2. Why Did You Apologize to Dan Wetzel?
RCS: Your willingness to admit when you’re wrong is something we want to ask about. You certainly have an inclination to call a spade a spade, which is probably part of your appeal. In other words, you’ve never shied away from controversy: Lupica. Mariotti. Playboy, Scoop Jackson, etc. But recently you did something that sports column readers have rarely seen: you used your column space to apologize to Yahoo! columnist Dan Wetzel for what you wrote about his and Adrian Wojnarowski’s investigative piece on the UConn basketball violations.
Under those particular circumstances, why did you find an on-the-record, print apology necessary?
Whitlock: I've written plenty of public apologies in the Kansas City Star. That was just the first one I wrote for Foxsports.com. I was dead wrong. Wetzel wrote me a great e-mail pointing out why I was wrong. I made the mistake in print, why not admit it in print? When you write strong opinions, admitting your mistakes enhances your credibility. I'm not talking about a prediction of a game.
I wrote a critical column about Josh Freeman when he was a sophomore quarterback at Kansas State. The harshness of the column was accentuated when a filing snafu chopped off the first two paragraphs, destroying the context of the criticism. Anyway, I wrote an apology/clarifying column three days later. No one asked. The column just didn't sit right with me. Josh Freeman's dad called me and thanked me. Another time I wrote a series of columns demanding that Kansas State retain its basketball coach Jim Woolridge for one more season. The school kept him and Woolridge's last year was a disaster. I acknowledged my stupidity in print. That's two examples I can think of off the top of my head. I always react to new information, new insight.
I hate it when people refuse to admit when they're wrong. We bash coaches and executives for their unwillingness to admit a mistake. I don't want to be a hypocrite.