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Another Example of Sportswriter Logic


On Twitter last night, I made a decision to be less argumentative and “chill” for a little bit to allow my blood pressure and sanity to take a step back. That worked for nearly 24 whole hours and included a very polite email conversation with Mike Freeman of CBS, in which things were smoothed over (and hopefully we will have Freeman on a podcast soon). But then I looked online and saw this quote from John Clay in the Lexington Herald Leader:

By the way, let me get this straight, it’s criminal that the Times would use a private transcript to write a story questioning the high school academic record of a basketball player, but it’s perfectly fine for a blog to use an anonymous source to publicly accuse a basketball coach of leaking the transcript?

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to “Sportswriter Logic 101.” In order to reach sportswriter logic you need to (a) take the facts out of context and (b) make logical conclusions that are faulty. John does both. I never said that it was “criminal” that the Times would use a private transcript questioning Bledsoe’s record. I said it was criminal for the COACH to LEAK the transcript and if I were the reporter, I wouldnt have use dit…but the First Amendment probably covers the Times’ action. He then goes farther and wonders if its ok for a blog to use an “anonymous source” to publically accuse a basketball coach.

Well lets remember that the anonymous source didnt accuse any particular basketball coach, but rather said that the leak was done by an unnamed coach. That is very different than a coach leaking an individual kid’s transcripts by name. Anonymous vs named. There is a difference. The second difference is that it is against the law to leak a transcript, whereas pointing out an action by a coach is not only not against the law, it is called journalism. Finally, criticizing the “anonymous source” ignores the fact that the entire Times’ story was based on anonymous sources, the person who leaked the transcript and the coach who said Maurice Ford wanted money. The difference is that Clay probably believes those sources and not mine. Fair enough…just make that clear and not implied.

What we have seen over and over is journalists take up for other journalists. It is the way of the world and all of them except a select few (Doyel being one) do it. What they dont like more than anything is those that call them on it. They march back and form a “code of black ink” where they fight off all critics, be they bloggers or fans. At this point I am used to it, but still no less disappointed by it.

The press room is going to be awful lonely for me at games this fall….

Article written by Matt Jones