Sports | September 10, 2020 1:08 pm

Defector (Ex-Deadspin) Just Launched Its Reimagining of Sports Media

Highlights from the site's debut include a scathing indictment of the online publishing business

Washington Football Team
Sports media is broken. Defector hopes to provide a new way to do business.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

“All of our bullshit. None of theirs.”

And with that, over a dozen former Deadspin employees have launched the new sports site Defector.

A paid membership site — though seemingly free for now at launch — Defector is instantly recognizable for its mix of humor, pointed barbs and a lack of need for sticking to sports.

Although many of the names on the masthead remain the same from the glory days of Deadspin (before the mass resignations after the site was acquired and toned down by new owners Great Hill Partners), Defector is also attempting something unique. It’s pay to read (and comment), and the writers will own all the work they publish.

“What was apparent to those of us who had spent years reading and creating Deadspin was that the site wasn’t defined by what it covered, but by its sensibility,” as Defector Editor-in-Chief Tom Ley notes in the site’s intro essay. “People liked reading a site that refused to condescend or patronize, that was comfortable telling ugly truths about sports and the world at large, that was rude, that was mean (usually in ways that were more illuminating than gratuitous), and that was whimsical in ways that were never insufferable.”

He continues: “Every bad decision that has diminished media—every pivot to video, every injection of venture capital funds, every round of layoffs, every outright destruction of a publication—was only deemed necessary by the constraints of capitalism and dull minds … The ability of Defector to escape these constraints will depend not only on the quality of our work, but on our ability to avoid feebly chasing dollars through a collapsing digital ad economy.”

Ouch.

Some highlights from Defector’s launch include Drew Magary’s “Why Your Team Sucks” NFL preview, Lauren Theisen’s takedown of baseball announcer Thom Brennaman’s non-apology and a new podcast (co-hosted by Magary and David Roth) called The Distraction.

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