HURRICANE MITCH BLOWS THROUGH TOWN: CLAIMS TWO VICTIMS
The Mitch Albom investigation is complete and the Free Press sports columnist is painting himself out to be a victim.
Unfortunately I sat next to the real victims during Tuesday's Pistons-Pacers game at The Palace. The real victims in this are Free Press sports columnists Drew Sharp and Michael Rosenberg, who never asked to be involved.
But the newspaper they loved are using them as bullet proof vests to protect their prized possession whom they fear will be taken hostage by the journalism community.
After a five week investigation on allegations Albom made up stories the only news the Free Press was willing to print was that Mitch steals quotes, alters them to fit what he is trying to say and feeds off the hard work of other journalists.
I knew the Free Press would wimp out on this and not do anything to Albom. But why drag Boodini and Rosie in this?
The answer is simple. They fear a Mitch witch hunt will continue. Other publications are likely to look into Albom's dark past. And they may demand that the Free Press make Albom walk the plank into murky shark infested waters. And the Freep can always say "Fine. If that is what you want. But look who is chained to Mitch's ankles. If Mitch goes down, then so shall others."
It is a nasty way to do business. But the Free Press is willing to tick off the rest of its columnists, most of its staff and its investigation team to protect Mitch.
The message is clear. Albom is more important than all of these people combined.
Drew and Mike are the real victims. They were minding their own business when they got caught in the Mitch tidal wave.
Let me take a time out to say Drew is one of my boys. I have known him for 23 years. So if you want to scream bias, then go ahead. Since I've known him all he wanted to do is believe in the Free Press. He wanted to believe in its dreams, ethics and everybody who worked there.
Since becoming a columnist all he wants is his shot at commentating on the day's events, go to big events and rag on the Big Ten every other week.
That is not much to ask.
Rosenberg is new at the game. He is learning and making an impact. He writes things that make you think. It is the goal of every columnist. He too never asked to get involved in this.
Yet the Freep hung both out to dry, pointing out they used unattributed quotes to bolster their columns in the past. But their transgressions are no where as severe as Mitch's.
They did not make up stories. Mitch did.
They did not alter quotes to fit their stories. Mitch did.
They did not lie to readers. Mitch did.
They did not put to former Michigan State basketball players in the stands during the Final Four. Mitch did.
They did not ask for this. Mitch did.
This is another sad chapter in Detroit journalism. We are all victims.
I've already heard from folks, angry over something I wrote or said on the radio, accuse me of making stuff up. Their reasoning is if the king of Detroit sports can do it, who the hell am I?
I only have one answer for them. The first time I lie in the Detroit News is the last time I do it.
There might be an investigation that lasts hours, not weeks, before I am shown the door.
My message will be "See ya. Wouldn't Want to be Ya."
We've all been dragged into this Mitch thing. But no where to the extent of Boodini and Rosie. It is a shame and they deserve better. They deserve an apology from Mitch and the Free Press.
But I am now taking the advice of some of my friends and taking the high road. I simply wanted to get this off my chest and come to the defense of two men who cannot fight back.
So if Mitch can forgive those who have criticized him. Then I forgive him for dragging down our profession with him.