Writer of controversial McGregor article hits back with even bigger claims about Dublin
"There is a segment of Ireland that loves him and a segment that, clearly, does not."
Wright Thompson certainly rattled some cages.
The writer has made his name by profiling some of the biggest sports stars in the world and offering insights to backgrounds, those closest to them and their way of life.
His 'Crossing Crumlin Road' feature for ESPN garnered a lot of attention, earlier this month, after it depicted Conor McGregor's hometown of Crumlin to be in the crosshairs of a brutal, bloody gangland war.
While some loved Thompson's prose on the nitty gritty of the area and city [Dublin] that shaped 'The Notorious', others felt it was hyperbolic and portrayed a place that made crime series Love/Hate look tame.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) August 9, 2017
Thompson appeared on the 5-rounds podcast with Brett Okamoto and gave his take on some of the feedback to his feature. He also offered up an interesting take on McGregor after he was able to secure some interview time with him late in the shaping of his piece.
There is little backing down by Thompson to the naysayers that his feature stretched the truth to make parts of Crumlin and Dublin resemble a war zone. In fact, he doubles down on certain aspects.
On McGregor, Thompson said he had watched a lot of his press conference videos and heard many of his one-liners but found the man himself a different proposition. He says:
"I was surprised at how normal and low-key he [McGregor] was as a person. I don't know why I expected the cartoon character but he was lovely.
"He was a very normal, funny guy... he got what was going on and why. There are levels and levels and levels to him."
As for the criticism his story received from many in Ireland, Thompson dismissed some slights from 'the Dublin Twitterati' and recounted how he was dragged into a dispute that could have had nasty consequences.
"Meanwhile, as that's going on, I'm getting messages from Crumlin - the neighbourhood where McGregor is from - freaking out that the story is going to get their family targeted.
"Literally, at one point, I am on a conference call with Conor's agent and someone from Dublin who is freaking out that, because of the story, Dublin gangland violence is somehow going to touch them or their family."
Sounds like quite the conference call.
Asked if he ever, at any stage of his trip to Dublin, feared for his safety, Thompson says no but he does recall one sketchy house that he was 'ready to get out of'.
Perhaps the only flawed logic of Thompson's, in his follow-up interview, is the notion that McGregor is remarkable because he was not known to local gardaí in Crumlin. The author took it as noble that McGregor never got involved in crime even when times were tough.
There is nothing remarkable about it. Just ask the thousands of other
Crumlin inhabitants that are not known to the gardaí either.