I have again started writing my weekly columns that run in Friday’s sports section. This week’s column (published today in the Star-News sports section on page 3) focuses on the lack of transparency in the recent dismissal of Muir track coach Michael Knowles.
MIGUEL MELENDEZ COLUMN
There’s always two sides to a story, right?
Well, in this case there are possibly three.
Last week we reported the firing of Muir High School track and field coach Michael Knowles.
Knowles had been the school’s track coach in some capacity or another for 28 years, including 10 years as girls head coach and six as the boys head coach.
I went to the Muir High administration for answers and was basically stonewalled until principal Sheryl Orange returned my calls hours later after initially citing a busy schedule and wanting to schedule the interview for the following day.
Even when we heard from Orange, most of the key questions asked were deflected to vice principal Dr. Charles Park. But how was I supposed to get answers when Park would not return repeated calls or respond to messages left on his district-issued cell phone?
Look, I understand school officials — in this case the Pasadena Unified School District — want to cover their bases. But as a reporter I am simply doing my job by asking questions, and I understand Orange and even Park wanted some time to figure out their answers.
But to almost completely ignore our calls just makes the situation read like the school and district have something to hide.
A quick “I’d like to help you but I just can’t comment at this time” would have sufficed.
This much I said to Steve Miller, the director of human resources at PUSD, and to Binti Harvey, the director of communications at PUSD.
When Park was pressed on specific reasons for Knowles’ firing he cited a “personnel issue.”
“I have nothing to hide,” Knowles said. “If I need to sign anything tell me where. I don’t have anything to hide. They can release all my records.”