Murray Chass Gets it Right: Press Needs To Back Off Ryan Braun


I was going to say something about the Ryan Braun mess, but Murray Chass already said it for me. Chass, as you should know, was with the New York Times for 39 years before taking a buyout in 2008. He has now been blogging for over three years, though I would not call it that. Chass has simply continued to write his old column, which is so far above the level of what is generally called blogging as to be a higher category altogether. In fact, it’s generally higher caliber than Chass wrote at the Times, if only because he no longer seems to be held back by the paper’s corporate policy.

In his column, Chass has provided a superb summation of the press’s near hysterical reaction over an arbitrator’s decision to throw out Matt Braun’s 50-game suspension for a positive drug test. Chass takes the Daily News, the Post and the Times to task, writing:

“What’s a guy [Braun] to do? He’s guilty if he’s found to be guilty, and he’s guilty if he’s found to be innocent. Besides being viewed as guilty despite the arbitrator’s ruling that overturned the 50-game suspension, Braun faces even more insulting outrage from the news media.”

“Not content with disagreeing with the arbitrator’s decision, Kepner” — that’s Tyler of the Times — “wants his pound of flesh. He wants Braun to tell the public what he did, why he did it, and when he did it.”

“Anything less than a full explanation will leave lingering doubts,’ Kepner wrote, ‘at least to most people who consider his case beyond the surface.’ Kepner’s arrogant demand is reminiscent of the clamoring of reporters for Alex Rodriguez to tell all after he acknowledged using steroids, as if the admission were not sufficient — how often did he used steroids, did he inject them, if he did, who injected him, and anything else any particular reporter wanted to know and thought Rodriguez was obliged to disclose.”

“I wondered at the time if any of those reporters would be willing to tell their readers — or their editors — if they ever reported or wrote an article under the influence of marijuana or cocaine. Right. I don’t think so.”

Do alcohol and ludes? And speed also count? I think it’s fair policy for writers to divulge the drugs they take while writing about athletes and other celebrities’ drug use. Who wants to go first?