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Pittsburgh PG Story on Santonio Holmes: Is it Fair?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by daemon, Jun 28, 2006.

  1. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    Steelers first round draft pick Santonio Holmes has been arrested twice since being drafted. He has some criminal background as well as three children out of wedlock. The Post Gazette ran a story today that quoted extensively a former NFL executive who now counsels college players on character issues before the draft. The guy worked with Holmes in January, apparently. The executive pretty much talks about how Holmes' character issues don't suprise him.

    Below is the first few grafs of the story.

    My question: is this fair?

    Obviously, Holmes has some issues, and certainly his case could have made for a very interesting in-depth profile or character study.
    But the story is pretty much a one-source story about one guy's opinion about Holmes. What's the purpose, that the Steelers should have seen Holmes' troubles ahead of time? Sorry, but one guy telling me that Holmes was "ready to explode" really doesn't do it for me. Especially when it comes to his rationale: that Holmes comes from a poor background and has children out of wedlock. By that rationale, I'd say 60 percent of professional athletes are "Ready to explode."

    Tressell from Ohio State declined to be interviewed. Nobody from the Steelers is quoted, the only other voice in the story besides this former NFL GM is Holmes' high school coach. And he's just kind of thrown in at the end.

    Certainly this guy's point of view is of interest to readers, but to use him as the backbone of a long case-study that seems to indict both Holmes and th Steelers seems a little unfair.

    Any thoughts?

    I've included the first few grafs and a link below.

  2. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    I don't find the story patently unfair, especially because Herock is quoted by name and has had dealings with Holmes. But I do have three suggestions to make the piece fairer:

    1. I would have made some mention up high of Herock's feeling that Holmes has learned his lesson and won't pull this stuff anymore. It seems to fit into the dichotomy the story establishes of someone who can be a nice kid but has had trouble shedding the baggage of his rough upbringing.

    2. I would like to see some evidence, from Herock or elsewhere, that someone with a background like Holmes is more apt to get in trouble than others. Did Brett Myers come from a similar background? Don't elite athletes in general already feel like they get a free pass because of their talent?

    3. Finally, and maybe the reporter did this, but there's nothing in the story to show that he tried to contact Holmes or one of his representatives.
  3. armageddon

    armageddon Active Member

    I agree that the only issues with the story are its construction and whether the author attempted to contact Santonio...

    However, the fact JT clammed up for this story says a lot.

    Herock knows his stuff and as he has dealt with pro athletes for many years his opinion is worth hearing. But he didn't state that Holmes was "more" likely to get into trouble than others. He said the telltale signs were there for eventual problems.

    Kids with three different women at his age isn't a sign of issues? :eek:

    That tells me he lacks discipline (which he does in certain areas of his life) and that he has a certain view of the role of women in relationships. That would be true whether he grew up near West Palm Beach or Beverly Hills.
  4. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    I agree with both of you -- the subject matter itself is not patently unfair. I just think he made wayyy too much out of what is essentially one guy's opinion about Holmes.

    This story begs for more voices, more perspectives.
  5. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    Actually it is kids with two different women, not three, and it may just mean he gets laid a lot and had a couple of mishaps.

    Some people must have forgotten what it was like to be 17 or 18 -- and most of us never experienced what it is like to be that age and a super star that has people -- women, adults, coaches, girls, street agents -- throwing themselves at your mercy.

    I grew up in a house where we learned all about the birds and the bees and the importance of abstinence and safe sex and all that stuff and guess what, I didn't always stop to think about using a condom when I was a teenager and even in my early college years -- and most people on here if they are honest would say the same thing. Most of the time I did, but not every single time for whatever stupid reason. It is only by God's grace I made it through those years without getting caught up in a pregnancy situation or worse. I can only imagine what it would have been like if I WEREN'T taught the right things by my father or a strong positive male influence.

    I'm not making excuses for the guy, he obviously should have used some protection, at least after he got caught up once -- but I think all of the criticism I keep hearing when a young athlete has some kids and isn't married is absurd, pious and a whole lot of self righteous BS by a bunch of people who apparently never were young.
  6. armageddon

    armageddon Active Member

    Although I do agree with the need for more voices I'd be cautous about assuming the writer would be allowed to go to C-Bus to do such a story.

    If a similar situation took place at our paper right now, the trip probably would not get the green light because of financial concerns. :'(
  7. armageddon

    armageddon Active Member

    Speak for yourself. ;D
  8. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    No what I am saying is poor kids who grow up in a home and a neighborhood and culture without strong positive males around don't have the same view of consequences and choices as someone like you. You obviously wouldn't understand this. They see a whole neighborhood of single females with kids and no man around and that's what they are around all day every day - at church, at the market, on the street. It isn't about being dumb, it is about being young, it is about sometimes being impulsive, it is about sometimes taking chances -- like riding a motorcyle without a helmet -- because you think your invincible.

    You can be taught something in school but if in your every day life you see something different, which do you think is a stronger influence? It is not about being smart or dumb, it is about what you learn growing up. Some kids are able to navigate their way through this rubble  -- I'd bet most of them had some positive male influence keeping them above the fray -- but most of them don't.

    I'm not saying everything a kid does when he is young is excusable or not punishable -- obviously there are consequences. But idiots like you who want to rip into teenagers for making bad choices -- as if you never made any -- are obviously clueless and frankly have no place in this business.
  9. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    Six hours round trip and maybe an $80 mileage check is all it would have taken.

    Not sayin' that's what shoulda happened. Just sayin.
  10. When I was a teenager I made some bad choices. Skipped school a couple times. Didn't study for that astronomy test. Decided not to go to Syracuse even though they were offering me a scholarship.

    What I did not do was have sex without a condom and bring another soul into this world, a kid whose parents were not only unwed but who were probably too young, poor and unready to properly raise a kid.
  11. JuneBug1

    JuneBug1 Member

    Dulac (the writer) is good. Check that, he is very good.

    He gave the Ohio State people a chance to defend Santonio and he gave the guy a chance to defend himself.

    I agree, there should have been the graph reading "Holmes didn't want interviewed for this piece" but other than that, I think the story is a gem.

    Just my take.
  12. armageddon

    armageddon Active Member

    I agree the costs would be minimal -- to you and I.

    But the beancounters look at that and say: Can't you do it by phone? ::)
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