Aubrey Bruce: Some sportswriters think they know everything

Porsha and Kordell Stewart 

Judges, Juries and Executioners…

by Aubrey Bruce, For New Pittsburgh Courier

In general, our system of jurisprudence is based upon the precept of innocent until proven guilty.  To reach the conclusion of guilty or innocent there must be witnesses for the defense or the prosecution to present evidence for defendant and the prosecution. Competent legal counsel should always be provided to represent the state and the defense, although on many occasions that is not the case. 

Many times, the identity of the defendant will determine how vigorous the defense, or the prosecution, will be. A judge then monitors the proceedings, sort of like a referee to ensure that a trial will be accurately and fairly conducted. Finally, a jury or judge is selected to hear and weigh the evidence and to determine guilt or innocence. 

Out of all the moving parts of a trial, the main function of a sportswriter is most compatible with the function of a person serving as a witness.  Sportswriters witness and chronicle a sporting event and present that event to the public; well, at least theoretically anyway. Sometimes a select group of writers need a subpoena in order to be prompted to tell the truth.

However, many of the scribes dedicated to reporting events from the “sacred” world of sports have become self-ordained “Judges, Juries and Executioners.”

They consider themselves as the ultimate jurists, creating, manipulating and sculpting the “court of public opinion.” The vocation of a sports journalist has now evolved into an ever-invasive and pervasive force designed to invade every aspect of the lives of athletes and will oftentimes continue the attacks on individuals long after they have met “destination graveyard.”

Why would they launch these unjustified and unwarranted attacks? Well, simply because they can, that’s why!  


Many sportswriters have been guilty of using “journalism” to stage baseless attacks on prominent sports figures just because they had a platform from which to launch those attacks. No athlete or their families are sacred or safe from some of this intentional propaganda. Many scribes that sit high upon the “judicial press box bench” do not have any idea of the definition of the word objective.  For example, to this very day, many of them continue to exhume the corpse of the allegations that ex-NFL Kordell Stewart “allegedly” may be a homosexual. Many of them often loosely apply the adverb “allegedly” in a sort of tongue-in-cheek manner. They fail to grasp the fact that exhuming the remains of a long dead story and applying mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to that collection of bones will not restore flesh and blood to those remains because the time for miracles is long past the expiration date. 

The following are a few excerpts from an article posted about four years ago on written by Dan Gilliam titled: “Pittsburgh Steelers, the tragic life of Joe Gilliam: A Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback not many remember, but a story worth telling.”

Dan Gilliam starts out by saying, “My last name is not very common, so I sat down at my computer to look for others that might share my last name, Gilliam. The results did not have a huge celebrity base, but I did find a British director, a Christian singer and a San Francisco 49ers’ offensive lineman. Joe Gilliam played for my favorite NFL team the Pittsburgh Steelers and he actually replaced Terry Bradshaw as the starter one year during their heyday in the ‘70s. I stopped reading and thought, wait what? He replaced a four time Super Bowl champion?”

First, I find it remarkable and amazing that a writer covering the Pittsburgh Steelers would happen to just be conducting a generic name search and stumble across the name Joe Gilliam.  This man had to have known about the “steel curtain,” wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, QB Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris; all from the Joe Gilliam era. If a 5-year-old covered the Black and Gold, they would know who Joe Gilliam was.  We must also remember that Dan Gilliam said, “the Steelers were his favorite team.” Was this a way to continue the attack on the credibility of Joe Gilliam, even beyond the grave? Was this an article penned just to fill some space during an uneventful offseason?  Colin Kaepernick was and continues to be vilified and his reputation has been castrated just because he decided to exercise his constitutional right to the first amendment.

Many of these current journalistic regurgitators are certified and credentialed purveyors of yellow journalism whose opinions amount to preaching to a choir of one; themselves.   Some of their coverage is more yellow than mellow, creating drama where there is none and tossing fuel on the fire where drama already exists.

Antonio Brown has embarked on a new career and a few of the reviews that are offered seem to be based on culture and the “ethnic sensitivity of insensitivity” of the person expressing the opinion.

Recently posted this: “Antonio Brown performed in Miami at Rolling Loud, which has been the largest rap-only music festival in the world since it began in 2015. Brown became the first athlete-turned-rapper ever to perform at the festival, according to” 

The article goes on to say that “a few people that could not tell a Hip from a Hop had things like this to say about the performance. Many poked fun at the former receiver’s new career.”

New Orleans Saints All-Pro Defensive Lineman Cameron Jordan had a slightly different opinion of Brown’s performance saying, “Antonio Brown seems like he’s thriving in spite of what the world wanna label him… not too many artists perform at Rolling Loud let alone football players-turned musician.”

During these tumultuous times of “blog-in-a-fog journalism,” a few determined scribes are resolute regarding making Kool-Aid with salt instead of sugar.

Just remember this: whatever you read or hear, you alone must be the judge and jury.  Let the spirit and reputation assassins serve as the executioners because frankly, that is all that they are good for.


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