Wednesday, November 13, 2019

I'll Make This Quick

Last night, I watched a "reporter", Ken Goe, who wrote a very one-sided, ass-kissing "article" on Salazar's response to Mary Cain's accusations against her former coach, get into a Twitter spat with Kara Goucher, who handled the situation with a lot more sophistication than her sparring partner. He suggested she was copping out and not stepping up because she didn't contact him to be interviewed, but Surprise! Potential interviewees aren't supposed to be the one to contact reporters for the work the reporter is doing. That's his job, not Kara's, and she has been very vocal about being willing to talk to people.

Twitter drama aside, people are calling this guy out for producing a piece of journalism that's biased, but there are more disturbing details in what he wrote, some subtle and some more blatant. What's clear is that this guy didn't take the time to do any real reporting; he just concocted a fluff piece basically claiming Salazar is good, now, for all my fellow Crime in Sports followers. However, Salazar's period of grace is long gone, and is trajectory is going to continue spiraling down, I believe.

Right from the start, Ken gets it wrong. Really, the first sentence is garbage:

Under fire from women runners for his training methodology, former Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar issued a statement Tuesday to explain his actions and apologize.

1. It's not just women runners (female runners) who are upset. Men are just as concerned, and plenty of people outside of the running community are, too, including Kamala Harris, who made a statement on Twitter in support of Cain.

2. Salazar never actually successfully explained his actions or apologized.

What Salazar does instead of apologizing is a classic narcissistic move. He states, "If I was callous or insensitive, I apologize," which puts the burden on the victim. "I'm sorry you felt that way" is quite different from "I'm sorry I hurt you." What many of us feel like he should have said is, "I'm sorry I failed you as a coach and created a toxic environment that encouraged the decline of your mental and physical health to the point where you were self-harming and unable to run to your potential," but that would probably be too much to ask.

Though Ken mentions three former NOP athletes who have also come forward to corroborate what Mary is saying, his article has only one brief quote by one of them, a single sentence. The rest of the piece is several paragraphs of back and forth, one long quote by Salazar, one paragraph defending him. And repeat.

The biggest issue I have with this kind of writing is that it discounts the victim. Instead of using her words, Ken downplays her experience by suggesting her career trailed off due to injury. No, it didn't. It trailed off because she was struggling and her coach and those around her didn't or weren't able to come to her aid. This was not her fault. Ken also didn't include the voice of other athletes who witnessed the way Salazar treated his athletes and have come forward.

The bottom line is that this is trash reporting. I could go on and on, but there's no real need. I think people see what kind of bullshit this is, and while the author eventually apologized to Kara for being an asshole on Twitter, he has a lot more to apologize for.

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