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Ethics Question

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HeinekenMan, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    I covered what amounts to a preseason prep football game tonight between two local teams. A guy throws the ball 40 yards, and a linebacker knocks him silly a good three seconds after he releases the ball.

    Twenty minutes later, the QB leaves in an ambulance with an apparent broken jaw that is likely to end his season, which was the first for a school just launching its football program this year.

    The tackler was called for a late hit. I tried to stay objective. But it wasn't easy. Part of me said that it was my job to include the tackler's name, and part of me said I was just doing it to make him pay a price for being a prick.

    Was I in the wrong for doing this?
  2. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    I don't think this is an ethical question at all.
    When the linebacker delivered a late hit and broke the jaw of the opposing quarterback, it became a news story. And in news stories, you have to answer the "who" question.
    In the end, no one is going to remember the score. They're going to remember the linebacker's late hit on the quarterback.
  3. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    I personlly don't think there is anything wrong with this if you stay objective like

    John Holmes of WestBumFuk was carted off on a stretcher with a broken jaw minutes ofter Peter North of EastBumFuk tackled him on what was penalized as a late hit.

    I may be wrong, but as long as you don't say anything about how horrible the player from East is, it's just reporting the facts.
  4. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    Well, I'm relieved. I thought I was doing the right thing. But I did sort of feel bad that this kid was going to have his name in the paper for something that might not have been intentional. But I have a feeling it was intentional. The teams were talking trash throughout the game. In fact, the late hit was the second for the team, which also was called for talking shit after a tackle. The funny part was that the tackler was a senior, and he leveled a freakin' 14-year-old kid in eighth grade. The bad part is that it was a matchup between christian schools.
  5. Norman Stansfield

    Norman Stansfield Active Member

    Hell yeah you did the right thing.
  6. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Roy, you don't even write around it like that.

    Johnny Bumblefuck was carried off the field on a stretcher following a late hit by East High's Douchenozzle McFucktard.

    Ref called it a late hit, it's a late hit.
  7. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    For criminy's sake, you're a reporter. Report what you saw.

    I see nothing wrong in calling a spade a spade. If the little thug's parents get their feelings hurt, too bad:

    Quarterback Johnny Smith was drilled by linebacker Tommy Bonecrusher well after delivering a pass ... Smith was taken by ambulance to Our Lady Queen of Latehits Hospital with what was reported as a broken jaw. Bonecrusher was penalized 15 yards on the play for unsportsmanlike conduct.

    Was he ejected? I reported on an obvious late hit, using those words, when a player was ejected for a hit away from the play. And I pretty much used those words whenever writing updates on how the kid was.
  8. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    Crippler, you came so close to what I wrote that I almost think you pulled the line from my story and changed the names of the players.

    But I did fail to mention that it was a 15-yard penalty.
  9. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    If you wrote that it was called as a late hit, the penalty is inferred.

    As far as naming the kid, here's my theory on preps: They are kids, so you have to be sensitive about it. Don't go out of your way to rip on a kid for making a random error or fumble, etc. If there were three errors in an inning, just write that; no need to call them all out by name. You can't cover preps like you cover pros.

    This isn't Peyton Manning and A-Rod that you're calling out; it's a 17-year-old kid*.

    But if we're going to put your name in when you score a touchdown, we're going to put your name in when you fumble the ball on the goal line (or, in this case, break the QB's jaw with a late hit.)

    Write what you see, and keep your opinions out of it. But still, write what you see.

    * Mega-star athletes with a lot of media exposure have to get treated with different rules. Especially if they've had experience dealing with the media. But as a general rule, high school kids are still kids.
  10. did you talk to the linebacker? you might have gotten something good from him - "Hell, yeah, i was trying to hurt him, it's a physical sport." or maybe, "I feel so bad about it. I was just trying to play physical and I'm sorry he got hurt."

    either way, you have to talk to the guy, teammates, coaches

    build your story around that play
  11. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    I wanted to interview the kid, but his team held a lengthy post-game meeting. I was on deadline. So i waited three or four minutes and then dashed to a phone jack.

    I agree with Buck, too. In many cases, there's no reason to cause unnecessary harm to a person's ego by singling someone out in cases where it's unnecessary. That's a fine line, which is why I brought up the subject.
  12. maybe call him a day later for a folo or something.
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