This is Margaret Soltan‘s turf, but what the hell: This morning’s NY Times has a brief article by Thayer Evans about a Richard Southall’s decision to move his sports-related institute from Memphis to UNC, because of the “nonacademic image” of Memphis basketball.
In both the print and online versions of the story, Evans ends with a quotation from a current Memphis player, defending his team’s honor.Â Here’s the bit online:
The sophomore guard Willie Kemp said he disagreed with Southallâ€™s comments about the perception of the universityâ€™s basketball team.
â€œI donâ€™t think itâ€™s fair because weâ€™ve got a great group of athletes on that team,â€ Kemp said.
Not bad.Â Not a direct refutation, but not bad.
Here’s how the final paragraphs appear in the paper delivered to my house this morning:
The sophomore guard Willie Kemp said he disagreed with Southall’s comments about the perception of the university’s basketball team.
“That’s how he feel,” Kemp said.Â “He a man.Â When you think of Memphis, you think of the basketball team because we’re doing so well.Â We have a great program.Â Like 12 of the last 13 seniors done graduated.Â I don’t think there’s really a big problem right there.”
What’s interesting about this version is that it’s simultaneously a more direct response to Richard Southall’s criticism *and* slightly self-damning in its presentation.Â You can see why Evans ended with it–though I had always thought reporters tended to clean up off-the-cuff speech.
It’d be interesting to hear the rationale for the change, and what drove it–a complaint?Â second thoughts about exposing the quick-hit thoughts of a college sophomore?