Last week I heaped praise on The Athletic—specifically, the Toronto corner’s Raptors coverage, as well as the enterprise overall. I dig the model and I dig the work they’re doing.
Today, I’m not feeling so good about it, after one of the co-founders had this to say to about his business model to The New York Times:
“We will wait every local paper out and let them continuously bleed until we are the last ones standing,” Alex Mather, a co-founder of The Athletic, said in an interview in San Francisco. “We will suck them dry of their best talent at every moment. We will make business extremely difficult for them.”
That right there is some bullshit.
In my post last week, I also recommended Blake Murphy, an Athletic contributor, as a Raptors voice to read. He summed it up on Twitter:
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
I’ll just add that maybe that Mr. co-founder should remember that pretty much all of his writers come from those newspapers; they undoubtedly all have friends, colleagues and mentors who work at newspapers. And I’d bet 90% of those writers have been laid off or package’d out of a newspaper job themselves, and know how awful it is (raises hand), and wouldn’t wish it anyone, friend or not.
So maybe don’t wish for anyone to lose their livelihood, and just do good work and mind your own backyard, Athletic.