Here’s something you don’t see every day: a writer apologizing to a player for giving life to a rumor of PED usage.
You see, there was a nasty rumor flying around on Twitter that Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com decided to ask Cabrera about it. Cabrera categorically denied the rumors, saying MLB hasn’t informed him or the players union about a positive test. He even contacted his agent to make sure. Baggarly then decided to pass along word of Cabrera’s denial. However, Baggarly later had regrets of acknowledging the rumor in the first place and issued a public apology to Cabrera.
Here’s part of the apology, which you can read in full on CSNBayArea.com:
We live in a different media universe and the rules are changing every day. Information is immediate. The level of interaction between fans and journalists is greater than ever. Anyone can self-publish any thought that rumbles through his or her head, true or untrue. It can be a confusing cacophony for any journalist, and it certainly is for me at times.
It’s my job to serve readers. But what if it’s just one tenth of one percent of my readership who are asking these questions? Is it my responsibility to respond to them in a public way?
Asking these questions from a different vantage point: If I were Melky Cabrera, would I appreciate a reporter who knocked down a rumor that was just a whisper in some corners of the Internet? Or would I be royally pissed to see my name mentioned alongside PEDs, no matter the context, by a credentialed, professional journalist?
It’s obvious, isn’t it? Well, it should have been obvious to me. It wasn’t.
In retrospect, I made the wrong decision to address these rumors on my Twitter account and disseminate it to my 30,000-plus followers.
So I feel it’s important that I issue a public apology to Melky Cabrera for giving greater voice to a rumor that, to the best of my knowledge and on his word, has absolutely no basis in fact.
It’s a good read on a sensitive topic and a cautionary tale for anyone who considers running with a rumor which could do some serious damage to someone’s reputation. Baggarly may have made a mistake to run with the rumor, but he deserves credit for holding himself accountable. If only we could say the same for those who continue to recklessly spread rumors of PED usage about the likes of Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza.