ESPN columnist Rick Reilly has had it rough recently, but more importantly I thought it raised an interesting question about the responsibility journalists have in including comments from sources when it may potentially contradict the tone or message of their story.
To quickly set the stage: Back in September, Reilly, an award-winning sports columnist, wrote an article for ESPN.com that discussed the ongoing controversy surrounding the use of the name “Redskins” by the Washington NFL team.
In that article, Reilly argued that the controversy is being overblown and that Native Americans aren’t nearly as offended as our society thinks they are.
He supports his point by quoting his own father-in-law (a member of the Blackfeet Indian tribe), saying that the name isn’t really offensive and shouldn’t be a big deal.
Then things got a little hairy for Reilly. His father-in-law published an essay claiming that not only was he misquoted in the article, but also important comments he made denouncing the use of the word “Redskins” were omitted from the column.