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The Times's Sports section: skepticism about Thomas but not Ratner

The top half of the New York Times's Sports section today, headlined Thomas Responds but Has No Answers, offeres a close and skeptical look at New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas's evasive performance at a press conference:
Thomas managed to fill 11 minutes 22 seconds without providing a meaningful answer. A series of direct questions was met with an arsenal of broad platitudes and non sequiturs.

And what about the Nets?

On page 2, a boxed short article headlined Wait Until 2010, Nets Say of New Brooklyn Arena, offers no such skepticism, telling us, in its entirety:

The Nets, who had hoped to move into a new arena near downtown Brooklyn in time for the 2009-10 season, have acknowledged that construction will not be finished until sometime in 2010.
Legal challenges to the 22-acre Atlantic Yards project have altered its timetable. Construction of the 19,000-seat, glass-walled arena has not begun.
The project’s developer, Forest City Ratner, said it had razed 20 buildings and started to build temporary yards for the Long Island Rail Road.
“Our goal is to be in the arena during the calendar year 2010,” said Barry Baum, a spokesman for Forest City Ratner.
Baum said the arena could be ready before the 2010-11 season begins.
The Nets will continue to play at Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., under a lease extension signed last year. The extension, which goes through the 2012-13 season, gives the team an annual option to leave for Brooklyn.
In 2004, Nets officials said the new arena would be ready in 2006. Last year, the team said it would move into the new facility in 2009.


What's missing

The article reads as if Forest City Ratner had just concluded that the 2009 opening date would not be met, even though 1) the developer let such information slip out more than a month ago and 2) the date has been in jeopardy for a long time, given the delays in the construction schedule.

Could the arena be ready before the 2010-11 season begins, as Baum claimed? Only if the developer works superfast. Closer scrutiny of the construction schedule suggests an even later opening date, given that the three-year bridge reconstruction clock has yet to begin. Arena, 2011?

Moreover, the Times fails to point out that Forest City Enterprises officials last March indicated that the arena would be open for the 2010-11season, only to issue a clarification: "We remain committed to our goal of opening the arena in time for the 2009-2010 NBA basketball season.”

Rowback

In printing this article without correcting previous coverage, the Times continues in its unfortunate pattern of Atlantic Yards rowback, reporting Nov. 8 that the arena was "scheduled to open in 2009" and on Nov. 24 that "it is scheduled to open after 2009."

Indeed, it may have been officially "scheduled" to open in 2009 for a while, but that number for months hasn't been credible. So it wasn't credible to report such predictions without any caveat.

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