LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: Reeves Nelson #22 of the UCLA Bruins reacts in the second half while taking on the Oregon Ducks in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament at Staples Center on March 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
I think this case is going to be interesting.
Former UCLA player Reeves Nelson is suing Sports Illustrated for $10 million, citing defamation, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress over its recent article about problems in the school's basketball program.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Superior Court in Los Angeles names Time Inc. and writer George Dohrmann as defendants. The story titled "Not the UCLA Way" initially appeared Feb. 28 on the magazine's website and then in its March 5 print edition. Nelson also wants a retraction and public apology.
I will say right now that I hope this lawsuit goes all the way to the end. I don't care if Nelson wins or loses but I do care about the process of how stories get reported.
George Dhormann is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. There was a time that that mattered, that having that prestigious award on your mantle was enough to be above reproach. But times have changed, with Twitter, blogs and other forms of social media anyone can "break" a story even if some of the details might be a little off.
We lived through Tim Floyd being accused of passing a sack of cash to O.J. Mayo's handlers by supposed respected Yahoo! reporters Jason Cole and Charles Robinson, yet those accusations were never proven. Emails that I have between myself and Cole simply say that they were comfortable with their sources and they stand by their reporting, yet the story was never corroborated outside of the initial accuser Louis Johnson. The NCAA even found that Floyd was not culpable in the receiving of benefits by O.J. Mayo...and we all know the NCAA would have loved to nail USC into a black hole if they could have.
No question that Dhormann is a fine journalist but when I read the SI piece even I felt like it wasn't complete.
I am certainly not a UCLA shill, and even it the story seemed incomplete I didn't feel bad when a certain group of UCLA fans went through a lot of same things we went through over Bush and Mayo.
Welcome to our world.
That aside, programs get put in the crossfire because someone is disgruntled.
It's no secret that I am one of the biggest UCLA haters on record. I think Ben Howland's style of basketball is horrible to watch and maybe he is an absentee landlord when it comes to his players but is that really enough to do an expose'? It would be nice to see someone actually have the stones to put their name out there when making these types of accusations.
Regardless of the outcome I think it is a good thing to have the process exposed. Even I have deleted almost finished pieces because I wasn't comfortable with not having all the information.
You live and learn.
Guys like Dhormann are rock stars, Dhormann has more talent in his pinky finger than I will ever have in this medium, but I think the standards are changing and there needs to be more accountability. I remember when Robinson acted giddy on Twitter right before USC's sanctions were announced, I thought it exposed him as having an agenda. He may be a good reporter, his work on the Miami/Nevin Shapiro investigation seems pretty compelling, but giddiness on Twitter makes him suspect to many.
Obviously, I have a bias. So do many Miami fans, but without solid corroboration outside of the standard unnamed sources people are becoming more and more skeptical to these stories.
Like I said, I don't care about the outcome. But I do care about how credible the story actually is and if those who made the accusations behind the scenes are credible.