Brooks Melchior, best known as the creator of the website Sports By Brooks, was the toast of online sports fans in the early part of this century. His blog was one of the first to experience success mixing sports and pop culture content. The website launched in 2001 and lasted till 2011, when Sports By Brooks became only a Twitter feed. A little over a year later, Brooks Melchior disappeared from public life.
Back in September we posted about the frenzy the @SPORTSbyBROOKS Twitter account’s first Tweet in five years set off. It rehashed stories and theories about what happened to Melchior and why he went underground. Yesterday Melchior reappeared for a conversation The Adam Schefter Podcast.
According to Melchior, it was an obsession with college football and Jackie Robinson that led to the end of the site and his long hiatus.
If you look at my Twitterfeed today, you really have a sense of what I’ve been doing. What started me down this rabbit hole…getting away from the website for this hiatus…because I am gonna bring the website back in the first quarter of 2019, is learning about football history and specifically discovering Jackie Robinson.
The first thing I remembered in this process developing a documentary series, which is what I’ve been doing over the last three and a half/four years, is that I discovered a piece of football of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field playing against the college all-stars in 1941 and Jackie Robinson was scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears. 98,00 fans. George Halas is on the sidelines. And I saw this…I couldn’t believe. I knew that Jackie Robinson had played football at UCLA but I didn’t know that he was this big of a star. And I didn’t know football was that big, period. And so I started to look back at Jackie Robinson’s football career and I’m actually getting more footage in today from his games against Washington State when he played for UCLA.
But that’s what started me down this road of learning about what a superstar football player he was in 1941. And then come to find out he never would have played for the Brooklyn Dodgers had it not been for his football career.
Sean Keeley of Awful Announcing is among the many not buying the simple explanation of an obsession with research leading to the end of Sports by Brooks.
On paper, all of that sounds interesting enough. But the interview itself ends up taking some strange turns. Brooks spends a lot of time hyping up the Jackie Robinson vs. Chicago Bears footage, at least three different times throughout the interview, as if he’s discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls. And sure, it’s neat and all. Sounds like a solid 30 for 30 documentary. But it’s not as if there isn’t footage of Robinson playing football on YouTubealready.
Jeff Pearlman wrote a story about Melchior’s disappearance in 2016 for Bleacher Report that was never published. Pearlman told Chris Mannix, of NBC Sports Radio at the time, that as best he could tell, it was mental health issues that led to Melchior leaving the public eye. Adam Schefter brought this up with Melchior. Melchior responded by talking more about Jackie Robinson.
Melchior did promise that the website Sports By Brooks will relaunch in 2019. He claims that currently he is “retooling” the site to prepare for “another dimension” of Sports By Brooks.