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Dr. Saturday

ESPN ‘Insider’ demonstrates how not to report a player’s tragic death

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

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While the rest of the college football world was reeling with shock and scrambling for credible information Thursday on the sudden, mysterious death of Alabama offensive lineman Aaron Douglas, ESPN "Insider" Albert Lin followed his instincts to the really important story angle: What the 21-year-old's demise means for the Crimson Tide's left tackle position this fall.

Writing even as the initial, unconfirmed reports of Douglas' death were only beginning to make the rounds on message boards and social media, Lin recalled coach Nick Saban's "prescient" decision to give Alfred McCullough and Barrett Jones snaps at left tackle along with Douglas, who transferred from the University of Tennessee,  during spring practice and speculated on the chances that coveted recruit Cyrus Kouandjio will seize the reins right away now that Douglas is … you know, off the depth chart:

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Yes, "prescient." It takes a special kind of obliviousness to imply that Nick Saban was somehow preparing his team to weather a senseless tragedy before the season. Saban is good, but I sincerely hope he's not that good.

ESPN had the good judgment to swiftly remove the offending post (note the gap between 2:08 ET and 2:42 ET on its main college football "rumors" page), and to have its editor-in-chief acknowledge and apologize for the post, writing that it "did not meet ESPN's editorial standards." And though I make it a point in this space to never call for someone else's job, if it has really good judgment, Lin will no longer be employed there by the end of the week.

When you're so obsessed with Alabama's roster that even other Alabama fans think you've completely lost perspective, you probably need to take a nice, long break from sports, anyway.

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Hat tip: Friends of the Program.
Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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