Fair warning - this will be lengthy, though hopefully intriguing or at least entertaining.
Evidently I've been censored by someone at OregonLive.com. I got into it with Bob Rickert after getting more irritated than usual by his July 12th post Harper Felt Homesick? I posted. He responded. Then I responded to his response. Or, so I thought. My second post apparently has been removed. It was up for a couple hours, I know that as fact. Then it was gone. I find that interesting considering all the mean-spirited blather than typically goes uncensored at O-Live. So and I thought I would share the situation with my fellow ATQers.
If you haven't read the aforementioned Rickert post, you can do so here. I found it appalling on several levels, to the point it prompted me to respond directly to the author.
Here's my first post:
Posted by JConant on 07/13/09 at 3:45PM
Nice work as usual, Bob.
It's not exactly a stretch to think Harper might have had other reasons for leaving Oregon. Maybe he's a 19-year-old kid trying his best to be politically correct by not calling out a program he'll face in 2011.
Here's a suggestion... If you don't believe Chris Harper's reasons for leaving, try doing your job. Get an interview. Ask him some tough questions and report the result.
Rickert responded with this:
Posted by BobRickert on 07/13/09 at 9:15PM
Here's a suggestion yourself.
1. Figure out that this is a blog and not a job for me.
2. Read all his old quotes and follow the story long enough to realize that...well...lying is tough language but he did tell everyone he wasn't homesick, wasn't interested in K-State blah blah blah, back when the rumor was rampant last winter.
3. Maybe he wasted a lot of other players' valuable practice time by taking the reps they could've taken?
4. Politically correct to not call out a program he'll face in 2011? 1 in 1 million chance of that.
5. If you want to leave. Leave. Fair enough. Free country, all scholarships are renewed annually. Fair enough. But don't say you're not homesick at all and then 3 months later you leave for that very same reason.
Finally, Nobody's answered this question. Does he hope the Chiefs draft him so he doesn't have to turn down an NFL team because he's too far from mom?
Here's where it gets more interesting. Two things came immediately to mind: 1) Bob and I disagree on a few things; and 2) I don't think we like each other. I countered with the following post (Full disclosure - I've rewritten the post from memory. It may not be exactly identical, but it's close.)
Posted by JConant on 07/14/09 around 12:45 p.m., disappeared sometime before 5 p.m.
You're right. I didn't realize this is not a job for you. That explains a lot. Clearly you're role here is purely entertainment. You help drive needed eyeballs to the impression-based advertisements I see throughout the O-Live site. No need to worry about credibility or make the kind of effort a journalist might normally make should he or she want to address the inconsistent statements and subsequent actions of a 19-year-old. Leave that stuff to the guys who get paid.
The only truth that mattered here was that Chris Harper wanted to be somewhere other than Oregon.
No one answered your question, because no one other than Chris Harper himself is qualified to give you an answer. If you acted like a professional in this business, perhaps a guy like Chris Harper would treat you as such and grant you the opportunity to get your information direct from the source. Why not give him a call? Why not reach out to him through online social channels?
What's the worst that could happen? If he refused an interview, at least you could tell us, "Hey, I tried to speak with the kid."
If we agree that time = money, then I suppose that kind of effort might interfere with the O-Live ROI quotient: 'Let's have our free/cheap bloggers pen sensationalized, pointed statements while beating the horse long dead so that other sites will link to us and deliver revenue-generating eyeballs to our impression-based and pay-per-click advertisements.'
It's clear now, the purpose you serve in skewering a teenage student-athlete whose only mistake may be that he didn't handle the process of transferring from one university to another as well as he would've liked.
Now, I'm not saying Rickert is responsible for my post being removed. I received no e-mail notice regarding the post and I don't appear to be banned. And let's be honest. I broke the rules at O-Live. This was a personal attack. I don't like what Rickert and O-Live are doing under the ever-broadening definition of being a media outlet, or why. There's no public service being provided, no furthering of thought or expanding of perspectives. Rickert's post about Harper, like many other blogs, is closely equivalent to crappy talk radio, where a lot of brash noise results in very little sharing of or tolerance for counter perspectives, but where lots of advertising dollars are collected. I guess I'm out of touch because I expect better from a site driven largely by The Oregonian.
What grinds my gears is that I tried to stay reasonably civil. A few examples of comments from others which still are living and breathing within various Rickert blog posts:
Harper was a jerk ! It was all about him. Maybe he'll do the same thing for Kansas ST. as he did for Oregon --- NOTHING !! GOOD RIDDANCE !!...
Padilla is a punk scrub...whatever.
I think you're all drunk!
Oh and Bob.......stick to sports.You know NOTHING about the Civil War,not that you know too much about sports but enough stupidity for one article please.
Evidently I'm guilty of using too many words. Oh, and targeting the blog author.
It's not really about Rickert for me at this point. The Harper call out seems out of character. Rickert's stuff is normally tame. He plays back some recruiting news and is mostly a rah-rah Oregon guy. I've linked to him many times in Morning Quack Fix. I'd probably buy the guy a beer at a tailgate.
I just don't think my post was so venomous that it warranted getting pulled. It's not like I pulled back the curtain and revealed the wizard to be a fraud. Or did I?