Bad sportswriting in Nashville

Vince Young is a lightning rod for criticism and praise in the Nashville area.  I am a huge Titans fan, therefore, I will support whoever is playing for the team.  I like Young and I think he has received an unfair amount of criticism in his time in Tennessee.  He has made mistakes and those have been well documented, but there are times where the fans and the media use him as the scapegoat for every bad thing that happens to the team.  The most recent example of this comes from Paul Kuharsky, an ESPN writer that covers the AFC South.  Paul used to write for The Tennessean but has been writing for ESPN for a few years now.  He still lives in Nashville.  Kuharsky has never been a Young fan.  He appears on one of the local sports radio shows – The Wake Up Zone on 104.5 The Zone.  He likes to ruffle feathers when he is on the air, and he is usually pretty successful.  As a writer he does a good job.  He is a talented writer and his stories are focused, well written, and usually factual.  Here is what Paul Kuharsky wrote in a recent blog post on ESPN:

Last week I asked whether Jeff Fisher’s benching of Vince Young during an ugly loss to Pittsburgh contradicted his longtime philosophy.

After reading Jim Wyatt’s game story from the Titans’ win over the Giants, we now know Fisher had more than sufficient cause for the move and didn’t deserve the flak he took for the move.

In fact, I’d have had no problem if Fisher started Kerry Collins against the Steelers knowing what we know now.

This from Wyatt: Sources familiar with the situation said Young missed or arrived late for at least two meetings leading up to the Pittsburgh game, including one Friday. While he was excused for one meeting, sources said Young’s overall approach lacked the seriousness it needed.

That might explain why Coach Jeff Fisher didn’t hesitate to pull Young and replace him with Kerry Collins in the fourth quarter when the Titans trailed the Steelers by only 13 points.

He goes on in this article to show how Young has displayed a pattern of this type of behavior.  Granted, most of the events he cites, occurred in Young’s first or second year – but Kuharsky doesn’t include that bit of information.  Nevertheless, Young has not shown the type of maturity that you would expect from a starting NFL quarterback.  That is something he needs to improve and I hope he does.  Here is where Kuharsky misses the point, or obscures the facts, or misleads his readers, or flat-out distorts the story to make his point:  Young missed or arrived late for at least two meetings leading up to the Pittsburgh game, including one Friday. While he was excused for one meeting, sources said Young’s overall approach lacked the seriousness it needed.  Kuharsky cleverly avoids the fact that Young was given permission to miss one meeting to take Steve McNair’s children to an event.   Kuharsky mentions that Young was excused for one meeting, but he doesn’t include the specifcs of the missed meeting in his summary of the events.  He leaves the “one missed meeting and late to one other meeting” in the air so that the unobservant reader will miss the facts.  Kuharsky’s bias is obvious in that he doesn’t mention why Young missed the meeting even though he admits that Young was excused.  So, that leaves us with Young being late to one meeting.  Kuharsky doesn’t tell us how late Young was to the meeting.  Was it 5 minutes?  15 minutes?  We don’t know and it doesn’t sound like Kuharsky does either.  Basically, Kuharsky builds his whole case on Young’s immaturity on one tardy.  I’m not defending Young for being late, but Kuharsky makes it sound like Young missed every practice this year, didn’t watch any game footage, didn’t meet with the coaches at all, and killed a couple of puppies just for good measure. 

Paul Kuharsky needs to let go of whatever grudge he has against Vince Young and he needs to just do his job and cover the AFC South.

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