COACHING CLIFFHANGER CONTINUES: THS WRESTLING COACH DUMPED WHILE ‘BORING BROADSHEET’ SWALLOWS THE SPOON-FEEDING … IT TAKES THE PLANET TO GET CLOSER TO THE REAL STORY
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, FEB. 5, 2014) — The “Perils of Pittsfield Coaches,” that cliffhanger serial now playing at the $92+ million Pittsfield School Department, continues with its next exciting chapter, “Coach Matt Slammed to the Mat.”
As you recall, we last saw that another coach, PHS baseball coach Bobby Moynihan, faced railroading for no apparent good cause. Fortunately, THE PLANET, and THE PLANET alone, broke the story with our coverage of WHY this was being done and WHAT happened at the closed-door meeting that resolved the situation with Moynihan getting his old job back. The Boring Broadsheet printed a thoroughly boring account of the dots but failed to connect them. We had to come to the rescue.
Keep in mind that this is the same paper that fired a sports reporter on his first day — for accurately quoting sources in a story on a local soccer match. Two school districts did not like what a girl soccer player said — she showing too much candor — and, looking to shoot the messenger, administrators complained to The BB POB. (Powers that Be).
Did the newspaper respectfully tell the superintendents that it would support its reporter? Of course not. It’s The Boring Broadsheet! The paper promptly canned the reporter. To the best of THE PLANET’s recollection, neithter executive editor Kevin Moran nor sports editor Matt Sprague spoke out in support of their assassinated scribe. Both stood by silently, “journalists” too afraid, too worried about their jobs, to speak out against an obvious wrong being done to a young reporter.
Now comes The BB‘s timorous handling of what appears to be a mishandling of the district coaching staff that recalls the Moynihan episode. Last Thursday, PSD athletic director Jim Abel placed wrestling coach Matt Chamberlain “on leave” for what the school superintendent termed a “personnel matter.” THE PLANET shall leave alone the tributary questions of why does the PPS need an “Athletic Director?” What, it’s Notre Dame football or Syracuse basketball? Think We The People could use to save Abel’s salary, which has to be pushing six figures.
“Personnel matter” — Those are the magic words, a phrase that finds its equivalent in a smoke bomb that a combatant might use to provide cover and obscure movement. When anyone from the schools utters the phrase, they’re speaking in code. They’re telling taxpayers: “It’s none of your stinking business.” The law, which can sometimes contain the most egregious injustices, provides legal cover for this overused tactic. Why let Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski in on what’s going on? Taxpayers only pay for the whole shooting match, but they can’t be trusted with the information they need to make informed decisions on the status of justice in the schools.
Sprague, in his story on Chamberlain’s ouster, remains content not to push the matter. He offers no explanation for the move of Chamberlain, meekly accepting Abel’s word, superintendent Jake “JIV” McCandless‘ blessing, and school committee member Dan Elias‘ rebuff. THE PLANET loves JIV’s kiss of death when he tells Sprague: “We really appreciate the work [Chamberlain's] done.”
Yeah, right. You appreciated it so much you demote the guy, not say why, and subject him to the stress, embarrassment, and the wagging of local tongues. Jeesh, we hate to think what would happen to someone you did not appreaciate. At least you let the guy keep his teaching post.
When the schools make such a move, a reason must be given — not according to the law but in fairness to the accused, to the taxpaying public, and for the integrity of the school system and its administration. Such concerns, though, evidently never entered into Sprague’s timid “compliancy coverage,” a brand of bottom-feeding work we dub “Jell-O Journalism.”
There’s no sign that Sprague got out the shovel and started digging for the truth when it was obvious the school department spokesman were giving him run-around. Moreover, there’s no indication he had enough sources or contacts to find out the doings behind the pulled curtain. The Boring Broadsheet confirmed this in a toothless editorial that followed Sprague’s piece.
In the opinion piece, The BB said it thought the school did the right thing, even though it admits it hadn’t a clue as to the WHY, the piece of information Sprague couldn’t deliver. Perhaps both the paper and its sports editor knew THE PLANET was, just as on the Moynihan story, waiting in the wings to close it out. Oh, we wonder, just what would The BB do without THE PLANET serving as assignment editor and doing its work for them?
The BB, its sports editor, and the reading public will be pleased to know that THE PLANET did some digging, and, without breaking a sweat, got some valuable information on the Chamberlain situation:
Sources tell us that the purported infraction was either:
* One of the wrestlers was left behind for a brief time after a meet in Rhode Island, or
* A student who was not on the wrestling team was allowed to travel on the bus to a meet, along with the team, without having received proper permission.
The school department has given no official information and will not do so.
“Unfortunate as either event may have been,” one source tells us, “it cannot compare to the Tailgate-gate scandal at Taconic where students and their coaches were drinking at a UCONN football game, where all but two students consumed alcohol and where seniors and coaches were too intoxicated to drive home. No photos by the BB, just a phone interview with the head coach, who dismissed the incident. It was reported as a situation blown out of proportion. With Coach Chamberlain, they run his picture without telling us a thing about the alleged infraction.”
The source added, “I guess Matt Chamberlain will suffer the fate of not being a homegrown good ol’ boy and take the cowardly reporting squarely on the chin, regardless of the facts of the case having not been reported. [I'm] thoroughly disgusted.”
Our source joins a legion of Chamberlain supporters who have quietly seethed at the man’s treatment by the schools and The BB‘s complicity through what one called “its lazy coverage.”
For “Jell-O Journalism,” readers have been asked to pay for massive price hikes.
How’s that working out for the once-proud paper?
“I don’t want no ricochet romance. I don’t want no ricochet love. I don’t want no ricochet sweetheart, no ricochet turtle dove. I don’t want no ricochet romance, no no not me. So if you want to ricochet baby, please let me be.” — Teresa Brewer, “Ricochet Romance,” (1954)
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.