bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Golfer lies about Tiger Woods suspension

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I find the fact that things can be reported as news these days with no basis in fact whatsoever to be abhorrent. All that needs to happen is that someone, anyone, says something that seems interesting or controversial and it spreads like wildfire. Many times, there isn’t even any “saying” involved, as Twitter and other social media allow people to speak to an incredibly wide audience with little effort and less personal risk. Anyone with any kind of connection is considered an “insider,” and facts don’t seem to be a necessary component of anything. A recipient of this sort of reporting this week was Tiger Woods, who was said to have been suspended by the PGA Tour for a month, even though nothing of the sort had happened.

On Friday, a golfer named Dan Olson was on a radio show in Michigan. Olson hadn’t played a PGA tour event in 4 years, and spent only one full season on the tour back in 2004. During the interview, he told the hosts that Tiger Woods had been suspended from golf for a month, saying that is why he is currently sitting out as opposed to it being for swing/injury related reasons, which is what has been stated. He did not specify the exact reason for the suspension, but he definitely suggested that it was related to some kind of performing-enhancing substance use.

“It’s not testosterone, but it’s something else,” Olsen told the station. “I think when it’s all said and done, he’s gonna surpass Lance Armstrong with infamy.”

This made huge news, of course, as most things related to Tiger do. I saw the story everywhere, including on sites that are supposedly legitimate news sources. The problem was that it was a total fabrication, from what anyone can tell. The leadership of the PGA as well as Woods’ agent completely denied that any of that had happened. PGA rules dictate that any kind of suspension like this would have had to be announced publicly. There was no announcement. There was nothing…just the word of this duffer with an agenda.

On Monday, Olson retracted his comments, saying that all of it was just his “opinion.” Huh? That doesn’t even make sense. It was his opinion that Woods was suspended? I don’t even know how to respond to that. It sure doesn’t sound like the kind of statement that could involve opinion in any way. Bizarre. There are no negative ramifications for Olson, though. I see no way to punish him or hold him accountable for his words, other than for him to be sued for slander. All he got out of it was his name being discussed publicly for maybe the first time ever, which was very likely his goal in the first place.

I write this column, but that hardly makes me part of the media. The outlets that are truly here for that purpose should be a bit more careful about what they report and how they do it. Guys like Olson are everywhere, and giving them a platform serves no one in the end.

Bad sports, continued:

2) In another example of fast news not necessarily being accurate news, Silas Nacita, a walk-on from the Baylor football team, became a big story last week. The initial news was that Nacita, nicknamed Salsa Nacho, had been declared ineligble by the NCAA for accepting benefits related to his living arrangements. Nacita was homeless at the time of the infraction, which is why people lost their minds about it. Twitter exploded with outrage at the NCAA, beginning with his teammate and likely future first-round pick Shawn Oakman. A day later, Nacita’s story changed a little bit. It turns out the NCAA was not involved in the decision, and that Nacita had received guidance for how to handle the situation from the school’s compliance department and had ignored that advice. He apologized on Thursday.

3) Josh Hamilton, the star outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels who has battled addiction throughout his career, has fallen off the wagon again. He met with league officials on Wednesday to discuss the ramifications of his relapse. He is likely to be suspended by Major League Baseball.

4) Vanderbilt head basketball coach Kevin Stallings got in some trouble this week when he publicly cursed at and threatened one of his players after his team beat Tennessee on Thursday. He has since apologized.

5) Well, I have sure never heard this one before. Travis Kvapil and his team were preparing for the NASCAR race in Atlanta on Thursday. They apparently had the car parked in the parking lot of his hotel, which seemed odd to me, as the cars are usually moved around in big haulers. This time, the car was simply on a trailer being pulled by a pickup. The whole thing was stolen out of the lot late Thursday night. Early Saturday morning, the car was found along a back road in the suburbs of the city, apparently undamaged. Kvapil missed the race, as he was unable to qualify since the team did not have a backup car.

6) For the first time in almost three years, top-ranked golfer Rory McIlroy missed the cut at a U.S. event this past weekend. He was 7-over after the first two rounds of the Honda Classic, which was thirteen strokes off the pace set by then-leader Patrick Reed.

7) Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale broke his foot on Friday while unloading his truck. He will miss the first several weeks of spring training.

8) James Harden, who is having an MVP season for the Houston Rockets, was suspended for one game by the NBA for kicking LeBron James in the groin during a game on Sunday.

Good sports:

1) Lydia Ko, the number one golfer on the women’s tour, broke a course record with a 61 during the second round of the New Zealand Open. She went on to win the tournament by four strokes.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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