If you’re a regular Deadspin reader (and in this instance, I’ve not seen the story they’ve removed), you might’ve read an anonymous source’s account of ASU baseball coach Pat Murphy’s uncouth behavior at a Muhammed Ali autographing signing organized by Murphy for charity. After Gawker Media’s sports blog received a detailed dispute of Murphy’s alleged jerkiness, the source in question recanted, leaving Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio making a rare apology uh rather, a statement explaining his stance on the matter.
It’s ridiculous to blame Drew (Margery) for “not vetting” this story as thoroughly as possible given that he’s doing a series that’s built on first-hand accounts about supposedly asshole coaches. Drew came to me with this story and suggested this one was unique enough to stand on its own outside of the series. I agreed. It was amusing and given Murphy’s reputation as a hot-head and the other details of the event that were clearly true, it seemed completely plausible.
Obviously, that was wrong. When you run one-sided versions of stories, which we often do here, the goal is just that ” to show one person’s side. That’s it. It’s been my experience, more often than not, that putting these first-person accounts on items reveal a larger truth or open the door to finding out the bigger story. This is how we’ve successfully done many things on this site over the years from “You’re With Me Leather” to Josh Hamilton.
“Unlike other traditional publications, ” continues Daulerio, “I think we draw a lot more attention to our mistakes than just a 10 word correction buried on page A12.” That’s very true, though some of the mistakes are the sort of thing that in previous eras would’ve ended writing careers rather than jump starting them. And, to be fair, Deadspin is not alone in providing a vehicle for axe grinders, though I’m personally not down with the anonymity.