Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The truth comes out

"There’s no doubt about it; that was about as mad as I’ve ever been. It’s madder than I’ve ever been at any player about anything he’s said.

“I called the entire team in and handed them a copy of what was written."

- Roy Williams
Ouch. Williams was referring to some comments Rashad McCants made last week when he equated playing at UNC to being in prison. The good news is that McCants' comments were taken out of context (and Williams' said as much as the press conference progressed). And I know that during an election season this particular cliche is about as tired as praying for Mark Bellhorn to hit the ball out of the infield, but in this instance it's actually true. Here's what Steve Kirschner, UNC Associate A.D. for Communications had to say:

“I just had a few things that I talked about with Coach that I wanted to say. As upset as I was with the interview when I saw it – I went back and one of the people here at the station was nice enough to show me the tape and make me a copy of the tape – and, when I saw the tape, I saw the Rashad that has really interested me. He’s really thoughtful, he’s very introspective, and that’s the type of interview you all have asked him to give since he is such an engaging guy. The interviews he gave prior to the Duke game last year were some of the best we’ve ever had. He was very self-evaluative – looked at himself – to talk to you all about that. And to have a long interview like that…and to have one small part of that question become the headline – I thought was very disappointing and not a true reflection of that interview.”
A couple of things. First, this is another example of the media mischaracterizing comments made by someone in the public eye. Except in this instance, McCants is a 20-year old college kid who was at the mercy of an editor who was willing to sacrifice integrity for sensationalism. Second, after Williams realized as much, he used the incident as an opportunity to teach McCants (and by proxy, his teammates) a lesson in measuring your words very carefully. And to say that McCants was contrite, would be an understatement (I don't know how many times McCants can learn a valuable lesson from his experiences -- maybe he's going for some kind of record; either way, in the long run it'll be worth it...hopefully).

Now if only we could somehow hold the newspaper journalists/editors responsible for their dopey actions.