This is not as simple as getting our facts correct.
Of course, if even one reporter had insisted that a story on the team’s website wasn’t enough verification, we wouldn’t be here.
The cover of ESPNLA.com shows Josh Shaw less than 24 hours after a story on USC’s website revealed a heroic action performed by the newly anointed team captain. [ESPN.com]
If even one journalist had questioned someone – anyone – beyond the people in the athletic department, or the football office, or the athlete himself, we wouldn’t be here.
But, how often do we doubt the head coach? How often do we contest the word of the athletic director? Or that of the sports information director?
OK, it happens on occasion. And what happens then? Sometimes we see a coach throwing an on-camera tantrum directed at a reporter. Maybe we hear about a sports editor getting a phone call.
Whatever happened to Josh Shaw’s ankles is being called Manti Teo Part II. USC coach Steve Sarkisian is “vetting” it. And, suddenly, neither Shaw nor his family is available for comment.
On the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 25, Jordan Moore – USC’s director of social media – posted a story explaining that defensive back Josh Shaw’s two sprained ankles were the result of a heroic plunge off a balcony to save Shaw’s nephew.
Sarkisian spoke to the media about it. Shaw spoke to the media about it. And the media took them at their words.