June 17, 1994 is arguably the wildest day in sports history. ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary “June 17, 1994” highlights the sporting events – NBA Finals, MLB game, Stanley Cup and U.S. Open- surrounding the highway chase and capture of O.J. Simpson on charges of murdering his ex-wife and her boyfriend. Unlike most documentaries, it does not consist of interviews and voice overs. It is a compilation of footage from the sporting events and news sources covering the events on June 17 and the days leading to it. However, I don’t want to focus on the entire documentary, I want to focus on how Simpson’s situation was handled because of his status as a star, NFL running back. People didn’t know if he was guilty of the crime he was accused of or not but they still supported him. Fans stood outside of his home chanting “Juice,” held signs that said, “Save the Juice,” and “We love the Juice.” The police officer speaking to Simpson during the chase even referred to him as “Juice” – did he forget that he was speaking to a man wanted for murder or was it just me? Read More
Photo Credit: Star-Telegram.com
This headline is the same headline the New York Daily News used when this story first broke on January 10, 2015. Can anyone guess what’s wrong with it? The headline conveys the cause of Tarpley’s death was due to drugs, but the cause of death was kidney failure. Although he was removed from the league because of his drug abuse, I’m sure he and his family didn’t want him to be remembered as a drug addict, especially if he was clean prior to his death. If I was the sports editor, the headline would’ve read “Roy Tarpley, former Dallas Mavericks center, dies at 50.” Some other good examples are “Former Mavericks big man Roy Tarpley dies at 50” by espn.go.com or “Former Michigan great Roy Tarpley dies at 50” by mlive.com.
Mentioning in the article his NBA career was cut short due to drugs would’ve been fine – following with the positive things he did for his community – but including ‘drug-plagued’ in the headline wasn’t necessary. Journalists have to make ethical decisions and in my opinion, this decision was unethical when it comes to his family and his legacy. Even national and prestigious media outlets make questionable decisions, so it’s important to decipher good journalism from bad journalism. To all my aspiring and current journalists, make sure you know the difference.