It has been quite some time since I last posted here, but a situation has prompted a great deal of thought. I wrote an editorial column about a basketball game for another site and didn’t think twice about sending it to the editor for publishing. It is something I have been doing for years, so it was old hat at this point. The article was posted, but then taken down the next day. My editor gave me an explanation, but in my mind it was not acceptable.
Let me point out here that my editor and I are very close and that has not changed. He explained to me that one of the coaches in the game was upset with something I wrote and he asked that it be taken down, he given an apology, or to not cover his team at all moving forward. He argued that the piece was “completely false” and irresponsible at best. Fearing that he may not have read my piece thoroughly, the editor took it down to quell what backlash he saw coming.
After I got finished expressing to him that what was accused was indeed not true, he read it again. He agreed that he could understand why the coach would be upset, but also see that it was blown out of proportion. For the record, I told him I could see why he would be upset too and I was ok with that. It was not re-posted, but nor was a retraction. At that point it was agreed that he would agree to disagree with the coach and let it be. Well, at least that was my editor’s idea I believe.
For me though, it was and is a matter of principle. As a columnist, I report facts, but also factual-based opinions. That’s why I took the column in the first place. Much like this blog, no one will read it if there are wild inaccuracies and conjectures, but if they can see thought and processed ideas, even little ol’ me can have an opinion people may want to consider. I love sports. I love helping kids. I love giving them exposure. I also love to express a slant on things that many can’t.
I have been coaching for the better part of 21 years. I am also a writer. I have also been educated at one of the highest institutions of higher learning. That is not said to brag, but rather to show the unique perspective. Columnists have it hard though. Even national ones get backlash from what they write in many cases, but a true columnist I think welcomes that. That affords them more opportunity to explain their words. Opinions to columnists are golden. They are what drives a column in a nutshell. But I find it amazing how many want to give you theirs without receiving yours.
When I write, it is to inspire thought and hopefully discussion. I am not looking for fans or people to “like” me. I am expressing myself through written prose. A coach that expresses a dissenting opinion was able to get my article removed. Since then, an AD and a principal has also expressed “interest” or maybe “fear” that it would make someone or some people look bad or draw negative attention to their facility. While I am not going to use this space to reposition the article, I will ask this; why is it such a big deal if the fact-based opinion of mine had no validity? Even more so, why not read it first (I can tell that they did not based on what they said it contained)? But even beyond that, why not realize that your own opinion isn’t the only one out there? Every individual’s perception is their own reality. Often, people’s perceptions coincide based on similar beliefs. But even then differences arise.
So, what do you do? Welcome a different, perhaps even more unbiased opinion than your own? Maybe you fight against the idea that anyone would dare to challenge you. Then again, you may choose to ignore anything that is not like yours. You could attack the dissenting person. You could attack whatever entity is connected that person. You could do a whole bunch of stuff. But the reality is people say they welcome another opinion, but that is often only when it matches their own. Whatever you express, you should understand the possibility for rebuttal. I do…How about you?