More than ever, media surrounding a professional sports team is a battle waged with pixels. Even winning franchises must deal with damage control, getting out feel-good messages about players, feeding the machine. But for teams like the Wizards, the task is even tougher.
Nothing looks good about this season, and fan frustration with team management is quickly coming to a head. Only one NBA team has accrued more losses over the reign of Ernie Grunfeld in Washington (since 2003, 458 and counting): the Minnesota Timberwolves (462). The T-Wolves, propelled by woulda/coulda/shoulda-been Wizards draft pick Ricky Rubio, beat the Oklahoma City Thunder last night—the team that everyone wants to be like. And the Houston Rockets, who managed to turn their roster over faster and more efficiently than the Wizards, are the surprise story of this NBA season.
Meanwhile, the Wizards are 3-20. Sure, there are a plethora of legitimate excuses—injuries (as always), youth, roster turnover, owner turnover, the list goes on…
And so it’s the thankless, unenviable job of team-fueled media—from television to radio to the owner’s blog—to pump out the positive pixels of puffery surrounding such a dead-in-the-water team. Somebody has to combat the cold, cruel vitriol—sometimes fueled by facts, sometimes fueled by fatigue, sometimes fueled by friggin’, frackin’ emotions in that people just want to be able to enjoy the basketball being played by their hometown professional team.