Retired Cincinnati Inquirer columnist Paul Daughtery (photo courtesy of Paul Daughtery)
Ohio Life

Paul Daugherty on Covering Cincinnati Sports

Retired Cincinnati Enquirer sports columnist Paul Daugherty talks about his 34 years of covering the people behind the competition.  

Longtime Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty didn’t write about sports, not really. He wrote about people.

“I’m not all that interested in the games by themselves,” says Daugherty, who covered sports in Cincinnati for 34 years before retiring over the summer. “I’m not a sports fanatic. It’s the people that play them that interest me.”

During his tenure, Daugherty covered the 1990 Reds World Series, the Olympics, more than 20 Masters tournaments, and two Bengals Super Bowl appearances. But it was his more personal columns that built him a loyal following. He often wrote about his family, including his daughter Jillian, who has Down syndrome and whose story was the crux of his 2015 memoir, An Uncomplicated Life: A Father’s Memoir of His Exceptional Daughter.

“I wrote about stuff I thought people might relate to,” he says.

In retirement, Daugherty has resurrected his popular online column, “The Morning Line,” which he now publishes independently on Substack. We caught up with “Doc” to talk with him about his favorite Cincinnati sports moment, being “canceled,” and the plight of Cincinnati fandom.

What was the most memorable sports moment you ever covered?
The coolest local thing I ever saw was [Reds center fielder] Eric Davis hitting a home run in the first inning of the first game in the 1990 World Series against the A’s. There was this huge build up about how great Oakland was and how the Reds were just in the way of them winning a championship. [Davis’] home run dented the whole invincibility thing, and the Reds swept the series. I have never been at an event here with that kind of electricity or emotion.

In 2021, you made news for a question you asked Naomi Osaka at a press conference about balancing fame and tennis. Her agent called you “a bully.” Were you surprised by the fallout?
I was canceled. But the ironic thing was, she had no problem answering the question. She gave a thoughtful response, and we learned a little about her, and that’s my job, right?

Cincinnati fans famously have a love-hate relationship with our teams. What have you learned about us over the years?
There’s a learned and earned fatalism to the Cincinnati sports fan. I used the Charlie Brown football analogy a million times because it’s absolutely perfect. Fans here are great. All these people say, “I’m never going to another Reds or Bengals game again,” and they go back. Because it’s in their blood. They’ve earned their cynicism through their loyalty, and they still spend their entire sports lives waiting for the other shoe to drop.

To read Paul Daugherty’s “The Morning Line,” visit