I’m not exactly sure how I should start this post, but I don’t think that’s ever stopped Nick Canepa from writing, so I’ll continue. In fact, if I were to think like Nick Canepa I’d obviously start with something about the Chargers, then move backward hopefully touching on the topic the article is about. Then mention the Chargers again, then maybe some old player or coach that might have something to do with something, then of course ending with the Chargers. I wonder if that outline is saved in his notebook?
When Canepa’s article came out this morning comparing the Chargers leaving San Diego to Pearl Harbor or the Alamo, or even inferring that we had a 9/11 type duty to “Never Forget” our lost NFL team, I think it’s safe to say some of us were shocked. But, most of us just rolled our eyes at the completely out of touch article from a “newspaper” that seemingly continues to wear it’s missteps and carelessness as a badge.
Nick Canepa can not, for whatever reason, move past his beloved Chargers no longer residing in the a backyard that he also no longer resides in. His broken heart is less fleeting romanticism as it is sad, pathetic, and downright toxic for a sports section devoid of rising interest.
We kind of have to completely overlook Canepa’s sadness, because it won’t get better. Canepa will never cope, he’ll never figure out why he feels alone in a city that has for the most part moved on, moved up, or just did what they always did – never actually go to an NFL game but instead watch it on TV.
We almost have to overlook his insane comments about Pearl Harbor as well. Any rational or level-headed person would understand that its partly about being offensive, but more about making a completely inaccurate and ridiculous comparison that unfortunately also has to do with a lot of people dying in a lot of horrifying ways. I’m not offended, I’m more upset that this went past at least one editor, I imagine, and that that editor was fine with the content. This after the cartoon debacle in the U-T not even a month ago.
We have to overlook these things, because Canepa isn’t fighting to save an old school, cigar-smoking, ‘I grew up on the mean streets so I’m gonna tell it like it is’ mentality – he’s fighting for relevancy.
He’s fighting to be in a conversation that left him behind years ago and never looked back, because we all know what he has to say and it was never really that good to begin with.
Canepa is the drunk uncle at your Thanksgiving table. Your grandpa’s friend who has always been single, says awful things at family gatherings to which your grandmother has to cover for with a laugh and a, “Oh Nick, you’re so bad!” He’s your mom’s new boyfriend who owns a dry cleaning store and gives you weird looks on Valentines’ Day. Don’t like that last comparison? Well, I have one about Pearl Harbor you’re gonna love!
He is a relic of a bygone era when you couldn’t pick and choose the coverage you could follow for your favorite team. He’s the best writer you remember from your childhood cause he’s the only writer you can remember from your childhood.
In a world of expanding options, he hasn’t been one for a long time and it seems the place he works at will be the last to realize this.
“But, he’s a San Diego treasure!” Then he needs to go where we put treasures: in a museum behind glass, or back in the chest and buried deep in Oak Island.
The U-T seems hellbent on keeping his voice active and accessible in a sports world he despises. He clearly doesn’t care about the Padres, hates all the other sports teams in town, and after the Chargers left he certainly seems to hate San Diego.
So, why let a real life bad guy from a Bugs Bunny cartoon continue to dumb down your publication and piss off the locals? What does it add? What does it take away, and why is the U-T okay with it?
I know staff layoffs and reduced payrolls continue to kill newspapers, and that will never make oversight any easier. However, it seems Canepa has been given carte blanche to lament whatever sad sack Chargers sonnet flowed through his blue and yellow heart and then post it for a city he barely likes to be in.
Even if I’m willing to concede that Canepa may be a legend, that he may have been a fantastic sports writer who changed the game for local coverage; an innovator for opinion-fueled, truth-telling articles, a legend in this town! Even if I’m willing to concede all that – legends fade, and right now he’s reaching Willie Mays on the Mets territory, and like Mays, either call it quits or move to a new city. I have an idea.
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