Ah, the media. It's filled with so many former, competitive and successful athletes. You know, the ones who got all the playing time in middle school and high school. The ones who hit the winning shot, scored the winning goal, hit the home run. The ones who toiled, bled and grunted all day long in empty gymnasiums, weight rooms and film sessions.
Wait a minute, I've got it all wrong. Now I remember from my days as a journalist in television news. There are no such people in that business. There are whiners, complainers, and the bitter. There are the many who abuse their power of the pen whilst hiding behind a laughable facade of "factual reporting without analysis."
The first paragraph of this post describes my friends at Harvard. My friends who have outworked the majority of their peers in Cambridge to get where they are today. My friends who deserve to be at the best university in the world, where they contribute academically, socially and athletically.
Unfortunately, these same friends of mine are being thrown under the bus by, yes, you guessed it, the media.
The attention-craving media. The headline-selling media. The pathetic-and-wrongful-implication-without-investigation-policy media.
I give you an example.
A certain, large sports network never questioned my friends' guilt.
No, they did not directly announce that my friends were guilty. They did not lie and say that an investigation proved my friends had done wrong.
But boy, did this same network and other ancillary networks seem happy in 2011 when my friends beat Princeton to win the regular season Ivy League Championship. Boy, did they sure seem excited to knock on my friends' locker room door after the game, to beg them for an interview, to smile and celebrate with them as they asked them how it felt to bring basketball glory to Harvard. And yes, did they sure seem to jump right back on the bandwagon when the Crimson won it all last year, too.
No, no, no. I repeat. They did not say my friends were guilty.
But not once -- because it wouldn't sell this way, because it wouldn't advance their careers this way, and because they do not think this way -- not once did they phrase their writing or presentation to be at all in question of my friends' guilt.
Not once did they report that my friends might not have done what they are accused of doing. Not once did they ask, "What if these guys -- the guys we buddied up with, rode the coattails of over the last two years -- didn't cheat on a take home exam?"
Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry are fine young men. No, they are beyond that. They are way beyond that.
They epitomize the well-rounded college athlete. They epitomize the dying breed of good people on this planet. They are superstars on a college campus. On Harvard's campus. Yet they stop, smile and talk to anyone in Cambridge -- freshmen or senior, tourist or native -- who looks in their direction. They are never too good for others, too busy for anyone else or too talented to lend a hand. They are kind, giving and hardworking young men, and they know how lucky they are to be at Harvard.
Sadly, they are just two of an accused group that numbers over 100 students. And finally, members of Harvard's administration pointed out the obvious: This is about a group of students, not just athletes.
Why is that a headline? Why is that not obvious to everyone? Ugh, I could go on forever.
When the networks knocked on the locker room door on that amazing night in March of 2011, my friends opened the door willingly, celebrated and did their interviews.
As Teddy Roosevelt said best, "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood."
There are no footprints of the authors of these articles in the arena. Their faces -- not my friends' faces -- are marred with distrust.
My friends deserve the credit that Mr. Roosevelt speaks of.
It's about time we give them some.
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