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  • Tough love: The Morace story as I've experienced it


    An anecdote:

    Back before I wrote about the beautiful game, I got my start in journalism by writing about the other football. Always the patriot, I didn't write about the NFL and the American version of the game though. No, it was all three downs and Rouges for me. Actually, I made it even more difficult for myself by focusing on the amateur side of the Canadian game. I was the voice of CIS football.


    I went to Wilfrid Laurier University, which is a university power. Twice I've seen the Golden Hawks win the Vanier Cup, the national championship of Canada. The 2005 championship remains one of the most incredible sporting experiences I've ever had.

    Before then, however, in 2002 I launched the website CollegeColours.com to cover the university game. In retrospect, it was very much a prototype to CSN. The very first article I wrote for my new site was a feature article looking at two separate incidents involving four players with the Hawks. The team's best running back was arrested for dealing cocaine, just days before three offensive linemen were arrested for beating the crap out of an University of Waterloo student.

    So, some charming stuff.

    During an interview with the athletic director at WLU, I asked whether they had thought about folding the program during the fall-out from the incidents. Remember that this was a team and a school that I deeply cared about. However, I knew that I had to ask the difficult questions if I was going to be taken seriously.

    After it was published I was thanked by several people close to the program. They understood that it was necessary to expose all sides of the story. Some even told me that the story allowed them to start some healing.

    Although it's not a direct parallel, I've been thinking about that experience a lot over the past few days. As with Laurier football, I care about the state of Canadian soccer and I am inspired by and support great female athletes. So, when I publish the other side of the story in regards to Carolina Morace I'm not trying to tear down the women. What I'm doing is being a journalist. It would be a hell of a lot easier if I just stood on the sideline and cheered.

    It's fair to challenge the accuracy of my sources (I've adjusted some reporting after I confirmed I'd received faulty information). It's fair to point out the bias of my sources (but when doing so please be aware of your own bias as well). It's fair to challenge my grasp of the English language (my grade school teachers are still laughing at the realization that I write for a living!), but do not question my motivations.

    I do what I do for one reason - to support the growth of Canadian soccer. I'd be richer if I worked at a call centre.

    Providing objective and balanced reporting to the best of my ability is what I will continue to do -- even if that means that I piss off a few athletes that I respect.

    That said, I'm not publishing any more off-record on the Morace situation. I'm still on the hunt for documentation and for people willing to talk on record, but there is no point publishing more off record statements. The two sides have had their chance to express themselves by now.

    Nothing good can come from more whispers.

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