You’d like to think Magic F Dwight Howard will have a more thoughtful approach to his free agency than last summer’s most highly prized acquisition. But enough comparisons between Howard and Brian Scalabrine, the former is of the opinion the Orlando Sun-Sentinel is determined to drive him into the arms of another suitor. Perhaps tired of harassment from Howard acolytes, Sun-Sentinel editor Mark Russell used the Sunday editorial page to explain in as non-condescending a manner as possible, “how a newsroom works.”
Sports columnists, meanwhile, are paid to state their opinions. And they frequently take unambiguous positions. Mike Bianchi, for example, said earlier this week he desperately wants Howard to stay in Orlando.
To be sure, our coverage of Howard is complicated by his celebrity. Dozens of readers and Web users have told us — in sometimes colorful terms — to ease off Howard because our coverage will antagonize the superstar and surely drive him away from Orlando. Those readers say the Sentinel’s coverage helped drive Shaquille O’Neal’s free-agent exit to the Los Angeles Lakers 15 years ago. And Howard fanned those passions when he mentioned Shaq’s exit in his Twitter post.
Our coverage — and our decision-making — is driven by our effort to put Howard’s future in context and report any developments that arise. We also will continue to initiate online conversations about what kinds of moves the Magic should make to keep Howard or how to get value if they elect to trade him. That’s what a newsroom should do.