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On Accountability

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It is not surprising to read all the nonsense that I have read about accountability in regards to the McNair situation.

Recognizing the wrong in McNair's actions should be obvious to anyone with half a brain. I am not 100% accepting of his explanations that I read in this morning's L.A. Times. But I am also not going on a crusade to find the truth. It is pretty obvious to me that McNair was involved with something more than what he was convicted for, but at what point do we continue to demand a pound of flesh. Whether or not we like the punishment that was handed down the matter, in the eyes of the local jurisdiction is closed, it doesn't matter that some aren't happy but it.

I seem to remember a comment that one of our rivals made from across town about admitting to a DUI/DWI that he was charged with. This was months ago so it is a little fuzzy but I said to myself "that's cool the guy owned up to some serious bad judgment." But I also thought "in this situation, with internet anonymity, that's easy to do because there is really no accountability." No one will question him harshly for his actions especially in the friendly confines of our rival site.

I am not going to go on a witch hunt and demand to know what Pete Carroll knew and when he knew it in regards to the McNair hiring. As I stated yesterday McNair's actions are disgusting and while he may have been guilty of much worse it was only proven that he did something less egregious at least within the statues of the law. It doesn't mean that I am convinced that he is innocent but I refuse to dwell on it. I am not sure what the hiring practices are at USC but I am sure that they are different from across town because they are a private institution and they are not required to follow the rules of the state. That doesn't mean they shouldn't do their due diligence but the are not beholden to follow any other guidelines than those that university sets out. I have stated before that character matters but at what point does a person get to go on with their lives after they have paid their debt to society?

Would it be fair to castigate the commenter from across town because he did something many years ago that is considered much more reprehensible today because of MADD and all of attention brought to that sort of action? Is that a mark on his character that can never be taken away? I think not. It is easy to demand accountability when you hide behind anonymity, as only a skilled marksman can hit a moving target. Is it right to ask for McNair to be fired for something he did over 10 years ago with his debt to society already paid? Simple answer, no. I read a comment off blog recently that made the assumption that when you couple this past situation with the allegations that McNair was involved with the Reggie Bush scandal and the "White Nation" thing that it is a case of once a crook always a crook. That's an awfully big assumption on that person's part, so if you lie once are you a liar forever? Are we now at the point of being "innocent until investigated?"

If you care what the losers from across town think then you're in a catch-22. Not getting outraged and demanding heads to roll puts you in a position of not having any character a all and simply being an enabler to the situation, at least in their eyes. Jumping up and down and screaming for action while lighting your hair on fire only emboldens them to say "see, we are right..." I don't care but I find it ironic for some to demand the accountability of others but not have the stones to shed their anonymity when demanding it. To me it is simply cowardly.

But accountability comes in different forms. And if you are going to get on a soap box and preach you better have your facts straight .In their haste to get their side of the story out and minimize the PR hit that is sure to come, the Daily Trojan has missed the boat in addressing the issue.

The purpose of news is to inform its readership of new, relevant events. Good journalists report with progress in mind, but more often than necessary, news organizations beat stories to the ground, serving no good to the public.

[...]BruinsNation took a sports rivalry to an inappropriate level, bringing back McNair's already public convictions, forcing him to deal with issues that should remain in the past. The site practiced poor journalism as little - if any- good can be done by the resurfacing of McNair's actions.

While we do not condone McNair's previous behaviors, no new evidence of McNair mistreating animals has come to light. BruinsNation's story is not newsworthy - rehashing a 14-year-old, already settled issue does nothing for readers today. The statute of limitations has expired, McNair has paid his dues to society. Nothing more can be asked of him than to not engage in such behavior again, and there is no reason to believe he has.

BruinsNation has used the media frenzy fueled by the Vick case to take advantage of McNair and has accused the Trojans of acting inhumanely by employing a man who was convicted of a crime, as if no coaches at UCLA have ever themselves been convicted.

STOP IT!

First, BruinsNation is NOT practicing journalism. They are a fan site just like Conquest Chronicles. They are bloggers just like we are pure and simple, they are passionate about their team and even more passionate about hating USC. That's fine it cuts both ways here as well. BN, like CC does not get press credentials nor do they get paid to write what they write. As I said yesterday, I may not like the results of their methods but they did what the MSM should have done when McNair's name popped up on the radar screen in regards to the Vick case. I may not like the fact that McNair's past was brought up, as he should have the ability to carry on with his life without continued persecution but the info is out there and in this age of information some will look to bring up others past for their own gain be it for ego or profit that is just how it is. It is how they operate over at BN, anyone with half a brain already knows that. They only care about the salacious stories to make those they disagree with look bad so it shouldn't really be a surprise to anyone.

The DT can't even get the name of the coach right, his name is TODD McNair NOT Tom McNair. Whether we agree or not about McNair's past, those covering the story, especially from the SC angle have a higher duty to get the story straight and not worry about what is good journalism or that a rival blog "supposedly" brought the level of this rivalry down to an unacceptable level. Christ, stop whining! They got the scoop so accept it. There are many other angles here to examine not whether or not BN is doing good journalism or where the rivalry is. Take a good look around; the rivalry is in a shambles for many reasons. It is certainly not the rivalry that I grew up with and I don't expect it to get any better anytime soon.

Accountability comes in many different forms; the question is will those who demand it be willing provide it when it is expected from them. It always comes full circle.