwell. I think it’s clear, if anyone were to read the article, that there’s no actual intent to accuse anyone of anything.
(Nor does anyone actually ever get accused of anything, let alone Mr. Abraham, who was never even suspected.)
Peter: Really, tell that to my boss who just called me and asked me about this.
TCM: I would be happy to, if he or she would like to contact me. And I’m working right now to amend the post to reflect your change in stance.
(Nobody ever contacted The Common Man from The Boston Globe to discuss it. If they did, TCM would tell them that they would have had to be incredibly thick…as thick as Peter Abraham, in fact…not to see the satire inherent in the piece.)
TCM: But I stand by the position that writers who publicly air unfounded suspicions re: PED use have an equal responsibility to defend themselves.
Now Peter gets really mad:
Peter: I want your name and who you work for at ESPN. Thanks.
(We all want things, Peter.)
TCM: Feel free to contact David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot blog. I’m sure he can put you in contact with whomever is most appropriate…
Peter: I want his e-mail and I want your name. You’re so ethical, stand up for yourself.
(TCM has been standing up for himself. And for Jeff Bagwell. It’s not a particularly brave stance, mind you, to rant and rave against the injustice done to a baseball player. The Common Man isn’t this guy, for instance, who stood up for himself and was never identified. But the point is that it’s possible to be an ethical actor, and to critique power, without revealing your name.)
TCM: My apologies, I thought David’s email address was publicly available. Here it is [there’s no way I’m going to give you people David’s email address; nice try, though].
Peter: come on, give me your name and where you work, just to be clever I want to endanger your career. seems fair.
Look, say what you want about TCM’s series on Bagwell and “plagiarism,” but you can’t seriously believe at any time that anyone’s career was threatened over it. Peter Abraham was not disciplined. Bob Brookover wasn’t fired. Nobody is calling for Danny Knobler’s head. And yet, here is a mainstream writer literally threatening the career of someone who doesn’t write about baseball for a living. He’s probably being sarcastic, and The Common Man was never really worried. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a dick move.
Anyway, Peter did contact David, who put him in contact with the editors and ESPN’s legal department. As you would expect, no one thought this passed the litigation smell test. They also, and TCM is grateful for this, refused to release The Common Man’s name. Good on them for respecting intellectual freedom. The bad news, of course, is that ESPN’s editorial leadership decided that The Platoon Advantage wasn’t worth the trouble of keeping around. Indeed, TCM wants to be clear: aside from the ultimate decision to let us go, ESPN was terrific throughout this entire situation. And, frankly, we can see, from their perspective, why letting us go was a valid decision. We wish they had made a different one, but we respect the decision they made. And hey, it's going to work out fine anyway. So if you want to bash ESPN, do it for some other reason. Not for this one.
The bad actor in all of this, for The Common Man’s money, is Abraham. As was only fair, The Common Man updated his original post to reflect Abraham’s change in position and even wrote a separate post regarding his change of heart titled In Which We Joyously Celebrate Peter Abraham, Who Is NOT a Plagiarist. Again, that seemed fair. Abraham was not a plagiarist (so far as we know), so it seemed only fair to shout that from the rooftops. The Common Man did not apologize for the original post then, nor does he now. In fact, we all stand behind it here at TPA. Apparently, that wasn’t enough for Peter. C’est la vie.
So, since there’s little else to say, the story is told, and we are no longer under any obligation to censor our thoughts as regards to other writers or profanity, we all just want to say that this bitter, angry, thin-skinned, bullying, insecure bag of dicks can take a flying fuck at a rolling donut. No wonder everyone thinks he’s an asshole.