Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Fool Speaks - Again

It’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought of as a fool, rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Jason Whitlock, the race-baiting, jive-talking, name-calling, lunatic fringe conspiracy-theorist for all of sports media is at it again. This time, Whitlock finds himself all alone on his deserted island of delusion in his criticism of Yahoo! Sports investigative journalist Charles Robinson.

Robinson is the reporter that shed light on the improper benefits doled out by former Miami Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro to players spanning nearly a decade. The benefits included but were not limited to, according to the story:

“cash, prostitutes, entertainment in his multimillion-dollar homes and yacht, paid trips to high-end restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry, bounties for on-field play (including bounties for injuring opposing players), travel and, on one occasion, an abortion.”

Furthermore, and to the NCAA, more damning:

“Shapiro said he violated NCAA rules with the knowledge or direct participation of at least six coaches – Clint Hurtt, Jeff Stoutland, and Aubrey Hill on the football staff, and Frank Haith, Jake Morton and Jorge Fernandez on the basketball staff. Multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports Shapiro also violated NCAA rules with football assistant Joe Pannunzio, although the booster refused to answer any questions about that relationship.”

Overall, Robinson details the most egregious, rampant, willful example of rule breaking in NCAA history. Robinson has been praised by the entire journalistic community for yet another groundbreaking investigation (Robinson also investigated the matter of USC and Reggie Bush, along with the initial memorabilia for tattoos investigation at Ohio State), but of course, as the college football world braces for what will befall Miami, aside from the eight suspensions already handed down, something was missing. There was that voice of un-reason, that loud, screaming voice from that crazy uncle you never-wanted-to-but-always-had-to-invite-to-Thanksgiving-dinner.

Fear not, dear friends. The kook in the corner has spoken.

Jason Whitlock has a history of individual thinking. That in and of itself is not a bad thing. Independent thinkers built this country. Steve Jobs was an individual thinker, and he is responsible for your iPhone, iPad, iPod, and iWorld. Thomas Edison was an independent thinker. So was Sir Isaac Newton. But Whitlock, unlike those revolutionaries, only seeks to bring rational thought down in his shredding of Robinson’s work on the scandal at Miami.

(This) “is how Charles Robinson’s story reads to me — a journalism Ponzi scheme born in truth (Shapiro committed NCAA violations) and told in the most sensational, unfair and exaggerated way possible to produce a return that justifies 11 months of work,” Whitlock writes.

Some further excerpts:

Prostitutes, abortion and a head basketball coach expressing gratitude for a $10,000 cash payment to a recruit justify 11 months of work. Prostitutes, abortion and $10,000 provoke the lazy and the clueless to call for the destruction of a football program known for providing refuge, comfort and a platform to black athletes who specialize in making a mockery of sportsmanship and humility.

That’s not written to dispute the fact Shapiro committed clear NCAA violations. He did.

It’s written to dispute the headline-grabbing aspects of the story, the stuff printed to make ESPN and radio talk hosts take notice in a big way. Printing the abortion allegation is a journalistic crime. Robinson has zero credible proof other than the word of a congenital liar.

Robinson has stated that he included the abortion story to demonstrate that there were little or no boundaries Shapiro wouldn’t go to, to help Hurricanes players.

Whitlock goes on:

Abortion! Prostitutes! Out-of-control Mandingo athletes! The death penalty!

Frank Haith might lose his job because a congenital liar claims he paid a recruit $10,000 with Haith’s knowledge. Really?

There’s no proof. There’s just the word of the poisonous tree. This is how you win a Pulitzer? That’s all you need to torch the career of a basketball coach? As long as “most” of the Yahoo! story is true, it’s OK if Frank Haith is collateral damage? Have we really sunk that low?

How low has Jason Whitlock sunk? This pap from the same narcissist who spent three hours on a Kansas City radio station shredding his former employer, the Kansas City Star; the same “journalist” who held up a disparaging sign directed at then-Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe – during a game from the press box.

Whitlock once told the New York Times, “I will put my first two years as a columnist, working with Dale Bye, up against any columnist in the history of American newspapers. It’s a horribly arrogant statement. It’s a factual statement.”

In the history of American media, there has never been another so-called journalist who tried so hard to be the story rather than comment or report on the story. Whitlock is so overly concerned with his own celebrity that he lost sight of what the role of the media is supposed to be years ago.

But back to Robinson and the Miami story. Whitlock says there is no proof. Where is his proof? What research did he do? Who did Jason Whitlock use as his source?

The fact is that Charles Robinson spent 11 months and countless hundreds of man-hours interviewing witnesses, pouring through thousands of receipts and financial documents, and following the money trail. The documents that Whitlock says Nevin Shapiro (the snake-oil salesman) provided Robinson were, in fact, provided by the federal government under the freedom of information act. If Whitlock had done 10 minutes of investigating his baseless claims rather than just fire off another scud missile from his laptop, he would have known that.

If Jason Whitlock has one actual factual evidentiary piece of proof to substantiate even one of his ridiculous claims, then he should bring it forward. Until then, he should leave journalism to the big boys – the ones that actually do the research and the heavy lifting.

Every village needs an idiot. In the village that is sports media, Jason Whitock is ours.

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