WANA: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
Our Fort Worth Star-Telegram has been filled with news the last few days in both the main section and the sports section about a drug bust that included four members of TCU’s football team along with a dozen or so other students among those arrested for selling the drugs. It seems to be the kind of story they can keep puffing to sell newspapers. I don’t watch TV news, but I imagine it has received plenty of attention there also.
From the kind of big deal that’s been made of it, you’d think this was the first time an athlete had ever been implicated in something of this nature. They keep talking about what a horrible reflection it is on TCU. Come again?
The narcotics detectives involved have gone on record to state that neither the coach nor the administration had any knowledge of the problem or the investigation until arrests were made. Once they were notified of the arrests, both the administrators and the coach moved quickly to announce it to the media and to the world at large and to remove the offenders from both the football team and the university. How does that reflect poorly on either the school or the team?
What it reflects badly on is the news media. These vultures hover over anything that could possibly be sensationalized for the purpose of increasing newspaper sales and/or TV ratings. Sometimes they take the time to get their facts straight, and sometimes they don’t. Even when they do get the facts straight, however, they try to paint them in the most spectacular way they can to attract attention to their stories.
When they were arrested, the four players involved in dealing all stated that huge numbers of their teammates used drugs and had failed a recent unannounced drug test. Okay, these guys were caught with their pants down, and they naturally made self-serving statements. If they could make it look like “everybody” did it, they wouldn’t look quite so bad themselves. What else would you expect from boys immature enough to get themselves into this situation?
The media immediately jumped on these self-serving statements and quoted them as if they were gospel and continued to do so for the next day or two. We should be able to expect a little more from these people than we do from college boys caught in a bind. They should have checked the accuracy of the statements before putting them in print.
The fact of the matter, which they finally acknowledged, is that only one player besides the dealers failed the drug test. A far cry from what was being trumpeted in all their stories.
Another fact which has come out more recently is that the number of players on TCU’s football team failing a drug test is a single digit figure, while the figure for many other prominent universities was a three digit figure. This reflects badly on TCU?
If this sounds like I’m taking up TCU’s cause and defending the university, I am—but not because I’m a huge fan. I’ve never really been a TCU fan, although the success of its football team in recent years has won my respect both for the team and for Coach Gary Patterson. But fan or not, I hate to see any institution demonized by the media in order to create sensationalism over the misdeeds of a few people.
What do you think of the media’s handling of this and other stories where someone got into trouble for wrongdoing?
David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. Since his retirement from insurance a few years ago, he has devoted his time to helping Kristen Lamb start Warrior Writers’ Boot Camp and trying to learn to write a successful novel himself.