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Flowchart: The slippery slope of sports argument explained

Writing a horrible slippery slope sports column might seem easy, but it's actually really really really easy.

Let's help you through the guide towards writing a proper slippery slope-centered sports column.


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Select an athlete, and an access point. You're not really sure where you're going, but you know you will need an athlete. Athletes make good access points for your argument because they usually have something the reader fears, disapproves of, or hates: a great deal of money, tattoos, outside interests, opinions, fashions they hate, and in Aaron Hernandez's case, a propensity for getting themselves involved in murder investigations. It happens! Mostly to Aaron Hernandez!

The point is that they are doing something wrong. If they have a family, they're spending too much time with them, and not on sports. If they have tattoos, it is because they are bad character literally bleeding through the skin, even though having several tattoos in the year 2013 is as boring and bourgeois as owning a Subaru Outback. They are dating too much, or not enough, and probably hanging out with celebrities.


Get to that slippery slope. All of this is one easy step towards the slippery slope. From that starting point, you can get anywhere you like: the end of civilization, public order, and the very death of the reader themselves. You might think The Purge is just a movie, but if you ignore the crucial fracture in public order the columnist IDs at step one, then you won't be laughing when football players literally come to kill you in your homes in step 36. The Slippery Slope is the US Airways of argument for sportswriters: cheap, dirty, and will get you to where you need to go through 47 different steps. And they always, always have seats available.

From there, make the point you wanted to make anyway. Once you're on the greasy hill of bad causality, just slide wherever you like. Is this column for the old or terrified? Everything you once loved in sport is ruined, and this is an emblem of that. (P.S. Don't ever read Mickey Mantle's personal correspondence.) Does the reader want to hear how great they are via a backdoor compliment? i.e. that they've never switched jobs or moved, LeBron James, and like their tiny little hometown just fine, thank you very much? Do you enjoy sucking up to figures of power and large brands, even when they may be completely in the wrong, because it just feels so right? Do you want to play to the worst fears and prejudices of your audience, all while assuming the role of virtuous protector of civilization? Without data, or evidence?

It's a big mountain up here on the slippery slope, and if you get to the top you can slide anywhere you like.

Repeat. The slippery slope isn't just a device. It's a living, man.