Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blogs on the news… 07-13-14


This blog is scheduled to be the last one prior to the return of the beloved interactive sharlogs.  Absence of the sharlog for all of these recent weeks was due in large measure to computer and software problems… problems which at last have been completely addressed and rectified.  The narrative on the next sharlog dealing with the Amtey autopsy report has been completed, and will most likely be narrated within 24 hours.  Its estimated date of posting will hopefully be by the end of the week.  The topic of the sharlog to follow will focus on the State and media witch-hunt that has been underway against Mike Nifong for seemingly an eternity.

 
Media discrediting Rashad McCants

Word count: 1,096

Well, the media is at it again… using one of its most effective weapons in its arsenal of devious tricks – discrediting an individual to minimize one’s message.  This was used for a lengthy period against me when I tried to alert the media and public of problems within the state’s medical examiner system… long before The News & Observer five-part series titled “Fatally flawed.”  The News & Observer in particular tried to mute my public service message by painting me as an interloper and troublemaker in Mangum’s recent murder case.  It repeatedly wrote about how the State Bar was investigating me… giving the impression that I was illegally practicing law.  Yes, I did attempt to lend what help I could for Mangum who I accurately predicted would be given the Judas Iscariot treatment by her defense attorney.  However, the most scathing and malicious article would come from The Indy Week of August 22, 2013 which was essentially nothing more than a hatchet job.  I knew that it would be shortly after I approached a writer with the weekly about doing a story about the problem with the medical examiner in Mangum’s case.  Instead, the focus of the article was focused on gossip related to issues that occurred one or two decades ago and having no relevance on North Carolina lives.  Although the excellent cover by Chris Williams accurately depicted my objectives and motivation (depicted as a caped superhero saving Lady Justice), the story was meant to have the opposite effect… one of discrediting and diminishing my influence.

Scott Fowler, a McClatchy sports commentary writer for the Charlotte Observer, in an article in the July 11, 2014 edition of The News & Observer titled “Jamison calls McCants a ‘clown’” does his best to discredit Rashad McCants, the UNC-CH basketball star who recently opened up to ESPN in an interview pertaining to the academic and athletic so-called scandal.  Specifically McCants, who was part of the 1995 Championship UNC team under popular head coach Roy Williams stated that his academic eligibility was in jeopardy and that Coach Williams helped insure that McCants, a star on the team, would remain eligible.  In being frank, McCants said that it was his belief that Coach Williams was aware that he was enrolled in fail-proof classes provided through the African and Afro-American Studies Department under the much maligned department head Julius Nyang’oro.

Antawn Jamison, a UNC-CH basketballer under Coach Williams began his collegiate career after McCants had left the university and credited his insights on McCants’ character as stemming from observing McCants during summer visits he would make to the Chapel Hill area.  For example, Jamison is said to have noticed McCants’ talents and lack of focus… whatever that means.  The article didn’t delve into what Jamison meant when he referred to McCants’ lack of focus.  Whether or not McCants was focused or lacked focus, that has nothing to do with McCants’ credibility.  When McCants says he didn’t write papers and didn’t attend class, I believe him.  When McCants said that he thought Roy Williams was aware of his academic situation, I believe that that is what he sincerely believed.  Whether that was reality is something else that only the coach can answer.  From what I have heard from McCants on interviews and from what I’ve read in the newspapers, I strongly am of the belief that Coach Williams was more involved with keeping his star performers academically eligible than he let has let on.

The newspaper article made it appear as though McCants’ statements covered widespread academic misconduct involving others as well as himself.  To my knowledge, though it may be limited, McCants talked exclusively about his situation and did not delve into that of his teammates and other players.

Fowler quotes Jamison as saying of McCants, “I just think he’s a clown.  I think he’s in a situation where he’s looking for attention.  It’s just sad.”  What does Jamison mean by his statement that he thinks McCants is a clown?  I don’t know.  Fowler doesn’t follow up on the statement.  For Jamison to state that he believes McCants’ actions are because he’s seeking attention is extremely weak and is quite often overused.  Many commenters to my blog site frequently accuse me of seeking attention when I attempt to bring attention to injustices in the State’s legal system.  The main reason I am forced to do so is because the mainstream media has failed to provide this important service for the people of North Carolina.  From what I’ve seen of McCants, it does not appear to me that he is seeking attention.  What would be his purpose for seeking attention?  What would be the purpose for me to seek attention?  Attention is the last thing I want, but one cannot be an effective advocate by being anonymous… and effective and credible advocate must lend his name in order to show commitment to the causes he supports.

Jamison is also quoted as accusing McCants of trying to “throw a black cloud over everyone who’s done it the right way.”  Again, Fowler journalistically fails to follow-up in order to understand the essence and accuracy of Jamison’s statement.  As I have stated, I have never seen or heard McCants denigrate others or even discuss the situation of other players academically or otherwise. 

Finally, Fowler, through Jamison, tries to make it appear that McCants’ interviews with ESPN and other media is vendetta-driven because of McCants’ relationship with the university… in particular, quoting Jamison as saying about McCants, “Don’t try to bring down a university because you don’t have a good relationship with the coaching staff.”  Where does Jamison come off making such a statement about an athlete with whom he didn’t play and whose observations come from occasionally seeing him every now and then during the summer?

It is clear to me that it’s not McCants who has an agenda in all of this, but Antwan Jamison.  He was not picked up after a lengthy 16-year NBA career, and is currently trying to latch on to play for the Charlotte Hornets for at least another year.  What better way to achieve that than by coming to the support of a beleaguered legendary and much loved basketball coach by helping to take the wind out of the sails of McCants whose motives in coming forward seem nothing more than altruistic to me.

I must hand it to Scott Fowler… he did an excellent job of subtly discrediting Rashad McCants.  It certainly wasn’t overkill like the August 22, 2013 Indy Week article about me.   nn


Follow-up on P. J. Hairston

Word count: 451

My last blog in defense of P. J. Hairston may have been a bit hasty.  Going solely by the account in The News & Observer, in which Hairston’s spokesperson said the high schooler  initiated the shoving and punching exchanges, I charged in to defend Hairston who has been unfairly targeted by the media.  However, as events have developed it seems as if there was no shoving during the match, and that the one or two punches thrown by Hairston were unprovoked, unanswered by the high school player, and occurred outside the heat of competitive sports battle.

Like Pope Francis and the Man from Nazareth, I do not condone violence, and it appears that Hairston was clearly in the wrong.  I find no fault in the parents of the youth seeking out a warrant under the circumstances.  It is my hope that this episode helps make Hairston a better person… that he learns from his bad behavior and doesn’t repeat it in the future.

Unlike politicians and many in the media, I own up to my errors in judgment and have the courage to admit them.  Overall, my last blog about Hairston missed the mark.  See, I don’t go around trying to make excuses.  I think that part of the problem is that many people think of me as being perfect, so the important thing is to remember that I am a human being, just like everyone else, and am therefore capable of making a mistake… on extremely rare occasions.

The other stories in the news about Hairston… switching his car with Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon and having an agent who is not registered should not be brought before the public as character issues.  So he switched cars with an NFL bad boy… is that against the law?  And so what if his agent is not registered?  Maybe he didn’t do his homework like he should have in selecting him, but if anything it seems like he is the victim here, if anything.

Even though Hairston disappointed me in the YMCA pickup basketball game, that does not give the media the right to scrutinize his every move.  Instead of trying to get the Hornets to fire him, why write and broadcast constructive stories.  During last year’s basketball season the media had the chance to attack the parasitic NCAA cartel for its draconian suspension of Hairston, but it didn’t.  Fowler should’ve teed off on the avaricious NCAA members and their self-serving policies that come at the expense of student athletes.  Had Fowler defended Hairston’s right to play basketball last season, UNC might have made it to the Final Four… maybe even winning the national title outright.    nn