Wed Apr 22 09:24am EDT
Early this month, SI.com reported that Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji had failed a drug trust at the scouting combine. About a week later, they removed the story from the website, but didn't retract it or apologize. They said at the time, that they were only taking the story down while they "continued reporting the story."
Fast forward to yesterday, and this appears on SI.com:
An SI.com report posted earlier this month incorrectly stated that Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji's name would appear on the NFL's list of players who tested positive for drugs at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. We regret the error.
Oh, well, as long as you regret the error, everything should be super peachy. "Hey, remember how we told all 32 of your potential employers that you were on drugs? Sorry!"
I really don't like the idea of lecturing other reporters or publications, because everyone makes mistakes, and in a public industry like this one, enough people point them out pretty quickly and pretty harshly.
But I try to put myself in B.J. Raji's shoes, and I just don't think I'd feel like "we regret the error" was enough.
This is his future at stake. Millions of dollars are on the line. Even the hint of a character problem can mean he slides in the draft, and just a couple of spots could mean literally millions of dollars. Obviously, I don't know for sure that this report hurt his draft stock, or changed the perception of Raji with NFL general managers, but it doesn't seem out of the question.
And besides that, what about the personal turmoil Raji had to go through? It couldn't have been easy for him and his agent, trying to convince people that he was clean. If it didn't affect his stock with NFL teams, it certainly did with the public. Did it hurt to live with that stigma? Could it have cost him endorsement dollars?
It just doesn't seem fair. I think they owe him an immediate apology in the form of a special "Why B.J. Raji Will Be The Greatest NFL Player Of All-Time" issue, including glowing profiles from every SI writer on B.J. Raji's tremendous talent, work ethic and character, as well as a special pull-out B.J. Raji swimsuit spread. It's the least they can do.
Gracias, Michael David Smith at the FanHouse.
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