The Norman Chad column that the Washington Post didn’t run, and why Clay Travis can’t outkick the truth that you “never sling mud against people who roll in it”
By Tom Hoffarth
We have what shouldn’t be considered an abnormal admiration for Norman Chad.
His arrow-piercing accuracy in writing about sports and the media over the years for the Washington Post (he started there in the mid-’70s) continued on a short-lived run at The National, some other time at Sports Illustrated. He wrote a book.
It wasn’t until his side gig on ESPN poker telecasts regulated his “Couch Slouch” writing to whomever he could collect in a loose network of newspapers able to afford his far-below-wholesale compensation price, just to give him ink on a Monday and let him exercise his freedom of speech. We tried to get our local employers to run it at the nomal fee he was asking. Somehow, we couldn’t break the plane of that goalline.
(This is all in addition to the fact we became neighbors in the late ’90s for awhile in the Melrose area of L.A., between Fairfax and La Brea, a short walk to Pink’s Hot Dog Stand or the Formosa Cafe. The highlight was also having Michael Buffer living in our eight-unit building on Fuller Avenue. He was quiet. His wife was nice. We came to her rescue once during a power outage and he was out of town. We rarely saw him taking his tux to the cleaners as one might expect).
In cranking out sports-based columns during the sports-starved COVID-19 Era of our existence, Chad had already found some well-found foils when he did a March 10 column about trolls who came after him for having the audacity to write: “Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy is a disease for which there is no cure.”
Barstool responded in how you’d expect Barstool to respond. Apparently they haven’t read the Wikipedia page created about him which pretty plainly explains how he operates based on his history.
Then came a column two months later, on May 10 about why we might be better off with fewer sports to digest during this serious times. The Washington Post and others ran it in print on May 11.
Some more heck broke loose.
“That column caused an uproad,” Chad emailed us in reply to us letting him know that one Internet aggregator said he was being “eviscerated” on social media for what he wrote. “It was a B- piece on my part, and I guess I’m glad those folks have never run my other stuff.”
Some figured it out. Too many didn’t. Smart folks came to his aid.
The only thing better than a Chad mis-trending piece was how he’d respond to it.
May 18 came, and we saw nothing. Same on May 25.
We reached out to Chad again on email. He explained that the Washington Post decided to kill his latest piece. Why?
“I can’t really answer that,” he wrote back. “The Post, like all my outlets, has the option to run or not run my column each week. The Post apparently felt the column was not up to its standards.
“Anyway, largely because of the newspaper industry cratering, the column only runs in seven outlets – down from a high of 18 several years back: The Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, Albany (N.Y.) Times Union, Spokane Spokesman Review, Beaumont (Tex.) Enterprise, Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette Mail and houston.sportsmap.com (a Houston-centric sports site). All outlets other than The Post ran it.”
With Chad’s permission, here is that May 18 column that was not widely circulated, but perhaps it will gain some traction (and we will send him a check for $1.25 for giving us permission to re-run this: Read more