Tom Bogert, CBS Local Sports
Jason Fitz didn’t hold back when questioning the integrity and execution of Shaun King’s article regarding the resurfacing of the Peyton Manning incident from his days at the University of Tennessee.
The incident, which has been the talk of sports news since King’s article went live, is about two accusations settled out of court. The first accused Manning of putting his genitalia on the face of a female trainer during a foot examination.
Fitz certainly isn’t acquitting Manning — far from it — but he’s not a fan of how King went about it. King’s story treats the former Tennessee athletic trainer’s story as fact. It’s one side of the matter, a document prepared by her lawyers. (Note: All of the Manning talk begins at the 8:20 mark of the audio.)
“He wrote the document as fact, and that’s my issue with all of this,” said Fitz. “My issue with all of this is that he was given a legal document that was prepared by the accuser’s attorney and with that he wrote an article that appears to paint all of the information in that as fact.”
Fitz believes that King created a lose-lose situation for personal greed.
“Shaun King elected to take that one side of the story and paint it with broad strokes as the whole thing,” said Fitz. “By the time someone corrects him, it won’t matter. He got what he wanted, he got the publicity, he got the clicks… If Peyton did it, it’s already been trivialized by only reporting one side of the story. If [Peyton] didn’t do it, then his reputation has been sullied by someone with no journalistic integrity.”
For those who are personally hurt by the possibility of the situation, Fitz lays blame on fans who idolize Manning based purely on his on-field persona.
“If the story comes out and we get all of the information, and we get both sides of the story, and we find out that, yes, he’s a bad person, then it could hurt him in endorsements,” said Fitz. “Yes, absolutely. But what the hell has that got to do with you? What does Peyton Manning owe you? Look in the mirror, are you buying Papa John’s because you think Peyton Manning is a good guy?”
The situation reminds Fitz of when the Kobe Bryant rape allegations came to light. Fitz, as a Los Angeles Lakers fan from childhood who loved Bryant, was hurt.
“I remember the day Kobe was accused of rape, I remember how that hit me,” said Fitz.
That’s when he learned it was his fault for elevating an athlete onto a holy pedestal.
“It broke my heart. I’ve never looked at Kobe the same, it’s hard for me to do,” said Fitz. “Because I put him up on a pedestal. Is that Kobe’s fault that I don’t look at him the same? I mean, obviously he’s the one who made the terrible decisions he made. But I’m the one who put him up on a pedestal. I’m the idiot that looked up to somebody based strictly on their persona. I know better than that, we know better than that, you know better than that.”
As a fan of repetitive disappointment and frustration, Tom holds Liverpool FC, the New York Knicks and New York Red Bulls near and dear to his heart with occasional joy coming from the New York Giants and New York Yankees.