As anyone who reads this blog knows we're not too serious around here. Or maybe we're just serious about having fun. We generally take the Dude's approach & just abide. But there are some things that just cannot pass. One of those was the way the Atlanta Journal & Constitution chose to report today's "big" story of Jonathon Dwyer "failing" a drug test at this year's NFL Combine.
First let me say that Dwyer did test positive for a banned substance at the Combine. However, he had received a "therapeutic exemption" from the NFL for two medicines he has taken since childhood for a pre-existing medical condition. Thus the NFL, & all 32 teams, knew his results would be positive. So what's the big deal here? There isn't one unless you need sensational headlines to drive website traffic or sell papers. A brief side note: according to Fox, Dwyer tested positive for amphetamines. So the guy getting dinged for showing up overwieght to the Combine is on speed? I guess it made him eat faster? Lots of those fat meth heads out there. Sweet irony, the fat meth addict......
Secondly, it is IMPOSSIBLE to fail a drug test. Drug tests are not designed to pass or fail. They are designed to detect the presence of certain substances in one's system. Thus one may test POSITIVE or NEGATIVE on a drug test but not pass or fail. Drug tests do not have morality; they simply indicate whether or not a certain substance is present at a given time in one's system. We'll get back to this in a minute....
So Fox breaks the story saying that Dwyer has "failed" the Combine drug test, but then admit in the story that a "source" has told them Dwyer had permission to take prescription medication for a pre-existing medical condition. I hate the headline but it's Fox, who am I kidding to think they give a shit about integrity? The AJC then picks up the story & runs with it.
The first headline, appearing on the front page of the online edition, says "Former Tech running back tests positive for amphetamines, according to media report" (see David Purdum's comment at 11:56 pm). Okay, so just throw that shit out there & hide behind the fact that someone else is reporting it? Are you kidding me? No mention in the headline of the mitigating circumstances, just the sensational aspect, please. Do they call Dwyer or his agent Adisa Bakari BEFORE they run the story? Hell no, must be true because Fox says it's true. Let's just get that sensational headline out there and we'll sort out the facts later.
And that's just what they did, they went ahead & ran the headline. So now the headline is out there we better verify the facts, right? Sure, we'll just make things up as they go. That's the way Ralph McGill did it, after all. So Doug Roberson, the Tech beat writer for the AJC, who by the way is a good reporter & nice guy, gets on the horn and talks to Adisa Bakari, Dwyer's agent, & gets the facts. Comments are flying hot & fast on the AJC blog now & many are questioning the choice of the headline (including myself as you can see if you read the comments). Hell, even Dawg fans find it ridiculous. So the headline changes, this time it's: "Agent: Dwyer failed drug test a nonissue". Still on the top of the front page online (I saved a screen shot but can't figure out how to link it). Again, you can't fail the test & even if you could, Dwyer didn't AS HE HAD PERMISSION TO TAKE THE MEDICATIONS & WAS GIVEN A "THERAPEUTIC EXEMPTION" BY THE NFL. Why are they still sensationalizing this? He had permission. He's taken two drugs for a pre-existing medical condition since he was a kid. It was out there. All the teams knew. The NFL knew. It's a non-story.
So it's now 1:05am & the headline is off the front page & just in the Tech section & now reads: "Dwyer's drug test a result of approved prescription medication". We've finally got an accurate, reasonable headline. But the damage has been done. How easily could this have been averted? Well, all it would have taken was for an editor to hold the story, call Roberson, get him to call Adisa Bakari, & get the facts. Too much to ask? Evidently. Can't wait these days, we have to be first to "break" the news, whether it's accurate or not. It's not about accuracy or integrity, it's a race. And Fox & the AJC "won" that race tonight.
The big loser? Jon Dwyer & his family, of course. By all accounts Jon & his family are terrific people; I haven't met one Tech person to this point that's EVER had anything negative to say about Dwyer. It's a shame he'll wake up in the morning & have to defend himself from baseless accusations. He hasn't done anything wrong. The AJC, however, should know better. Instead of performing their due diligence & checking the facts they rushed to publish the story, a story that makes them look more like a lurid supermarket checkout gossip rag than a respected national newspaper. Shame on you, AJC, & your editors owe Dwyer & his family an apology, not for the story but for the slanderous headline. You must really have fucked up to have both Tech & Georgia fans agreeing on this one.
And to the miserable son-of-a-bitch who leaked the confidential findings of the drug test:
There's not a fire hot enough for you.......