Sports Illustrated's Frank Deford has been called the world's greatest sportswriter so many times that he might as well make it part of his name. But in a long feature in the LA Times, Glenn Bunting takes Deford to task for what he characterizes as his many factual mistake and overstatements. The article is a good read, and a fascinating look at a great writer. As for the nitpicking -- I'm of two minds. Having been one of the drones who do fact-checking at SI, it's still astonishing to me the number of mistakes that writers like Deford make, only to have them cleaned up by fact checkers.
On the other hand, the examples in the story really do seem, for the most part, rather trivial. Of course, we'd like to see a perfect record of no mistakes, but that's too much to hope for. Given the level of the mistakes and hyperbole that are outlined in the story, it's hard for me to get too fired up. There are other SI writers, past and present, who are much more liberal with facts.