Question of the day: Who’s in the right, Jim Gray or Corey Pavin? [Updated]
Reporters from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
[Updated at 9:15 a.m.:
John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times
Of course, Corey Pavin is right. He also may have lied. But in few other sports is the relationship between the “journalist” and the athlete so cozy as it is in golf. Pavin may have thought he was talking to Jim Gray as a "friend."
Golf writers -- most, not all -- work it so it’s the easiest job in sports journalism. They aren’t expected to break stories beyond the scope of someone changing a putter. ("Tiger, a cheater? I had no idea.") Their games are all during the day, and they get to come to work late on weekends after a round of golf. Heck, some even wear golf spikes to the tournaments. When was the last time you saw a baseball writer wear a uniform to a game?
In the end, Gray's subsequent threats against Pavin should force an apology from the journalist and his firing from the Golf Channel.
Jeff Shain, Orlando Sentinel
Hold on, let me stop laughing first. “You’re going down”...?!?? Really?? Clearly wrong on Jim Gray’s part. Hilarious, but wrong.
(Whenever I’ve had that thought, it’s often had to do with some football or hoops specimen who’d just leave me as a blot on the bottom of his 21EEEs. Deductions for picking on the 5-9 Pavin.)
Where were we? Oh, yeah.
If Pavin actually said he’d “of course” make Tiger Woods a Ryder Cup wild-card pick, Gray was right to run with it. That’s his job, to gather and disseminate information. And Pavin is savvy enough to know any definitive statement would give Golf Central a lead story.
That being said, it’s difficult to think that Pavin would paint himself into that kind of corner three weeks before he actually has to make the call. If Woods misses the PGA cut this week and crashes out after one FedEx Cup playoff event, that’s a lot of egg to wipe off.]
[Updated at 12:05 p.m.:
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
Has anyone had a worse 2010 than Jim Gray? Once known for grilling Pete Rose – and not accepting Rose’s lie about not having bet on baseball – he now needs to regain his credibility. Like Tiger Woods at Firestone, Gray is fighting the dreaded two-way miss: too soft on LeBron James, too harsh to Corey Pavin (assuming he really did utter “You’re going down!” to the Ryder Cup captain).
In a battle between athlete and media member, I’ll take the reporter nine times out of 10. Athletes have been known to get buyer’s remorse after saying something they fear will get them in trouble.
In this case, I won’t side with either man. My best guess is that Pavin confided in Gray, told him something in confidence. This much we know: That will be the last time that happens.]
Andrew Wagaman, The Morning Call
Whether or not Corey Pavin is lying about being misquoted, as a professional reporter, Jim Gray cannot lose his cool in the manner he did on Wednesday.
Lisa Pavin apparently recorded the heated exchange during which Gray stuck a finger in her husband’s chest and berated him. Later, she waved her phone and said, "It’s all right here." Gray should have done the same in the first place, simply standing by the Golf Channel’s statement that it was not rescinding the report. To go a step further, calling Pavin a liar and threatening to take him down (which, next to the diminutive and respected golfer, just makes Gray look like a bully), is wrong.
Could Pavin be lying? Quite possibly. But a reporter can’t resort to intimidation to defend himself. Keep it on the fairway.
Left photo: Jim Gray prepares to interview LeBron James in July. Credit: Larry Busacca / Getty Images for Estabrook Group
Right photo: Corey Pavin speaks to the media Wednesday. Credit: Stuart Franklin / Getty Images