All dressed up, nowhere to go…
Living in Lawrence these past six months I’ve come to know what a sub par newspaper sports section looks like. It’s one thing for the Lawrence Journal World to practice the fine art of homerism ad nauseam, quite another to take it the levels it does.
I can barely imagine the Jonestown Advocate (or whatever) dishing out the level of of Kool-Aid hype for Jim Jones devotees that the Journal World does for Bill Self.
Which wouldn’t be half bad if the rest of the sports section made at least a token effort at covering the other area sports teams its readers undoubtedly follow – the Chiefs, Royals and Sporting to name three. Beyond minimal wire copy filler, that is.
So it’s not wildly surprising when the Journal World glosses over the odd KU basketball reality bite.
Like Sweet Sixteen scapegoat Elijah Johnson.
Early in the game Johnson laid a fist bump on Michigan’s Mitch McGary for all to see and drew a flagrant foul call. And probably should have been ejected.
Yet the Journal World game story’s up top take more-or-less lets Johnson off the hook
“It wasn’t intentional,” Johnson is quoted. “Coach asked me if I did it and I didn’t know what he was talking about.”
Buried towards the end of the story is a vague Self mumbling about Johnson making a poor decision.
To its credit that’s not how the Star (and most other media) handled Johnson’s low blow.
Sam Mellinger called it what it was, a cheap shot.
Ditto for The Dagger‘s Jeff Eisenberg:
“Referees reviewed the play and assessed a flagrant 1 foul to Johnson, a somewhat lenient ruling considering replays appeared to suggest the low blow was intentional.”
Unlike the Journal World, the Dallas Morning News and countless others held Johnson’s feet to the fire.
“They gave him a flagrant 1 (foul),” McGary told the DMN. “I don’t know what it takes to get a flagrant 2 nowadays.”
“McGary said the hit momentarily dazed him. He said he believes Michigan wanted to make Kansas regret its rough tactics. Kansas coach Bill Self said after the game ‘that’s not how we play at all…
“I think first couple plays of the game, they wanted to punk us,” McGary added. “Then him giving me a cheap shot, they wanted to make a statement. We just said, ‘No, we’re not going to take this . . . Big Ten’s prepared us very well.”
In fact pretty much, everybody from the Washington Post to the Detroit free Press labeled Johnson’s move a “cheap shot.”
Everybody, that is, except the Journal World.
Maybe I’m taking things a little to the extreme, but isn’t the main goal of a newspaper to provide actual news and not gloss things over while dishing out crybaby headlines?
Am I wrong?
Or did Johnson and KU get what they deserved?