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Unflattering Parrish Perspective

Glenn's piece (Article) is much too nice to Parrish. Without actually appending the label, what Glenn described is a man who is intellectually/journalistically dishonest. I believe Parrish's piece (Article) was done solely with the aim of attracting the ability of the manic focus of the BBN to spin website page-view counters off their spindles during the summer news doldrums. But like most of us, I've become inured to the behavior of too many of the media who want to don the journalistic mantle but eschew the hard intellectual labors associated with adhering to the panel of attendant ethics.

I've seen a few fans express distaste but wonder what all the anger directed toward Parrish and his article was about, e.g., "... He covered his ass pretty well on the journalistic part by stating there were little to no facts to back it up." And if all Parris had done was to bring up the rumor while dismissing it as unfounded they'd be right - unpleasant journalism but no big deal. But my Big Blue anger is aroused primarily because that is not what he did. He went much further.

Here we have a man (Parrish) who takes a non-story, a discredited languishing spiteful rumor about a kid and his family likely started by a spurned and thereby disappointed recruiter, and attempts to not only resuscitate the rumor but, by twisting the perspective slightly, reinstate it in the public sports consciousness with a newly elevated and totally unwarranted level of substance and respectability using a deceitful prose style.

The dishonest style issues intrinsic to the Parrish article are rather subtle. Take this statement -

"Davis is the only Calipari recruit to ever be publicly tied by a mainstream media outlet to a recruiting scandal (emphasis added) before enrolling."

By this statement, Parrish elevates this single line, "The rumors/sources that have Davis choosing Kentucky are also alleging that the commitment cost $200,000," buried in a Chicago Sun-Times' blog post by Michael O'Brien who covers Chicago area high school athletics, to the level of "scandal." As stated at the time of the original Chicago blog post by Matt Norlander, now a colleague of Parrish's on CBSSports.com, "O'Brien is rightfully coming under massive fire on Twitter in the past hour ... because not only did he trot out a sloppy/unfounded rumor ... based around that 200K figure,... it's clear this is a gross case of irresponsible journalism." (Article)

If there actually was a "scandal" it was that the ill sourced rumor ever saw the light of day under the banner of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Next, Parrish states:

"No major website or newspaper had ever alleged (emphasis added) serious cheating [by Calipari] until the Chicago Sun-Times staff writer Michael O'Brien reported last August that Davis' father had negotiated a deal worth $200,000 to send his son to Kentucky."

This makes it sound as though the Chicago Sun-Times had published a high profile exposé accusing Calipari of big time cheating at the University of Kentucky and thereby imbuing O'Brien's rumor-statement with totally unwarranted stature. The reality is that a generally unsupervised high school sports reporter at the Chicago Sun Times merely tossed out an unsubstantiated rumor in a single sentence buried in a blog post about high profile area college basketball recruits. But of course if Parrish had stated that truth no one would have wanted to read an article further kicking the battered reputation of a 22 year old journalism major.

Then Parrish states:

"[O'Brien's] report, even if true, was thin."

This lone sentence is totally intellectually/journalistically dishonest, suggesting there was reason to think the rumored Kentucky payment of $200,000 for Davis' commitment was "true" but the journalism was faulty.

"But that didn't stop the story from making national headlines."

It made national headlines, even at Parrish's CBS Sports employer, as a "gross case of irresponsible journalism" not because there was thought to be a single scrap of honest evidence associated with the rumor and certainly not, as Parrish implies, an indictment of Davis, Calipari or the University of Kentucky.

"...it should be noted -- nothing new as it pertains to that Sun-Times story has been reported since last August. That's probably a good sign for UK."

Well, no there hadn't, and did Parrish add any evidence as to why the topic should have been revived? - no. Parrish in-effect says, 'There's no reason to think the rumor is anything but un-supported and probably totally untrue, but, just because he remembers it and can write about it, he's totally justified in holding Anthony Davis and those associated with him accountable for the fact it existed at all, however embellished, tainting and recognizably "unfair."'

"But whether his stickback dunks and blocked shots in college are forever overshadowed by allegations of impropriety remains undetermined, proof being how many of the questions Davis faced in Ohio last week were about exactly that, fair or not."

This is perhaps the least honest statement in Parrish's entire article. There was no story here and the rumor was appropriately rendered to the trash heap of unfounded slander. Now however, Parrish's piece has revived this unfounded nothing of a rumor and legitimized the practice of appending mention of "the rumored scandal" every time Davis is talked about in a slanted piece of writing looking for a means to diminish his accomplishments.

Further, as for Parrish taking cover among his "many" colleagues who also questioned Davis on the issue - all reports are that Parrish initiated the questioning of Anthony Davis about the long dead issue. You can't claim you weren't the only one bringing up a dismissed malicious rumor when you were the first. The follow-on reporters were merely attempting to determine if there was indeed a story here, as Parrish's resurrecting questions seemed to suggest, where no one else had previously found anything - that's their job.

And finally I say this to you, Gary Parrish, stating the world isn't "fair" is no defense of you and your actions here when you are personally engaged in making sure that, yes, indeed, the world isn't fair. What it makes you is selfish, unprofessionally inept and cruel.

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