Has David Kirkau recovered?

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In the fall of 1996, I was wrapping up my days as a sports writer at The Tennessean. I had been hired by Sports Illustrated, gave my notice and spent the final few weeks going through the motions.

One of my final stories was coverage of a high school football game between Goodpasture Christian and David Lipscomb. The quarterback for Lipscomb played poorly, and in my story I wrote, “The Mustangs’ David Kirkau, meanwhile, had an up-and-down sort of day—as in, his passes either went up too high or down too low.”

I thought nothing of it, but in the ensuing days the phone calls were nonstop—How could you write such a thing? Who the hell do you think you are? Hence, the following Saturday night (for my last-ever Tennessean assignment), Larry Taft, my editor, sent me out to Lipscomb to cover its playoff game. “You always show your face after a story like that,” he told me. “It’s the professional way to be.”

Larry was 100-percent correct. I will never forget that night. In the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, with the game out of reach, I strolled down to the Goodpasture sideline to prepare for aftermath interviews. Suddenly, I found myself surrounded by a bunch of players. David So-and-so, the quarterback, stepped forward. “Don’t you ever come back here again!” he said.

The next day I left for Sports Illustrated. I’ve long believed David So-and-so thought he forced me out of town.

I bring this up because, last week, a paper in Colorado, the Montrose Daily Press, ran the above photograph. It’s of a running back named Dylan Markley, whose fumble contributed to Olathe High’s loss to Kent Denver in a Class 2A playoff game. In the following days, irate parents and community members called and e-mailed the paper, demanding an apology or retraction or rolled heads or … whatever it is irate parents demand.

To its credit, the newspaper didn’t flinch. This is the staff editorial, which reacted to the hubbub in a very impressive manner.

My take on this sort of thing has been pretty consistent. A newspaper shouldn’t go out of its way to rip or embarrass a prep athlete. However, if fans/coaches/players want coverage of their events, they have to expect—and respect—fair coverage. A big fumble is a big fumble. Period.

Dylan Markley will survive.

2 thoughts on “Has David Kirkau recovered?”

  1. What an absolute wailing baby that kid was, and that was a pretty benign comment for a ‘criticism’ so to speak. And being the varsity QB, I’m sure it’s safe to assume he not only didn’t get criticized often (if ever), but thinks his shit smells like roses no matter what the topic or aspect of his existence, sports or otherwise. I hope he has been force-fed a God-sized piece of humble pie since then, or, you know, at least had his ass royally kicked a couple times.

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