Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Friday, June 22, 2012

Quick Post: Wil Whelan gets thrown under a speeding train

The sound you heard last night was basketball writer William Whelan getting thrown under the proverbial speeding train by CU assistant coach Tom Abatemarco.  In a series of tweets, Coach Abatemarco repeatedly declared that Whelan was a "bad reporter," and that he was "messing with the wrong person."

The issue apparently stems from a recent interview request where Whelan was asking about Coach Abatemarco's potential interest in the open assistant coaching position at St. John's.  Whelan then apparently took the issue to Coach Abatemarco's colleagues on the Buff staff, which got the boulder rolling downhill.  By the time I caught whiff of the situation, many of the offending tweets, along with the linked article, were deleted.  Needless to say, however, Coach Abatemarco was pissed; he continued his diatribe over the course of six hours, spurred on by the likes of Mile High Sports commentator Reed Marks.

I'm not a journalist; I would never claim that mantle. I didn't graduate from a J-school, and I wouldn't know the first thing about journalistic ethics.  I also don't subscribe to, with no intention of ever doing so, leaving the contents of the article beyond my reach.  Essentially, I can't intelligently comment on the heart of the dispute.  What I do know, however, is that it's probably not good for a beat writer to be publicly torn down by one of his subjects. AZ ( founder), his site, and his fellow contributors already strike many in Buff Nation the wrong way.  It certainly doesn't help their standing when a respected member of the basketball coaching staff publicly and repeatedly calls their BasketBuffs beat writer a "bad reporter."

The whole situation ends up reflecting poorly on each side (Whelan for irking a primary subject of his coverage in such a way, and Coach Abatemarco for responding so viscerally).  As a Buff fan, my only interest is how the team is portrayed, and public spats between the team and the media aren't good for any involved.  I hope the two find a resolution quickly and privately.

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