if you have not yet figured it out, this is a blog about the portland timbers. when mags and i set out to write this blog we did so with the intent to inject a daily dose of opinion, humour, and fact into the daily conversation about a team we love. because we talk about football all the time we thought others might also desire to talk about football all the time. or even some of the time. or just a little bit more than they did before we came along. that is because we have a passion for the sport that surpasses anything but the passion we have for our marriages. we live football–we sleep well when our sides win, poorly when they lose, and think entirely too much of how this sport can change your life for the good, or for the worse. and we want others to feel something akin to what we feel for the timbers.
most supporters are not as fanatical as we are, yet they are receptive to the conversation and the ideas from which the conversation develops. but when you give them drama they assume the advancement of the conversation. yesterday, when i was made aware of allegations involving an unnamed, portland timbers player, rather than immediately disclosing through social media of what i had become aware, i chose to investigate. some media outlets have no concern running a sensationalized story without having checked the facts because it brings hits, views, followers, friends, money. those media outlets understand the simplest of concepts regarding people and market towards that concept: people like drama. unfortunately, drama is never positive. but that is not my practice.
there is a grave responsibility when dealing in the business of facts. facts change the landscape of lives forever, especially when they are used by solicitous and reckless individuals concerned only with the production of responses. reported incorrectly, facts destroy. mark twain, who was once a newspaper man, flippantly suggested that in order to sell a story you should get your facts first and then distort them as you like. if a reporter wanted to attract readership all that would be required is to introduce a little hyperbole to controversy and the equation would be fulfilled.
but being the type of person who holds the belief that facts are sacred, i am also bound to an imperative obligation to ensure those facts are secured before reporting them. sources are witnesses, firsthand or secondhand, who have information that has been verified. they are rather easy to speak with, all you have to do is pick up a phone and call. i did that and i confirmed that allegations were made that a timbers player had committed a rape, that those allegations were investigated, that neither the police nor the prosecuting attorney believed the allegations were founded in truth, and that charges were not to be filed.
determined through a couple phone calls that authorities believed nothing criminal had occurred, i felt that nothing worth reporting had occurred. and so myself and the others involved in the investigation of the facts sat on the story. and i would still be sitting on the story had the furor not developed over the sensationalized reporting by local media outlets. this is not football. this is not the portland timbers. and whether or not something happened in a bedroom between consenting adults, that is not for us to be concerned about, and certainly not something we should be discussing 3 days after a road win against the best team in the eastern division of major league soccer.
but we are. and i am. because some news agency wanted to report something that, at this moment, is purely conjecture, not fact. shunning their responsibility of objectivity, that hack journalist likely subscribes to neitzsche’s belief that there are no facts, only interpretations and feels justified that his interpretation of some police blotter is sufficient explanation of the facts for his uneducated audience. and that is wrong, because all that was required to avert this drama was to make those phone calls to kansas city, missouri, ask a few questions, listen to the answers, follow up those answers with a few more questions, say thank you, and then say good bye. which is what i would like to say to this drama–good bye.
there are far too many good things surrounding the timbers to be fixated on drama. how often do we read jimmy neilsen say that the wizards did not have an answer for the game played by the timbers? he said that, and he said that because the timbers were that good. look, here it is:
We’ve been begging for teams to come here and come at us. They did, and we didn’t have an answer for it.
those words are facts–they are a firsthand observation and description of how well the timbers played on saturday night. but today people do not care about that or firsthand observations, they care about something else that, even in an article written by one of the more maligned timbers reporters, is declared unfounded and described as something that “doesn’t meet the bar.” but still, like opportunistic media-vultures, people want to comment about a situation without knowing anything about it. i did the investigation and i did not want to comment on something i believe strongly in because i did not believe the evidence was worthy of any comment.