I wonder if Danny Kelly and John Morgan would say they did the same, but I’ve been writing my “Goodbye” letter for Field Gulls almost since the day I started. It becomes somewhat of a checkpoint in the future that you know you’re going to get to eventually and you always wonder if it’s going to be because of good news or bad news. In this case, it’s more like legal news.
A few weeks ago, SB Nation informed every freelance writer in California that they could no longer continue our contracts because of AB5, which forbid companies from hiring someone for more than 35 assignments per year. It has not been uncommon for me to write 35 posts in a month. After nine years at Field Gulls, my contract had to be terminated.
(Don’t worry, you are not living in the alternate universe where Paul Allen doesn’t save the Seahawks from moving to LA in the 90s. You are still in the current (alternate to many, I suppose) universe where I moved to LA in 2009. Paul Allen couldn’t save me.)
In all those fantasies where I say goodbye because John Schneider read some article I wrote about free agency and realized that I would be a vital piece to the front office, or because Michael Schur had to put me in his next writer’s room after going down a wormhole of my posts and realizing how goddamn funny I am, or being fired after a string of controversial tweets that creates a hashtag that nobody would want to be associated with, I had never expected it to end due to someone in Washington, DC* banging a gavel**.
But where there was bad news for many of us, there is some good news for me. This will be the end of my time as the managing editor for Field Gulls and running the twitter account (on a pace that was simply unsustainable, because I love tweeting about football despite the fact that tweeting means you have to be on twitter) but not necessarily my last post on Field Gulls. And definitely not my last post for SB Nation, because I have been hired full-time as a producer for the California fan communities.
I won’t give you the overly long (now you know things are different) and poetic “Goodbye” letter. I wrote it and I’ll keep that letter of incredible self-importance for myself to go back and read whenever I’m feeling insecure and need an ego boost. Instead, I’ll just say a few words about how important Field Gulls and SB Nation has been to me.
When Danny asked me to write for Field Gulls, it was a bigger deal than when I got hired to write for Rolling Stone. The night he hired me, I went to a bar, sulked over a beer, and literally talked to a bartender about my problems. I felt so much pressure to be a front page writer that I became the most cliché cliché in the book of clichés.
I’ll always be able to think about and contextualize the “Morgan era” and the “Kelly era” here (apologies to those who came before Morgan, I simply wasn’t around then as some of you were), but in my mind, I’m not an “era.” I wanted to do my best to continue the standards that they had set and to bring in writers who were better than me and smarter than me, in additions to the ones who were already here. No matter what you may think of my style or opinions, I hope you know that I cared more about the site and the community than anything else. In keeping it of high quality and constantly growing it.
I started in September of 2011 and I think I’ve worked on the site, to some degree, in 99% of the days since. I was nervous about writing my first word on Field Gulls, I never thought that one day I’d write the most words on Field Gulls. But certainly the site is not my voice; it’s the voice of the community and the many talented writers around me who keep it going every day. It couldn’t just be my voice ... I mean, don’t even know if I used that recent semi-colon correctly.
So I just want to focus this moment on saying thank you to Danny for saving my life and giving me a career. If it wasn’t for him noticing my fanposts, I wouldn’t have ever had that opportunity to write for Rolling Stone, which is what allowed me to quit my IT job of seven years and give freelancing a shot. I told myself at the time, “If I can do this for a year, at least I’ll be able to tell my grandkids I was a writer once.”
That was over five years ago and I’ll get to have that dream talk with my grandkids, though the fact that I’m still single has kept it on delay.
And as excited as I am for my first staff writing job — and to go to the eye doctor, thanks to having benefits again — I need to express condolences to all the California writers, managers, and those who’ve also poured their souls into these sites who got the same news I did about AB5. I really love this site. The fact that I’ve been here almost a decade, longer than any job I’ve ever had, didn’t even hit me until it was over. It’s like time doesn’t move, you just wake up, check the site, browse pro-football-reference.com (the single most important resource for any football writer), an idea pops up, write it, tweet 100 times, check tinder because you’re single, and go bed**.
Can you believe this is the goodbye letter that isn’t overly long and self-important?
So, one more time, thank you Danny. There are many others who I owe a debt of gratitude to, but he really clacked the first domino and I’ve tweeted out some more words of appreciation to others. If I’ve forgotten anyone, please know it’s not because you’re forgettable, it’s only because I’m forgetful.
Thank you to you for allowing me to inhabit this space for nine seasons. I can’t believe that we’ve gotten to share almost the entire Pete Carroll, the entire Russell Wilson era, Marshawn Lynch, the Super Bowl win, the Super Bowl loss, the Legion of Boom, the 49ers rivalry, and once again, Marshawn Lynch. My desire to write about sports was one thing but the environment around that passion is completely arbitrary and random to some degree. I could have grown up in Cleveland or Tokyo or still in Seattle but it’s 1991, and instead I got to cover one of the most dominant, thrilling, and interesting decades for a football team, all-time. They certainly didn’t do it for me, but those will be my last words of appreciation.
Thank you, Seahawks. It’s been a good avocado***.
I may not be here, but I won’t be far:
If you want to follow me on Twitter (which is where I’ll have to funnel some of these football tweets now), you can do that here: @kennetharthurs. I’ll also remove that Seaside Joe link from the front page, but I’ll continue to write that daily Seahawks newsletter if you want to finally give that a shot; I committed to do it every day for a year and I still have about 60 days to go. (Now that semi-colon, I really doubt.) I’ll also post a Seaside Reactions podcast after the Seahawks-Eagles game this week and then figure out what the future of that Patreon will be, if anything. Finally, if you want to hear me talk about the NFL every Wednesday, check out Goofballs: A Football Podcast. We talk seriously about football but goof about everything else. We also have an: iTunes link.