Biased fans resent idea of fair, balanced sports reporting

LINK 

No one creates controver sy in this state quite like Paul Finebaum. The man has a gift — there’s no denying that. Anyone who can take an obscure blog post and get a week’s worth of highly rated radio shows out of it deserves whatever he’s getting paid.¬†

That said, during all the puffing and blowing over the disappearing and reappearing Gentry Estes blog post this week, one key item went largely overlooked: Gentry Estes’ blog post.

Odd, I know. And I’ll explain in a minute.

But first, in case you happen to be late to this party or simply don’t listen to sports radio, let me give you a quick recap of the week. Last Saturday
evening, following the Alabama football team’s second scrimmage of the spring, Estes, who covers the Crimson Tide for the Mobile Press-Register, used a blog post to point out that the stats released by the UA sports information department were not independently verified by members of the media or anyone not working for the university.

Estes’ comments, of course, ruffled the feathers of the Tide faithful, who began calling and writing to complain. That seemed to do the trick. Because by Tuesday, the post was no more — it was removed from Estes’ blog without explanation.

That piqued the interest of Finebaum, who had discussed Estes’ comments on his show Monday. When the post came down from Estes’ blog, it almost immediately went up on Finebaum’s Web site. And statewide discussion, speculation and accusations ensued.

But somehow, pretty much everyone has overlooked the points in Estes’ original blog post, all of which deserve equal attention.

This is the meat of Estes’ original post: “I would like to point out a few things before fans delve too far into statistics and stories about any of Alabama’s spring or preseason scrimmages. Without the media present, there is no objective vantage point to the coverage. First off, the information you’re receiving is only what Alabama wants you to know.”

I would bet you large sums of money that few UA fans ever considered this point. Of course, that didn’t stop any of them from calling Estes a “cry baby,” a “whiner,” or (my personal favorite) a “spoiled member of the media.”

Not because they sat down, considered his point of view and found it completely devoid of reason. No, it’s because fans — and to a large extent, readers in general — don’t want the cold, hard truth. That’s why we have outfits like Fox News and team Web sites — so people can get their truth shaped to better fit their viewpoints.

Think about it: If you presented this same scenario to Tide fans but removed Saban and Alabama from the equation, there’s zero chance any of these people would stand for it. If a guy on trial for murder got to write the news story about the case, these same people would be screaming.

But since it’s Nick Saban — who we all know would never lie to anyone about anything, ever — UA fans are perfectly willing to accept this scenario and those scrimmage numbers. Not only that, they’re ready to shout you down if you dare to raise a question.

Among the insulting comments that followed Estes’ original blog post, several people said that they could care less if the media were ever allowed to watch another UA practice. Let me put this simply: If you believe that, you’re not thinking this through (or thinking at all, really). Because stats are just the tip of the iceberg with this issue.

Maybe you can brush off the fact that you don’t have an objective source for the passing yard totals from a scrimmage. But could you do the same if faced with a situation involving the serious injury, or even death, of a player? Would you still be so trusting of the coaches and the school administration? Or even better: Would everyone else be so trusting of your coaches and administration?

Before you answer, you should read through the Orlando Sentinel’s coverage of the death of Central Florida receiver Ereck Plancher. No two parties involved in that horrible ordeal — from head coach George O’ Leary to the assistant coaches to the players to the school’s administration — has told the same story. And an already ugly incident is turning uglier by the day.

It’s possible that everyone’s telling a version of the truth in the UCF deal. It’s possible that nothing out of the ordinary happened and the coaches and administrators just got their stories a little screwed up. But a whole bunch of people are looking at O’Leary and his staff with a suspicious eye, as those coaches try desperately to defend their actions.

If only one of those whiny, spoiled, unbiased reporters had been there.

0 Responses to “Biased fans resent idea of fair, balanced sports reporting”


  • No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must login to post a comment.