How Far Should A Sports Reporter Go?

In class about a week ago we talked about how athletes should not be considered role models. With the recent arrests of 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith on DUI at 8 AM 2 days before a game that he proceeded to play in and Broncos linebacker Von Miller’s failed drug tests and attempt to cheat the system through a urine collector, that fact is only becoming more obvious. I recently reread a book by Mike Lupica, called Travel Team. The book follows the story of a young kid who was told he was too short to make the team. His father, a former NBA player who’s career ended in a motorcycle accident, becomes his coach. In the emotional climax of the book, his father reveals he was drunk when he got into the motorcycle accident. A police officer who had been a big fan of him since college, took him to the hospital but made sure he wasn’t tested for alcohol until after the alcohol was cleared from his system. My question is if as a sports writer, if you knew about the officer, would you write a story exposing the player and officer, ruining his at the time crystal clear image to the public. The player will never have a chance to prove himself again on the court, and it would also result in a police officer getting fired.


About Bennett K

A sports lover going through life.
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4 Responses to How Far Should A Sports Reporter Go?

  1. cdanoff22 says:

    I get the journalists duty to report news, uncover things that people want hidden but if you write that story, what good are you doing? By bringing light to that story you are not benefitting anyone and you are only slandering ones image. You don’t gain anything from it and neither does the public.

    What would your headline be? Ex-NBA Player Hides Truth From Son, Police Officer Helps Cover It Up… That isn’t a story people A. Care about, or B. that would do anyone good. An ethical journalist I hope would realize that it’s distasteful, and you’re really only doing harm by writing the story.

    My personal opinion on stories like this is that the journalist has to make a decision. By writing this story, does it do more good than bad? If the good clearly outweighs the bad then go with it while minimizing the harm you do. If not then you don’t do it, and in this case I really don’t see anything but negative affects coming out of that story. You’re destroying two images, hurting two families, and costing someone a job by reporting it and no one is gaining anything by reading that.

    If anyone disagrees please argue because I hope this isn’t something people feel is newsworthy and I’m curious to see if this is something people would report on.

  2. I don’t believe it is newsworthy personally, but playing devil’s advocate, I do believe there are people out there who do in fact believe this is news worthy. The fact that a police officer, whose duty it is to arrest a man for a DUI clearly refused to do so could lead a major uproar and there are a good chunk of people who would want to see that officer punished for allowing personal opinions affect his job.

    I agree that the story would just do more harm after the fact and could ruin more lives and cause more issues with being published. I would hate to see peoples lives be ruined by a reporter just trying to wreak havoc on society for no real reason. In an instance such as this, I would hope ego wouldn’t take over in the decision making process. It is a difficult decision but in the end I agree with Carl, don’t write the story.

    • cdanoff22 says:

      And I think you brought up a good point with ego playing a part in it because many journalists will admit and have said that you develop an arrogance as a journalist and some have even said it’s almost a necessity in the field. I really feel this kind of story is one that a journalist with an ego would salivate over because there are journalists just waiting to cause an uproar and get people talking and see their story have an impact on society.

      I don’t agree with that mentality at all and I do feel like journalists should view their profession as a gift to have the opportunity to serve the public and do good for their community rather than abuse their power by playing god and afflicting harm on people for the sake of readership and getting their name out there.

  3. Joey Saade says:

    In my opinion, a journalist should never go out of their way to bring up a story that will be detrimental to one’s life and or career, if there is no clear point to it.
    That does not mean that they should go after those stories, but I also think it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t report on something that may be considered newsworthy if it falls in their lap or is very evident it might come out sooner or later.

    In today’s day and age, when news stories get out to the public faster than they are even finished, the glamour of a journalist getting their name on an initial break of a story is huge to them–egotistical or not. As journalists, we can’t lie that when we see our name in a byline of a story we don’t get a little excited–its human nature. I’m not saying it is okay for a journalist to report on a story strictly to make sure their name is one of the first displayed, but if the story is one that will make news, and will be a huge hit, career-wise, it would be a smart decision.

    Bad things happen all the time. Some get reported (or most) and some don’t. Is it a journalist’s fault that some person committed a crime and did something they should not have done in the first place? Again, each story is different and will have different impacts on those who read it and those who the story is about.

    It’s up to a journalist to make the right decision-personally- based on what types of morals they value. Everyone’s is different.

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