At this point, the soul of professional sports is beyond worrying about: Athletes are frantically self-interested; marvelously self-absorbed; always looking for any edge, however unfair; and forever leaping from team to team in search of a few more dollars. In other words, the jock market already has the morals of the stock market.
That's the last paragraph of "The Jock Exchange" Michael Lewis' contribution to the premier issue of Portfolio. It's also a $636 paragraph, if this anonymous commenter at DealBreaker is to be believed.
"Michael Lewis is receiving $12+ a word from Portfolio. $100k, two pieces this year, each approximately 4k words." Let's assume for the moment that these figures are in fact accurate, and that Michael Lewis is pocketing $24 for every "of course" he can slip by the magazine's phalanx of editors. (The yearly amount of his contract doesn't sound totally insane, at least.) Is this the new gold standard for magazine writing? Did Tom Wolfe give them a discount because they hired his daughter? Did John Hockenberry get screwed over because his piece was mainly pictures? Again, we're unsure—although that $125 million investment figure makes a lot more sense if this is true—but is anyone out there making more than $12 a word? And who's paying? And where can we get some? We can turn around 3000-word pieces of absolute crap whenever necessary.