Hearne: Journal World Columnist Calls Out KU for Lying

nadaYou gotta love PR people…

You know, the folks who pride themselves on putting one over on the general public and mild-mannered journalists almost as worried about not offending anyone in a position of “power” as they are of getting laid off.

Take the case of KU point guard  Naadir Tharpe. In an announcement last week crafted by KU, Tharpe said he was leaving the team to move back east to be closer to his two year-old daughter who has health issues.

“Naadir has been a good player for us in his three years here,” Self is quoted in the release from KU. “But we also respect the fact that he wants to be closer to his daughter.”

One guy and one guy alone – Lawrence Journal World columnist Tom Keegan – had the guts to call bullshit on KU for its phoned-up quotes in the release about the reasons behind Tharpe’s departure.

And I can assure you that virtually nobody else halfway in the know is buying the excuse KU was serving up.

“No one buys that,” said one prominent Lawrence businesswoman. “Did you see the photo of him with that girl? The girl everyone thinks is a prostitute. She was topless and so was he and that wasn’t his first (major) offense.

“And he was also involved in a fight one year and involved in something else.  Plus they were recruiting that other guard (Devonte Graham) – they signed him the next day.”

The consensus being that Tharpe’s poor play at guard and unseemly off court antics were at the heart of him leaving KU, and that he was probably forced off the team.

“The conventional wisdom is he’s leaving because of a scandal,” says the source. “There’s some truth to his daughter’s story but even though there’s truth to it, right now the daughter isn’t having any (major) issues – it said that in the press release. The bottom line is he wasn’t living up to the hype, so everybody thinks they forced him out.”

photo_t300As did Keegan, apparently.

“Interviewing him for three years, I never once heard Naadir Tharpe say, ‘At this juncture.’ But there it was in the press release announcing his transfer, so he absolutely, 100 percent must have said it,” Keegan writes.

“Not only that, Tharpe used the phrase ‘Due to extenuating circumstances’ for what I believe possibly could be the first time in his life. And he used them both in the same paragraph. Clearly, he devoted a great deal of time in crafting his quote. He must have told himself: ‘I shan’t treat this matter with anything but utmost gravity.’

“An excerpt from the release included this Tharpe quote: ‘Due to extenuating circumstances within my personal life, I will no longer be attending the University of Kansas.’ “

There’s more…

“I’ve always liked Tharpe. Friendly, candid, good sense of humor.” Keegan continues. “Pity I didn’t get to know the fine lad well enough to converse with him to the point he felt comfortable speaking the King’s English. I read the release and pictured him sipping tea with legs crossed, scarf around his neck, patches on the elbows of his tweed jacket, lamenting, ‘Oh dear, wherever did I leave the crumpets?’ ”

jerk-shakespeare-xKeegan stopped short of calling out the KU athletics department as liars, but his message was clear; when if ever will highly paid college sports officials stoop to being honest and letting reality find its way into the light of day?

“Do join me in sending a word Naadir’s way,” Keegan ended the column. “Cheerio!”

Of course that flew in the face of a large misleading headline on the front page of the Journal World’s sports section:

“Guard bolts to be closer to daughter.”

Yeah, right.

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24 Responses to Hearne: Journal World Columnist Calls Out KU for Lying

  1. Kyle Rohde says:

    How interesting that you had a completely different reaction then Awful Announcing did: http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/19756.html

  2. admin says:

    Ah yes, I saw that Kyle when I was clearing my blind spots before writing.

    I don’t know that dude, but he sounds like a straight ahead sports guy, a true believer.

    And that’s fine.

    Me? I’m more of a what-really-happened sort of a guy than a homer for the BSers on the Home Team.

    Knowing what I know about most sportswriters – as opposed to most sports talk hosts – they tend only to rock the boat when it’s easy and there’s little downside.

    You see, “beat writers” – as they’re called – are to a pretty good extent at the mercy of their sources. And when they piss them off they risk getting their credentials messed with, shut out of scoops given to competing sports media – stuff like that.

    Years ago the Star famously got scooped on the courtship of Joe Montana – BY LIKE TWO DAYS – after Tom Jackman (now with the Washington Post if he hasn’t gotten laid off yet) laid the pipe to Carl Peterson’s Chiefs in a front page Sunday story about gunplay, unpaid debts and on-and-on.

    It painted a picture of the Chiefs as thugs just as they were returning to HUGE popularity.

    So the Chiefs tipped off the TV stations, etc and instead of the newspaper getting scooped by just the night before, they didn’t get their story into print (remember the Internet was not a huge factor back then) until two days later.

    There’s lots of ways businesses play these cards as well.

    Plus it can sound a little like that other writer took it – as callous – to suggest that the crappy point guard who had a bunch of sleazy, embarrassing eff-ups didn’t care about his two year-old daughter.

    If you’re a sports fan – and I suspect you are – you probably didn’t bite on that sick kid story either.

    But Keegan had some pretty good fun breaking down the differences between the way the kid somewhat obviously speaks and how stilted and canned the phony press release quotes read.

    Am I wrong?

  3. John Altevogt says:

    Even the JW article that discussed his daughter made it clear she was in worse shape before when he presumably was more interested in milking the nurse’s dairy cannons than giving a hoot about his daughter, or her mother.

    There’s also no mention of the school that’s going to be the beneficiary of his concern for his fatherly obligations, but what basketball super star is going to want to sign up for a team if they get thrown off for boinking some cougar?

    I agree 100%. This was the classic political resignation when some scandal-ridden putz suddenly acquires a desire to “spend more time with my family”. Indeed, I’ve been waiting for the reverse of this from Milt Wolf who’s been out on the stump with both his wife and loony sister-in-law in tow. In that case, I keep waiting for the announcement that he’s quitting the campaign so he can get back to work and get the hell away from his goofy family, I don’t know how you’d phrase that departure in a PC fashion, but I bet the guy who wrote up Naadir’s letter could figure it out.

    • Hearne says:


      • Hearne says:

        Well, you are right Jim.

        But why not issue something terse but true rather than tell a somewhat obvious lie?

        • Orphan of the Road says:

          Maybe to try and keep some doors open for the kid?

          The fanatics will swallow whatever is spoon-fed them and others will hardly notice.

          Remember in the news Business, a lie is as good as the truth as long as you get some to believe it.

  4. chuck says:

    The curse of youthful concupiscence should never be grounds for termination. I would have been unemployable into my late 50s.


    • Hearne says:

      If his play had lived up to expectations, my guess is he’d still be on the team. The KU lawrencites were happy to see him go because he played so poorly, Chuck

  5. Jim says:

    Of course he was forced out! Of course the PR department at KU did its best (and its job!) to spin it the best possible way they could. Of course athletic departments, head coaches and managers in ALL sports lie to the public and the press. Of course we expect that.

    Did Tharpe consider that posting a picture if himself naked and a married chick with her cans hanging out might be an issue with his head coach and University? Of course. Did he care? Of course not.

    All actions have consequences. Positive and negative. I told my buddy the very day it happened that Tharpe was GONE. It was just a matter of how KU was going to spin it. Consider it spun. Of course.

  6. BrotherSunday says:

    Dude took Comp 303 – he can write. Just chooses not to on his twit account. And hey thats my sister!

  7. speedy says:

    That picture is soooo 2011. It was taken during his recruiting visit.

  8. Orphan of the Road says:

    Only coach I EVER heard give an honest answer when they let a player go for bad behavior off the field/court was Buddy Ryan.

    Chris Carter was a touchdown machine with Randall Cunningham throwing to him. But when he went deep into cocaine and abusing his wife, he was cut.

    Buddy was asked why he was cut.

    He can’t do anything but catch touchdowns.

    Maybe KU was sending the kid a wake up call and didn’t want to totally torpedo him?

    Keegan poked the hornet’s nest, just slightly.

  9. PB says:

    Jeezuz, if you believed Tharpe crafted that press release, then you probably also believe that Harley is an expert on everything. Who gives a sh!t…it’s not supposed to be about honesty, it’s supposed to be about what’s best for BOTH parties and that’s the way this is playing out. KU gets rid of some baggage whose minutes were going to be drastically reduced anyway and at the same time opens up a spot for a younger, more talented player. Via the sick kid angle and KU’s support/non-resistance, Tharpe gets to save face and more importantly, probably gets a hardship waiver which will allow him to play NEXT year. Win-win for everybody except the always angry-Keegan, who although pretty much right on with his assessment, used a sarcastic, demeaning tone to deliver that message. Btw Hearne, columnists don’t have journalistic guts, they just have opinions like the rest of us idiots.

  10. bigtimeharley says:

    pb…hearne isn’t posting my good stuff.
    He knows Harley has it going on.
    Don’t pretend to be an expert…but so far no one has proven me wrong
    on anything here on kcc.
    bring it on pb….I welcome the challenge.
    come on hearne. Print my stories. lets get it going!

    • the dude says:

      Yeah hearne, I need a cynical chortle every now and then.
      Print the harlinator!!

  11. PB says:

    Btw, not the first (or last) time Coach Self has “run off” a player. He’s not alone there either, it’s just the nature of big-time college sports. We can debate the ethics of that, but it’s certainly not going to change how things are done at places KU, UNC, UK and the like in basketball and damn near EVERY football program in Division 1.

  12. Terri says:

    Based on Self’s activities it is OK to behave this way at KU, just don’t have a photo of it.

  13. kareem jabber says:

    come on hearen….we all gotta have thick skins….constructive criticisms

  14. Bob says:

    “The consensus being that Tharpe’s poor play at guard and unseemly off court antics were at the heart of him leaving KU, and that he was probably forced off the team.”

    Yep. Saint Self kicked another player off the team and is so damn good at is job made it look like it was the player’s idea. He does this every year. He was always going to have a hard time selling Tharpe’s dismissal because Tharpe was starting and was so fucking awful.

    In any event, good job, Self. No KU fan was looking forward to the upcoming season with Tharpe on the team.

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