Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Is Anything Sacred Anymore?

"We are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times"
---William Orville Douglas

I have long been a supporter of a person's right to keep his/her personal life private--a statement that might seem a bit hypocritical considering that part of my job is to find out as much information about athletes and coaches as possible. Believe me, it's an internal struggle I've encountered for years.

I am of the strong belief that unless an athlete or coach does something away from their respective sport that prevents them from performing that such information should not make its way into public discussion.

" One of the great penalties those of us who live our lives in full view of the public must pay is the loss of that most cherished birthright of man's privacy."
--Mary Pickford

If an athlete gets into a domestic dispute with his estranged wife or gets indicted for tax evasion but doesn't miss a game or a practice, why should such information become public knowledge? Is it really news just because someone might recognize that person's name in a headline?

If a similar situation happens to you and it doesn't cause you to miss any time at work, will anyone outside your family and close personal friends even hear about it? Let alone the whole world? Hell, your boss wouldn't even know about it if it were left up to you, and the same goes for me.

Obviously, I am in the minority on that subject when it comes to my colleagues in the media. It seems as though we hear something about some sports figure getting arrested or sued, but just because it's standard operating procedure, doesn't make it right.

"Privacy is not something that I'm merely entitled to, it's an absolute prerequisite."
--Marlon Brando

The reason I even bring up this subject is due to some recent events in Kentucky, involving Rick Pitino and John Calipari. Let's start with Pitino.

Once the news started to break that there was a possible FBI investigation involving Coach Pitino and/or the Louisville basketball program, I started getting hit up with e-mails asking me if I knew anything about the situation. At first, I knew absolutely nothing about it, and the only reason I started looking into it was because the initial belief that it might involve point-shaving--something that directly relates to the team's wins and losses.

However, as I started to talk to more people around the program, I discovered that this particular situation was more of a personal matter between Coach Pitino, his family, a member of his staff and his estranged wife. Basically, I didn't think it was any of my business what was going on, nor do I believe the fans deserve to know either--even if it does involve a high-profile basketball coach.

I know some of you come to my blog specifically for inside information. I'm sorry, but I just don't think it's my place to share what I have learned about this particular situation. With every news outlet in the Commonwealth following this story, I am sure you will have no problems finding out more about this story with each passing day. It just won't come from me.

"I have as much privacy as a goldfish in a bowl."
--Princess Margaret

There was also an event recently concerning John Calipari and the purchase of his new home. As I told you earlier, he asked my advice on good areas of Lexington to live when we ran into each other in Portland. He had his eye on a particular house in a certain area of town. I knew exactly where the house was, and I had a good feeling that he would end up buying it, but the thought of sharing that information never crossed my mind.

Little did I know that only a short time later, Calipari's address and pictures of his home would not only be published on the website of multiple news outlets, but those same pictures and home information made its way to my mailbox--multiple times--as a forward from friends. I thought both acts were outrageous.

Is anything sacred anymore? I realize he's the coach at Kentucky--making him the biggest celebrity in the state--but he's also a husband and a father. He's not the only person living at that house. His wife and children will be living there too.

Now any time some crazed fan gets the scary idea of showing up at Calipari's house to show his displeasure over a lost game, that fan might encounter someone else at the house instead of Calipari. And what if, God forbid, something bad happens because pictures of his house and the address can be found in less than 5 seconds on a Google search? Who will be to blame? The media outlets who published them or an overzealous fan base who demands any and all information about their favorite teams?

"We must protect our citizen's privacy--the bulwark of personal liberty."
--Bill Clinton


Kevin Jones said...

Amen brother, let both men be! I wonder how long it'll be before people are stealing Cal's trash like they did with Pitino back in the day.

Celebrities are people too, and I know I hate being bugged during a meal and i'm a regular ass guy, I could only imagine the constant strain both of those coaches must go through.

M said...

It did seem weird that the Lexington Herald Leader had, not only the outside of Coach Calipari's house on its web site, but pictures of the inside as well. I realize that those were the realtor's pictures from it being on the market, but they probably didn't have to link to them. I think most people that passed along that link did so in good faith that they were just letting another fan have a look, but the press puts stuff out there and fans react. Similar with Coach Pitino's difficulties, I had no clue about any of that until I turned the radio on and there it was. Once you attract people to a story it is difficult to turn off the interest, or for people to make a decision to then police themselves and pay no attention to certain things in the press.

Clos said...

Amen Amen Amen Amen.....I am embarassed that local media outlets here in KY are doing this. Tacky to say the least....No need for this

Clos said...

Amen to that
I agree, this is embarassing that news outlets feel that it was necessary to share this information. It sickens me as a UK fan and Kentuckian for this to be considered "OK" behavior

Anonymous said...

amen...It's the first mistake Coach Cal has made at UK. He can live in that same neighborhood / area and not be "out front". Tubby lived there as well....just way in the back and a little hidden.

TheBigBooyah said...

Couldn't agree more. Nicely done.

Anonymous said...

yeah its pretty much bush league for media outlets in Lexington to show where coach cal is buying a house. I hope the idiots don't camp out and make this a problem. Let the man enjoy his new house.

Anonymous said...

Well put, some people here take things a little too far.