Stinson Blasts Media, Prosecution

Jason Stinson’s media tour included a lengthy interview with WHAS-TV’s Renee Murphy. And in doing it, the ex-coach says he’s not angry, but wants people to be “held accountable for their actions.”

By this, he means the Courier-Journal.

Tops on his list — local print media. In Stinson’s view of the world, none of the events of the last year — the accusations, the analysis of practice, the indictment, the trial, the rallies, the anguish — would have occurred if the print media (just say it, Jason, the C-J) were doing their job properly.

Listen to the raw tape:

I’m not angry. I believe there’s accountability though in this situation. I believe people have done things during this trial. The print media here in town locally has been wrong. I truly believe the prosecution was wrong and had some missteps. I believe the indictment was wrong. I”m not angry, because being angry at those folks is not going to do anything but internally tear me up.

There are people who need to be held accountable for their actions, for things they have done throughout this process, especially the local print media. They’ve taken a little portion of practice. They took a snapshot of practice, 15 minutes.  They took that snapshot, they took some statements, and they ran with them. 

They never bothered to do any investigative reporting. They never bothered to do any follow-up. They never bothered to  interview anybody who was actually at practice.  That 15-minute snapshot became gospel. And it was far from the truth. Coach denies players water. We just proved iin the courtroom. Max Gilpin was not dehydrated.

The print media in this town needs to be held accountable for their actions. You can’t just run off and print things and not stand behind your word. That’s very bothersome.

OK. So all the information we learned about practice, all those gassers, all the talk of running until somebody quit. All that doesn’t matter because a jury found Stinson not guilty of a crime? Stinson’s misreading the verdict. It didn’t vindicate him. It said that his on-field anger, his methods of motivation, borrowed from another time, were not responsible for the death of one of his players.

Stinson, we know, has a temper. And he’s struggling, even now, to keep it in check. And starting Thursday, he’ll be doing so in a classroom.

Stinson’s Mom Wants Apology

This morning, Max Gilpin’s mother, Michele Crockett, was in New York along with prosecutor Jon Heck to talk about the verdict in the Jason Stinson case. She said she still wants an apology from Stinson, which she hasn’t received.

“He hasn’t stepped up to the plate at this time,” she said.

Both Heck and Crockett said they were surprised by the testimony of Max’s stepmother, who testified that Max wasn’t feeling well the day of the practice, and said that was a key factor in the verdict.

CBS gave the story 7 minutes, with Harry Smith doing the interview.



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What is Berman Thinking?

What, exactly, is Sheldon Berman thinking?

Now that PRP coach Jason Stinson has been found not guilty of reckless homicide, he thinks it’s OK to put the embattled former coach in front of a classroom and wouldn’t object a bit if some oblivious JCPS principal hires him to coach a football team.

Berman says he plans to meet with Stinson next week. Stinson, who was placed in a non-instructional position after he was charged, makes about $45K per year.

That not guilty verdict didn’t proclaim that Stinson didn’t lose his temper and take it out on a bunch of high school kids. It didn’t say that he was not guilty of running players until somebody quit. And it didn’t make the civil case pending against him go away.

Even Berman’s JCPS investigation found that Stinson’s actions were so atrocious that a whole new set of coaching standards were set up and new training is now required on motivational techniques in high school sports.

The verdict meant that Stinson’s action weren’t deserving of jail time. But that doesn’t mean that he should be unleashed on another public school’s students.

Fox41 Takes High Schoolers to Class

Ever wonder why there’s so few local high school graduates on local TV newscasts?

OK, there are a few, but by and large our local reporting contingent is made up out-of-towners who come in and try to make their own reputation before moving up the next biggest market. Changing that balance may not be the goal, but it could be a byproduct of a new “TV Journalism 101″ program Fox41 is bringing to eight local high schools.

The station will be airing segments produced by the high school students in upcoming episodes of Fox in the Morning. Then there’s a contest with some unnamed grand prize (how about a year’s supply of blizzards!), in which the winning piece will be voted on by viewers. The winning students will be featured on a special broadcast airing Thanksgiving Day.

The Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA) and Dairy Queen Grill & Chill are participating as major sponsors.

Five Jefferson County Public High Schools – Ballard, duPont Manual, Fern Creek, Pleasure Ridge Park and Waggener – along with St. Xavier, Jeffersonville and Providence in Clarksville, Indiana will participate.

Each student team will get a mentor from the Fox 41 News staff. Here’s the obligatory quote from Fox41 news director Barry Fulmer:

“With the TV Journalism 101 project, we hope to nurture the seeds of a new generation of journalists here in our own area. We all remember what it took for us to get our start in the profession, and we believe we have a responsibility to lend a hand to the next wave. There’s a lot of great young talent right under our noses and we look forward to working with them to hone their skills in a real-world situation.”

Stinson was Abusive and Cruel, But Not Criminal

Been watching, off and on, the closing arguments in the Jason Stinson trial today. The story’s getting national attention, of course, and every local media organization will report the results this afternoon.

I don’t expect a long deliberation. The jury got the case at 3:15.

The truth is that Coach Jason Stinson represents yesterday’s version of football coach, like the coaches those of us of a certain age had when we were playing. They were tough, cruel, abusive and mean. You’ve seen this in movies, like 2002’s The Junction Boys. It’s what used to count for leadership. Just listen to former players of legendary coaches, from Vince Lombardi to St. X coach John Meihaus to Howard Schnellenberger to Jason Stinson. They’ll tell you how much they loved their coach.

In my review of Leslie Lyons’ book about Dicky Lyons Sr. and Jr., I mentioned a story of how in the 1960s the St. X coach made a couple of players drink hot beer as punishment for drinking the night before. Many of us have heard the words “Run ’till I tell you to stop” and then wonder if the coach forgot about us. Stinson theatened his players by saying they were going to run until somebody quit. Common tactic.

All true. But the bottom line in the case is that none of that is criminal.

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Back from a Big Weekend

OK, guess it’s time for getting back to work after a weekend of WorldFest, Green Building Art Show, racquetball, U of L football (thanks, Chris, for the tickets), Bluegrass Music Fest, Biking with the Mayor and some golf.

It was another great success for the Hike & Bike, and really gratifying to hear the Mayor list The ‘Ville Voice among the event’s sponsors. The rain threatened early, then kept things cool for an exhilarating ride to Iroquois Park and back downtown. 11-year-old Luke, on his first ride of this distance, did great and couldn’t have been more excited about finishing. Whoever the next Mayor is had better continue this twice-yearly ride.

Those of you who won tickets to the Bluegrass Music Festival also got to see and hear some great music at the Water Tower. We sponsored three Bisig Impact Group shows down at the Water Tower this summer — every one well-organized and fun.

So let’s get back to some news, including what’s happening today, which is. . .

Thieneman for Mayor: When he had a press conference last week to announce his intentions to sue the city over the Cordish deal, Chris Thieneman said he simply wanted to expose corrupt practices in city government. But the event sparked supporters to push him to run for Mayor, and he’ll jump in the race officially later today at Ernesto’s on Dixie Highway, the same place that he started pushing a month ago to get Dan Seum to run. He’ll be the first Republican in.

Hide the Kids: The White House released the text of the speech Pres. Obama will give to America’s children in school tomorrow, and it’s hardly anything to fear.  In fact, you parents who keep your kids from hearing it — are really delivering the wrong message. [Obama’s speech]

Something for Parents to Worry About: In Breckenridge County, a high school football coach took players from his public school to his church where some were baptized without parental consent. And the superintendent says it’s OK because coaches paid for the gas. Can you imagine that happening in Jefferson County? [Courier]

Breaking the Rules with Rick: When anchors introduced Kyle Draper’s sports report on WHAS-TV last week, he said he was instructed to stick to basketball questions. But Draper broke the rules and included questions that aren’t about hoops. And led his reporting with the Sypher story. At the end, Draper talks about how local reporters have to build their relationship with U of L.  [WHAS-TV]

Long Season Ahead: Fans at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium are not going to be happy with this football team. That 30-10 win over one of the worst teams in college football was not the stuff that inspired confidence.

Truly Blue: One of our favorite local artists, Leslie Lyons, has finished a book about her unique relationship with her father, Dicky Lyons, and her brother, Dicky Lyons, Jr. It’s a fascinating read about UK sports and football from the unique perspective of a woman who witnessed both of their UK careers. I’ll have more on it later. [Set Shot Press]