Thursday, September 16, 2010

No comment from Barry Saunders? How is that?

You had to wonder, when you read The News & Observer Thursday morning, about the situation with Weslye Saunders. South Carolina kicked the senior tight end from Durham off the team and both athletics director Eric Hyman and coach Steve Spurrier had little to say about it.

But what was fascinating about the story, which was written by the Columbia State newspaper, is that Weslye's father, N&O columnist Barry Saunders, could not be reached for comment. Remember that McClatchy owns both the Columbia and Raleigh newspapers. So no one could walk across The News & Observer newsroom and tap Barry on the shoulder and say, "Hey, we've got this major story on your son - what's the deal?"

Columnists obviously work from home much of the time, and that's fine. But Saunders must have been around on Wednesday - his column ran in Thursday's Metro section. At least he could tell the paper,  "Look, I hate to say I can't say anything more, but Weslye's a good kid, his mother and I support him, and we hope he graduates and gets a chance to play in the NFL."

Just because you work for a company doesn't mean you have to spill your guts about your children. We all understand that family comes first. But it looks terrible for a news organization that is regularly pounding on people's doors demanding answers to let one of its own get away with silence on a issue like this, especially when it involves the integrity of a major public institution like the University of South Carolina.

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