A high school basketball coach from Mississippi has been accused of “whipping” his players for “failing to run plays correctly.” The coach has been suspended from the classroom and the court for 28 days (without pay).
The focus of the public on these events has been interesting to read, with individuals stating their own opinions on whether corporal punishment (spanking, etc) is effective or not, defending the coach’s actions by identifying them as “part of the athletic experience,” and even criticizing the coach’s use of stigmatized English dialect (aka anything other than “Proper” English). But while reading this story, my personal thoughts shifted to the duty of the media in reporting events.
It is questionable how much the media has sensationalized the events by replacing the term “paddling” with “whipping”–the connotations vary greatly between the two. While neither should be allowed in a district claiming to prohibit corporal punishment, the responsibility of the media should be to simply report the events–not to use language which creates a clouded view of what is really occurring in the story. Word choice means everything in stories like this–is he full out whipping the students (when I watched the video myself, his hits were pretty intense with the alleged 5-10lb weight belt) or is it something less severe? Be precise, CNN. Say what you mean, and be clear in what situation you are trying to portray to your readers.
I understand that each news outlet is fighting for the top spot–to get the highest number of viewers/readers. But at what cost? I may seem to frequently be down on CNN reporting. I have to say that even though I am frequently disappointed, they are still my first stop for current news stories. No matter where my news comes from, whether it be online or televised, time and time again I find myself questioning the stories and motives behind the words.
A few side thoughts:
**Why are parents watching practice not doing anything other than sitting there watching?
**Why are the players accepting the punishments (or allowing their teammates to be the recipients of such actions)? Fear of getting “kicked off the team” or “not being allowed on the court” is ridiculous–no coach who treats his players like this will be allowed to remain a coach, thus nullifying such a repercussion.