Friday, August 24, 2007

Errol Louis denounces jock spousal abuse, but where's JKidd?

Daily News columnist Errol Louis on Thursday took up the case of Michael Vick, the quarterback with an unsavory appetite for dogfighting. In a column headlined It's a dog and pony show: While Vick gets ripped for animal cruelty, the jocks who beat their wives get a pass, Louis made a quite reasonable point:
The same sports execs falling over themselves to sever Vick from the sport have been downright lenient when it comes to other offenders.

His examples:
--Michael Pittman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a fourth domestic-violence arrest.
--Lionel Gates of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, charged with beating a pregnant woman.
--Lamar Thomas, formerly of the Miami Dolphins, put his pregnant fiancée's head through a window.
--Brett Myers of the Philadelphia Phillies allegedly dragged his wife around by the hair publicly.
--Bobby Chouinard of the Colorado Rockies, doing a year in jail after putting a loaded pistol to his wife's head.

What about JKidd?

I wondered if Louis would cite an example closer to home: New Jersey Nets point guard Jason Kidd, whose wife Joumana, in a recent divorce filing, accused him of serial adultery and regular physical abuse--front-page news in Louis's own newspaper.

Kidd was arrested in 2001 for hitting her; here's the 911 call. He pleaded guilty to a spousal abuse charge and was ordered to attend anger management counseling.

A fund-raiser

I checked to see if Louis has written about Kidd. A Lexis-Nexis search turned up no results.

A web search did show one intersection; Louis in June MC'd a Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service (BBCS) celebration event. BBCS, which runs a variety of social services, is surely a worthy cause, but any association with the event meant an association with Barclays, the title sponsor, Forest City Ratner, and the Nets. (Bruce Ratner's on the BBCS board.)

According to the BBCS web site:
Notable guests included Jason Kidd of the Nets; Bruce Ratner, President and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies; Gerard LaRocca, Chief Administrative Officer, Americas, Barclays Capital; Charles J. Hamm, Chairman Emeritus of the Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service; and Brett Yormark, President and CEO of Nets Sports and Entertainment.


(The caption on the BBCS web site for the above photo: Nets legend Darryl Dawkins and Errol Louis during the Nets live sports memorabilia auction. Louis seems to be using his hand as a visor or saluting.)

A columnist's connection

Now that Louis has hobnobbed with Kidd and his bosses, in service of a good cause, maybe it's tougher for the columnist to classify Kidd in the same category as Pittman, Gates, and the rest.

I don't know the Daily News's ethical guidelines, but if Louis worked at the New York Times, he'd probably be running afoul of the guideline that says:
[Staffers] may not lend their names to campaigns, benefit dinners or similar events if doing so might reasonably raise doubts about their ability or their newsroom's ability to remain neutral in covering the news.


As it happens, I have my doubts about the concept of neutrality and acknowledge I'm not neutral, that my skepticism aligns me closer to project opponents, though they don't speak for me and vice versa.

But I do think the accuracy and general quality of my work stands up much more than does Louis's Atlantic Yards coverage. He could've taken a step toward improving that record, however, had he included Kidd in his list.

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