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05-07-2009, 06:37 PM

<!-- Edgeinclude not created for non-existing logical name: /public/story/promoHdr/49 --> <!-- // Story Title// -->Bio hazard: A-Rod author has credibility issues

http://msn.foxsports.com/id/7826490_6_12.jpg (http://msn.foxsports.com/writer/Jason-Whitlock?authorId=310)by Jason Whitlock (http://msn.foxsports.com/writer/Jason-Whitlock?authorId=310)

Jason Whitlock brings his edgy and thought-provoking style to FOXSports.com. Columnist for the Kansas City Star, he has won the National Journalism Award for Commentary for "his ability to seamlessly integrate sports and social commentary and to challenge widely held assumptions along the racial divide."

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Updated: May 7, 2009, 7:07 PM EST

<script type="text/javascript"> //document.getElementById('number_of_comments').innerHTML = commentCount+&quot; Comments&quot;; </script> <script> if(fanid.length > 0 && typeof(nflDefaultLeague)!= &quot;undefined&quot;) { leagueId = nflDefaultLeague; //find teamId of default league (if exists) for(var i=0; i < teamsInfo.length; i++){ if(teamsInfo[4] == leagueId){ defaultTeamId = teamsInfo[i][0]; } } var fantasyLeaguePlayerJsPath = 'http://msn.foxsports.com' + '/nugget/200002_' + leagueId + '|||' + fanid; } </script> A-Rod biographer/hunter Selena Roberts is beginning to remind me of Rev. Al Sharpton.
Sharpton separated the crime from the culture, too. When he gallivanted around New York in the '80s seeking justice for alleged victim Tawana Brawley, his target was the culture of racism more than the six white men falsely accused of rape.
<table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="0" width="255"> <tbody><tr><td>http://msn.foxsports.com/id/9542100_36_1.jpg</td></tr> <tr><td class="caption">(Photo Illustraton / FOXSports.com)</td></tr> </tbody></table> Tuesday, as I listened to Roberts defend her [I]New York Times columns that painted the Duke lacrosse players as rapists, cowards and liars during an interview on Jim Rome's nationally syndicated radio show, I couldn't help but notice she went with the Sharp-tongue defense.
"I wrote about the culture at Duke, and there's no doubt about that. I stand by that today," Roberts said. "I separated the criminal investigation from the culture."
Maybe it's a New York, freedom-fighter thing, this amazing ability to ignore the(ISSUE/my add) innocence of the(PERSON/my add again)criminally accused while making your justifiable point that America suffers from and with racism and sexism.
Roberts' writings/rantings on Duke lacrosse have become relevant again because she's asked us to trust her anonymous investigative reporting and speculation about Alex Rodriguez, the confessed steroid cheat and home run hitter.
According to Roberts' new book and her interview blitzkrieg, Rodriguez used steroids in high school, tipped pitches to opposing batters, tipped Hooters waitresses a paltry 15 percent, was nicknamed "Bitch Tits" in the locker room and is caught up in being perfect because his father abandoned him as a child.
Her sourcing for the most damaging allegations, by her own admission, is either anonymous or non-existent. She wants us to trust her, and her New York Times- and Sports Illustrated-highlighted résumé.
Unlike Bob Costas, the producers at ESPN and the steroids-obsessed baseball journalists, I don't trust Roberts or her book, and I expressed some of my reasons in a Kansas City Star column (http://www.kansascity.com/159/story/1175681.html) that ran on Sunday.

The Times and SI can kiss my ass. Jayson Blair worked at The Times. Mike Price won a lawsuit against SI for the lies the magazine published about him. And years ago, an SI writer wrote a profile about me for the Columbia Journalism Review and, among other journalistic crimes, lifted a quote from an old column and passed it off as something I said to him.
Never trust a publication. Hell, the more prestigious the publication, the more pressure there is for the writers to cut corners in pursuit of a good story.
Place your trust in the writer. And Roberts' reaction to the exoneration of the Duke lacrosse players calls into question her credibility. By refusing to acknowledge her mistakes in the Duke case, she creates the impression that her agenda trumps the truth.
She looks like a feminist version of Al Sharpton.
Jim Rome asked Roberts about the questionable sourcing for the allegations she levels against A-Rod.
"You give people a litmus test, Jim," she said. "You say to them, you go back to them over and over again and you say, 'Is it consistent what they're saying to me? Have they changed at all? Do they have a credibility issue? Is there anything in their past that might make me wary of this person?' "
You see, Selena Roberts thinks like me. Is there anything in her past that would make me wary of her allegations against A-Rod?
Rome asked her specifically about my column contending that the Duke lacrosse case should make us suspicious of her reporting about Rodriguez.
"First of all (Jason) needs to go back and read the columns that I wrote about Duke lacrosse," she said. "It doesn't exactly jibe with what he's saying now. I have always separated what the crime was ... and what the culture was. It didn't have to rise to the level of a crime to rise to the level of a column. And I wrote about the culture at Duke, and there's no doubt about that. I stand by that today."

She later added: "What I did about Duke is I separated the criminal investigation from a culture. Now we know what is irrefutable about that night. These women had pornographic pictures taken of them and distributed on the Internet. These women had racial slurs yelled at them. That is indisputable. There were broomsticks waved at them. That is indisputable. The issues that happened that night, separate from the crime, were in my opinion — and people can disagree with this — were worth writing about."
Here's what's also indisputable: At no time in her original Duke lacrosse-bashing column did she mention anything about pornographic pictures, racial slurs or broomsticks waved at strippers. She wrote about rape, robbery, strangulation and a hate crime. You can read the column for yourself here (http://select.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/sports/31roberts.html?scp=6&sq=).
You can read a detailed analysis of Roberts' many Duke lacrosse errors at this blog (http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/).
It is embarrassingly disingenuous for Roberts to suggest that her columns about Duke lacrosse weren't founded on the belief that the players sexually assaulted the false accuser. Her refusal to admit this mistake and apologize makes me wonder what other truths she's willing to fudge.
During her interview with Jim Rome, she claimed she went into her investigation of Rodriguez believing he had never used steroids. She said that A-Rod's interview on 60 Minutes convinced her of his innocence.
"I didn't think he was dirty," Roberts said. "I thought he was clean."
This is nearly impossible for me to believe. Roberts is a cynic, at least she is in her column writing. When she worked for The New York Times, she wrote numerous columns about A-Rod with the same theme: Rodriguez is a phony. Read this (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/05/sports/baseball/05roberts.html?_r=1), this (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/17/sports/baseball/17roberts.html) and this (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/14/sports/baseball/14roberts.html) and then read this blog (http://theyankeesrepublic.blogspot.com/2009/04/selena-roberts.html) for examples of her A-Rod cynicism.
In those columns, does she come off like someone who would take Rodriguez at his word? She comes off like someone who doesn't believe a word that comes out of A-Rod's mouth.
What I'm about to write is pure speculation.
Selena Roberts believes America is a safe haven for sexism (I happen to agree, but that's beside the point). She wanted the Duke lacrosse players to be shining examples of how deep-rooted and protected our sexism is, and she was more than willing to ignore their innocence to make her point (this repulses me).
Selena Roberts believes professional sports — the money, fame and power they primarily give young men — are corrosive of good values and a haven for sexism (I happen to agree, but that's beside the point). She wants Alex Rodriguez to stand as a shining example of what's wrong with American sports, and she just might be willing to ignore flattering truths about A-Rod and publish hearsay and gossip to make her point (and this is unfair).
She's written a celebrity-gossip book, "A-Rod: Game of Innuendo." Maybe you despise Rodriguez so much that you don't care about her methods and whether the rest of the alleged mainstream media characterize her work properly.
I bet the Duke lacrosse players and Tawana Brawley's victims could explain to you why you should care.
You or someone you love could be the next criminally innocent, shining example of a New York freedom fighter's social agenda.
You can e-mail Jason Whitlock at ballstate0@aol.com.