This was posted on Awful Announcing today and all credit to Jomboy, who did the legwork. This is a couple of months old, apparently, but I had not yet seen it.
Meanwhile, I’m a little non-plussed that my old colleague and poker-playing buddy, Ben Reiter, is poised to profit further from this scandal. On one hand Ben was prescient when he wrote a 2014 SI cover story predicting that Houston, then arguably the worst team in baseball the past half-decade, would win a World Series within the next five years. Then, rightfully so at the time, he wrote a bestseller, Astroball, after Houston did just that.
However, like Notre Dame beat writers who had egg on their collective faces (myself included) for not uncovering the Manti Te’o-Lennay Kekua cat fishing story in real time, or even like Joe Posnanski, a celebrated writer who was busy writing a Joe Paterno hagiography when the Jerry Sandusky story broke (and worse, as an SI senior writer at the time, was loathe to report the story for the magazine as it seemed to conflict with the accepted narrative), Ben missed the story here.
Granted, everyone did. But when you’re boots-on-the-ground for a once-in-a-lifetime type story and you fail to unearth it, isn’t that on you? Somewhat? I’ll cop to it: I haven’t read Ben’s book, so perhaps he explores the allegations. Still, this would’ve been the sports book of the decade had Ben gotten this story. He did not. But now he’s going to do a podcast/TV series off it? As a journalist, I just see this as Woodward sitting in the courtroom, watching the Watergate thieves be arraigned, and then meeting a cute female reporter for drinks and never giving it another thought.
I don’t mean to come down harshly on a fellow colleague, but if you did not break this story when you were in the midst of it, why are you the expert to whom I want to listen now? I’ll hang up and listen to anyone else’ thoughts here.
And by the way, we Notre Dame beat guys are the least worthy of absolution here. Everyone knew about this girlfriend but no one ever saw a photo of them together, no one got suspicious when the Stanford registrar had no record of her, etc. It pays to be a skeptical journalist. It is, in fact, necessary. This is why.