Inside the mind of Rick Reilly

In an interview with, Rick Reilly discussed a number of different topics, including how he feels about sports blogs and his relationship with Bill Simmons.

“I don’t really go on the blogs, because they don’t really like anybody. Jesus could do a column and they’d be like, ‘What the hell is with the hair?’ It’ll always be something. Charles Barkley told me a long time ago always half the people are going to hate you and half the people are going to love you. If you suddenly change who you are, the other half will hate you. I don’t really care what people holding down couch springs do or say.”

I get it now. So since he has read some negative stuff on the blogs about his writing, bloggers must dislike everything. That makes perfect sense. Rick might want to consider that bloggers are just a subsection of his audience that actually has time to write about what they like and don’t like. Sure, there are blogs out there that just throw mud at everyone, but here at The Scores Report, there are writers we like and writers we don’t like.

He commented on his (outrageous) salary…

“I didn’t put out the salary. I certainly didn’t want it out there and I think a lot of times people are just like, ‘Oh, screw him.’ I hear that with athletes all the time. ‘Screw them, they’re making so much money.’ Well, that’s what the owners are paying. The free market is allowing that. You’re going to hate the guy because someone is paying him?”

As I said in my post about Jim Calhoun’s press conference tirade, this is America…we don’t begrudge anyone for making a lot of money if they are really good at what they do. How does this relate to Reilly? Well, there are a lot of people out there that are bored/irked by a vast majority of his columns (myself included) and are insulted by the salary that ESPN decided to pay him. Was $2 million per year too much to pay for Reilly’s columns? You be the judge.

I think he’s good with the sentimental stuff, but once he gets out of his wheelhouse, it’s a train wreck.

He commented on his relationship with Bill Simmons and the rumors that the two don’t get along…

“Where do they get this stuff? I get along with him. I think he’s funny. I think he’s a great turner of phrases. I’ve tried to learn from him how he builds an audience on the Internet. He definitely has that new blogger style where you write in stream of consciousness style, a lot of parentheses, a lot of tangents, and that’s not the way I was raised.

“My whole thing was hey, you’ve got 800 words, choose them wisely. Pick the exact word you want and don’t waste a word and kill your darlings even if you love them, that it’s got to fit. He comes from a whole different era where it doesn’t have to fit. He can go on for 7,000 words if he wants. My kids read him.

“I don’t know how that whole thing started. Every time I see him he’s great.”

Reilly may just be highlighting the differences in style, but Simmons does have to keep the word count down when he writes for ESPN The Mag, and those columns are just as entertaining as his 7,000 word opuses. Simmons doesn’t always know what he’s talking about, but he is always funny, whether he’s right or wrong.

Reilly does deserve credit for starting his Nothing But Nets campaign which raises money to buy mosquito nets for Africans to protect them from malaria.

“Even sports fans can figure this out. Ten dollars puts a net over a couple of kids who are not going to die of malaria. They sleep under the net from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. when the mosquitoes are out. That’s about 2.3 million nets, and it just keeps growing . . . People are so generous. It’s slowed a little in the recession but it’s still going strong.

“I think we helped people realize, you mean we can wipe out malaria with these nets, and it’s not going to wipe out vegetation and no one has to take a pill and no trucks are going to get hi-jacked? No one can use the nets for anything but this.”

A worthy cause, for sure.

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