If A Coach Falls In The Forest
April 29, 2016 – When the news came from Tuscaloosa that Bo Davis, a current coach and long-time member of Nick Saban’s staff at both Alabama and LSU, was being forced out due to allegations of recruiting violations, where was al.com?
For a site that is widely known for recycling information from other sources, a site that doesn’t hesitate to make “news” out of twitter conversations, a site that traffics in wild speculation there was a deafening silence in regard to the allegations that were first reported by the Tuscaloosa News and later made the rounds on ESPN, CBS, USA Today and other national news services.
As of 10 a.m. Friday, April 29, a full 17 hours after the news first appeared in the Tuscaloosa News, al.com remained silent. Not a word had been written by any member of the al.com staff in regard to the story.
That’s outrageous. The media silence clearly and incontrovertibly reinforces the ever-present pro-Alabama bias that pervades that site.
Where was Michael Casagrande? Did the possibility of negative news disrupt his sycophantic adoration of all things Crimson? Was he too busy writing his 93rd review of Alabama’s win over Clemson in January?
Where was Matt Zenitz? Was he too busy writing more glowing stories about how cheap shots against an opponent and assaults of a teammate in high school illustrate how wonderfully intense a Bama senior is going to be?
Where was John Talty? Was he too wrapped up predicting five Tide players would go in the first round of the NFL draft and then developing rationales as to why they didn’t? Had he used up all his superlative adjectives in fawning over Tide players?
Where was Mark Heim? Tied up in a tag team with Talty making sure we all know how “hilarious” Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is on Twitter and with his new emojis (but conveniently ignoring his Tinder escapades)?
Where too was Kevin Scarbinsky? Of all the so-called journalists who contribute to al.com Scarbinsky is the one who typically skews most to center. He’s quick to criticize, often rightly so, and just as quick to question when things seem awry. No comment here?
Where was Mark Inabinett? Well, it was pretty important to make sure everyone knew Cam Newton disappointed his fans. And he had to explain why Reggie Ragland wasn’t drafted in the first round.
Where was Creg Stephenson? Oh ,that’s right. There was a story about Ole Miss potentially breaking rules that needed to be aired.
The site had no problem rushing at least two stories about Laremy Tunsil’s twitter accounts to the site, Stephenson’s being one. This despite the fact that the Tunsil news was reported hours after the news of potential recruiting violations at Alabama broke.
So al.com staffers pounded out the Tunsil rumors, but in regard to potentially damaging news about the Crimson Tide, however, complete silence.
In a twitter response this morning to questions about the silence, an al.com representative noted the site was “attempting to verify the story.”
Did al.com staff “attempt to verify” Tunsil’s twitter feeds before it splashed those across the site?
Is it unreasonable to infer that the editorial administration at al.com instructed its staff to shut the Alabama story down?
We’ve seen how al.com reacts to similar allegations at other schools. It had no qualms about hurling unverified and poorly sourced material from a variety of sites within minutes of their release when those allegations were pointed at programs that do not claim houndstooth as a primary color.
The disparity in treatment is egregious, outrageous, offensive and shameful.
It is an absolute disgrace. Sadly it’s what we’ve come to expect.
Update: At 11:10 a.m. on April 29, 18 hours and 10 minutes after the initial Tuscaloosa News report, Matt Zenitz posted this story which contained nothing but a innocuous statement from Nick Saban. There’s no mention of the Tuscaloosa News report or the allegations contained therein. The handling of this issue, particularly the delay and manner in which it is reported, further reinforces the perception that the site takes its cues and direction from the Alabama football program.