Terrific story out of Alabama, chronicled by Will Collier of From The Bleachers.
Last Saturday night, Gentry Estes of the Mobile Press-Register posted an item on the paper's "Bama Beat" blog discussing the frustration of attempting to cover an Alabama scrimmage he could not watch. After the scrimmage, Estes and other beat writers are merely handed statistics compiled by — you guessed it — team officials. If they're lucky, Nick Saban talks to them, but everybody else — players, assistant coaches, the mascot — are off limits.
"This is not an ideal situation for a journalist who values a balanced account, and it's worth disclosure and a warning to readers: Take it for what it's worth."
On Monday, Estes' entry was deleted, only to reappear Wednesday, but not the "Bama Beat" blog. It was posted on Paul Finebaum's site.
Finebaum interviewed Randy Kennedy, the paper's sports editor, on his radio show later Wednesday and asked him why the blog entry was removed.
"We just decided it was more trouble than it was worth … this was not necessarily the battle [Estes] wanted to pick with the people who were supposed to be our customers."
According to From The Bleachers, Montgomery radio personality Doug Amos was told by a source that the request to spike Estes' post came from Saban, who called the writer to complain.
But on Thursday evening, Estes re-posted the original piece, along with the following note, which stated there was never any contact from Saban or any other Alabama official regarding the original post:
"Two days later, after feeling compelled to respond to numerous comments from readers, the blog was threatening to become a time-consuming distraction to my work as Alabama beat writer for the Press-Register.
"This was a battle I began to feel would do no good for my newspaper or myself. I wish to be known for objectivity and reporting skills rather than a mere blog that made myself the story. This was heading in an opposite direction from those goals. So I deleted the post. Never at any time did anyone from the University of Alabama request or suggest that I remove the blog entry."
Thanks to reader George for his help.