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Mike Parker and Media Hypocrisy

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The hypocrisy of the media never ceases to amaze me.  They make every effort to sell out athletes, to grab a few more phone calls on their radio show and get a few more clicks of web traffic, but all the rules change when it's one of their own.  With Mike Parker's recent display of good etiquette by making sure to finish everything on his plate, there has been a rush by the media to run to his side and support and protect him. 

Dwight Jaynes:

I feel bad today for Parker but encouraged that he's moving forward with courage. I'm as proud as ever to have him as a friend. But I worry about some others in my business so willing to possibly torch a good man's career or just, in general, cause him and his family even further embarrassment.

John Canzano:

Parker is seeking treatment for alcohol abuse. Oregon State is standing by him. And so are a lot of friends and colleagues. Also, loads of perfect strangers.

Those are all the right moves today.

John Lund 95.5 the Game:

John Lund

@ Well done father, good piece and insight per usual, Parker is class guy who will use this to get better

Aaron Fentress:

Before posting embarrassing videos think of consequences. A man could lose his job, home, rep, family. Think beyond the cheap laugh.

If this were an athlete, would they be saying the same thing?  Why the change of tune from a group of people ready to tar and feather the next sports figure who finds himself in the same hot water?  Is it because he's a media colleague?  A number of these same media members only a few days ago were bemoaning the stupidity of Kiko Alonso.  Some even questioned Chip Kelly's willingness to be supportive of his player in such a difficult time and talked about how Kiko has ruined his second chance at playing football by committing an alcohol induced crime. 

Let me be clear, these two situations are not the same.  Kiko is in trouble for committing a crime while intoxicated, and not for being intoxicated in the first place. 

But what if instead of Mike Parker this had been Chip Kelly?  Would their words have been as supportive?  Would they still be chastising the videographers or would they be trying desperately to get a hold of them to get an interview and be the first to scoop the details?  I doubt they'd be writing about what a good guy he really is, how he's working with his church and administrators to get over these problems.  I struggle to believe they'd be talking about the pain in his voice instead of trying to find every angle to spin this into how he should not be a coach or in the public eye.

What makes me most upset are the media members attacking the people that filmed and uploaded Parker's dietary habits.  As if they did something wrong by being a starting point for Parker seeking help and getting over his problem.  Where were his colleagues before today?  You're kidding yourself if you think these guys have never once seen Parker out having one too many.  Don't assume that this is Parker's first time being that drunk.  The self-righteous media saying, "these kids should have put down the camera and tried to help him out" need to look themselves in the mirror especially considering most of them will go on to tell you right afterwards what a good man Parker is and how well they actually know him.  Where was that indignation before the video?

So why the acrimony over someone like Kiko and the rush of sympathy for Parker?  They see Parker as one of their own.  A hard working, middle-aged to older man, exhausting every effort to use each ounce of his potential.  He's been a mainstay in Oregon and Portland media for decades.  They're horrified thinking about how the little amount of notoriety they possess in comparison to him could vanish as quickly as a napkin on a dinner plate.  And for someone in such a dying industry, it's imperative that they circle-the-wagons and protect him.

Whereas the Kiko's and Chip Kelly's of the world are privileged and fortunate to have what they've been given.  If they squander their opportunity they should be held accountable and lambasted.  Just another spoiled football player/coach frittering away his talent.  Chip Kelly and Kiko Alonso are like the Whack-A-Mole game.  Knock one down and another pops up for you to take shots at. 

In a deteriorating industry like print and radio media, they don't have that luxury.