Reporters Reporting on Nothing.
By:
Steve

There’s a dangerous trend in modern sports and our beloved supercross/motocross is not immune to this absolute waste of our time. I’m talking about the reporters that interview a coach, athlete or in our case, a rider on the podium.

How many times do we have to hear “We gave it 100%” or “My team is great” or “My bike worked great and the tires hooked up?” It’s simply asinine that the major networks employ these people to do this job and think they are getting their monies worth. What kind of information are we getting that makes our watching any more enjoyable? The sideline reporters (and thankfully, some networks have axed this position) offer us nothing of substance during the game, they report on things we already know! We see the QB is out of the game with a knee because we just watched some 300lb d-lineman fall on him. Thanks for that. The interviews in between periods of hockey players just make our eyes glaze over and start to wonder about tomorrow night’s dinner. The players are asked a benign, non evasive answer and give the reporter a clichéd answer about trying really hard and that he’s feeling really good tonight.

Look at our sport. When was the last time a rider on the podium actually offered anything that was mildly interesting? I like Erin Bates, she’s a great girl and it’s not her fault because the sound bite has to fit in a 20 second window in the telecast but I wonder why even bother with this exercise? The riders say nothing, or in the case of a rookie guy, they remind us of why they are just a kid in the first place with some rambling answer. Don’t get me wrong the interrogation of Stewart at A1 after he crashed by Bates is EXACTLY what is all good in the sideline guy..or girl in this case.. But those moments are rare and if anything, make us realize that the podium interviews are so lame.

This past weekend in Atlanta we heard nothing of substance from Christophe Pourcel. Partly because of his French background and partly because Erin asked him if he knew his teammate had stalled and that he was in first. His accent was strong but wouldn’t the viewer have liked to hear about his miraculous comeback from a pelvis injury and his thoughts on American racing. The interview with Reed was the very standard what he needed to do to win and beat James Stewart. The thanking of the sponsors and off we go. Maybe I’m a cynic, maybe I’m too close to the scene but I fail to see how these interviews add anything to the show.

I suppose they are there for the viewer to put a face on the helmet that they just saw out there but really, it ends up being a shill for the sponsors and a swig of some energy drink (or at least out of a bottle that looks like an energy drink). If you’re a new person to the sport, I’m not sure you would learn anything about the rider, track or race from the current interviews. Why not show some racing or maybe cut back all the podium interviews and add that time up and put it into a feature of a different guy each week. Some sort of deal where the viewer can really see what a guy is like and see his house, car, dog-whatever. I just think that the person doing the telecasts (in this case, Feld Entertainment) needs to think outside the box and get away from the traditional way of handling race winners. Or maybe just the main event winners get some podium time. I’m not exactly sure what the answer is, but one thing I do know for sure is the effect on the viewer that the director is hoping to get with sponsor shout-outs isn’t making anyone rush out and buy anything. Because they stopped paying attention.

Your thoughts?

Comments

Erin Bates

While watching the Indy supercross on Speed, I noticed that Erin Bates was not wearing her wedding ring. This is two weeks in a row that I noticed it missing. Is her marriage on the rocks? Do I have a chance to swoop in and sweep that sweet Canadan off of her feet?

Well said, Kinetic1

I agree with you, Kinetic1.
In particular, I think that the actual purpose of the podium interviews in SX is to give the sponsors some extra exposure. On the other hand, doesn't the same apply to the podium interviews at the Nationals? The difference between SX and the Nationals is that at the Nationals the top 3 guys have to attend the post-race press conference and there the journalists CAN grill the riders. And talking about riders, the root of the problem is right that there are very few athletes (Carmichael, Preston, Reed, Townley are the only one I can think of) who have the brain AND the guts to say things as they actually are. The most colorful comments are the 4 letters words Hansen and J-Law say, confusing being vulgar with being thought-provoking. I think a lot has to do with the politically correctness that affects America in general and that applies to motocross, too: the interviews with the top Euro MX riders (Coppins, de Reuver, de Dycker, Cairoli, Searle to name a few) are way more interesting.

As for the track interviews such as the one to Stewart after he crashed at Anahiem 1 and those taken at the Australian Supercross races, I am actually against them. One thing is interviewing a football coach on his way to the locker room at the end of the 2nd quarter, one thing is approaching a rider after a crash that may have caused acute physical pain. Let's give the riders a break.

Yes, but...

I can't agree more with you on this subjet, BUT... Don't ever expect something personnal/insightful or just simply interesting from Pourcel's mouth. The guy just think all journalists are just jerks... And for the moment, i guess he's trying hard to look cool and nice to everyone, so imagine when he'll have a championship under his belt !

Can you say ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Steve,
From the viewpoint of someone whos been around this sport a long time, I agree. The podium interviews are a waste of time. They don't tell us anything we don't already know and we sure aren't going to go out and buy monster, bridgestone or thor because some kid tells us it helped him win. That being said I think it is a valid part of the show for the newbie viewer. Case in point, my cousin came over the other day while I was watching a race. He seemed mildly interested in it and even made a point to sit and watch the last few laps with me. While I was pointing out that Reed is a punk with a bad atitude (although he seems to have had a change of thinking this year) he comes to the podium and is nice and pleasant. My cousin and I talked about him and several of the other riders for a few minutes and he is now a Reed fan and learned a few things about supercross. He proceeded to ask me several questions about what the riders had said in their podium interview and also what gear, tires and other products I use that they do and why. He had never seen a race and said it was nice that they did the interview because it kind of let him know a little of what goes on in the sport. To you and me this all seems mundane and pointless but to the average newbie moron it is an integral part of the sport. By the way, they are already doing rider bios and interviews and they are worthless also. I don't need to know that Lemoine is black in a white mans body. These are all kids and don't have anything important to say anyway.

I agree, but Steve's not innocent

I also agree that the podium interviews are pointless. I think it would be more interesting to ANY viewer, new or old to hear more about the riders personal thoughts about the race or the week before spent preparing.
All we hear are cookie cutter answers every weekend. I would like to see someone step up and ask these guys some tough questions. These athletes are lucky enough to ride a motorcycle at the proffesional level and some of them make a good living doing it, give 'em hell on the podium and ask them a question or two they might have to think about. These guys need to give fans something to grab onto.
Larry Merchant of HBO boxing asks straight up questions to a fighter right after he got pummeled for 12 rounds. I think the riders are getting away with their little prepared statements and the interviewers are letting them. We need a Bill O'Reilly type to push these guys for some answers.
I must say that Steve Matthes is similarly guilty of the same thing. Steve has an obvious respect for the riders and it shows through very blatantly in his podcasts. It was evident in his last podcast with Mcgrath, in which he stated in the begining he was not going to ask him tough questions or something like that. Now I understand that Steve doesn't want to get a rider angry and lose potential future interviews. But this can only happen if a rider knows someone else is going to give them an easier time with questions. If everyone asked hard questions, a rider would be forced to answer them eventually if he wants to get exposure.
I understand respecting a rider, but I think that is the job of the fans. An interviewer needs to ask the tough questions and the listener can decide if they want to respect him or not. It's annoying to listen to someone kiss a riders ass, or give him an out and offer the opportunity to dodge a question.