As Matthew noted last night, the BBWAA issued a statement in the wake of the Bill Conlin ugliness. It was strange to see it and, in my mind, pretty ill-advised.
Why say anything now? Given the gravity of the allegations, who gives a damn about what it all means for the Spink Award? While I appreciate the need not to pile on someone the second allegations surface, if the Penn State and Syracuse scandals showed us anything, it showed us that you don’t just jump out front and defend someone accused of this stuff as a matter of reflex either. And what the BBWAA statement did was to defend Conlin, at least in a small way.
Obviously the BBWAA did not convene a conclave of its members in the space of a couple hours last night to get their input on the statement. And, not surprisingly, some members are making a point today to say that the statement does not speak for them. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News even wrote an article about it:
Philadelphia Daily News editor Larry Platt, who accepted Conlin’s retirement Tuesday, told the Inquirer: “I can’t even begin to express the shock, sadness, and outrage I feel by what Bill Conlin is alleged to have done.”
That statement was clear about both the troubling nature of the allegations, and the fact they remain just that — allegations. I wish that my organization. the BBWAA, had achieved a similar balance.
I know this is a horrible and difficult situation for anyone to manage, but I agree with Martino: the BBWAA didn’t manage it well.