I’m in no mood to pull a Whitlock and slam Rutgers’ women’s hoops coach C. Vivian Stringer for weighing in forcefully regarding Isiah Thomas’ continuing to coach the Knicks and his statements regarding black men being able to call black women “bitches,” etc. What she told ESPN is fundamentally correct.
I’m just wondering why ESPN decided to pile on — not that Thomas’ conduct didn’t warrant it, but it’s been a few weeks after the liability verdict, the NBA regular season starts in a few days, why the timing now? Did Doris Burke happen to get these comments during an otherwise normal conversation about the Rutgers women’s team’s expectations for this year and decided that this was more of a story? Or did they seek out Stringer for comment on this, manufacturing more controversy when there were no actual updates on the story to speak of?
Sadly, this journalistic practice is a bit too common in broadcast — if the natural cycle of a story has hit a lull, remember old contacts from something semi-related and get their reaction for a fresh angle for the day, and you’ve filed a good story. However, whether it’s timely or necessary goes out the window — this one just came out of the blue and didn’t fit.
I suspect this sort of practice has a lot to do with why people don’t like ESPN a whole lot at times — creating more controversy and pointed statements on issues to keep the controversy afloat. Certainly, the sexual harassment trial involving Thomas and MSG has earned both what they get in the public forum regarding this, but this seemed lazy.