Answer Friday

Time to answer some questions.

Q: In regards to your statement regarding Mark Sanchez’s arrest for sexual assault, you wrote, “if he weren’t a football player, student conduct might not even be aware of the arrest.” Are you even being serious about that comment? Considering the arrest took place at Cardinal Gardens, which is university-owned property, and included a dozen LAPD police cars, several DPS units and, even the LAPD helicopter surrounding the building, do you honestly think that student conduct or anyone else at the university would not have been aware of the arrest had Sanchez not been a football player? What about the fact that the alleged sexual assault took place on university property? So do you really think that if a regular student, rather than a football player had been arrested, student conduct would not have been aware of the situation?

A: Over the years, I’ve routinely become aware of incidents at Cardinal Gardens, the Row, etc., that fail to make the radar of student conduct. DPS commonly handles incidents without them being turned over to student conduct. And I still have statements from Michael Jackson regarding incidents involving football players that make them seem guilty before the case even goes through any legal process.
Actually, I can say with even more certainty that when a football player goes before student conduct, they are dealt with more severely than average students, because Michael Jackson wants to take a hard-line approach when there is media scrutiny. Ask Winston Justice, who got suspended a semester for pointing a pellet gun at another student. No way he gets that penalty if he is not a football player and there is not media attention.

Q: What’s going on with the USC beat writers having nothing to do with all the recent major scandals breaking in the media? The Reggie Bush scandal was broken by Yahoo, while the OJ Mayo scandal was broken by ESPN. Are the local papers simply not conducting any kind of investigative journalism? Are they afraid of being sued if they run these stories, while the national media are not? Were any of these stories known to the local beat writers prior to breaking in the media but they chose to sit on them? Is there simply fear on the part of the beat writers that they will be banished by those within the USC athletic department if they reveal too much, so they decide to run more apathetic pieces?

A: The reasons are far less conspiratorial, unfortunately. The Reggie Bush story was leaked to NFL writers by an agent who was upset that Bush refused to sign with him. So he called reporters he knew. As for Mayo, Louis Johnson wanted to make the biggest splash possible and ESPN was the perfect choice for that. If I broke that story or the L.A. Times, I doubt Myles Brand would be talking about the case the next day, because ESPN makes a huge impact across the nation.
Obviously, I had my suspicions about Rodney Guillory and I’ve already said I spoke to people at USC about him. But without any kind of documentation, which Johnson apparently provided ESPN, these stories cannot be written. Also, Bush’s family lived in San Diego, so it was not known to the beat writers in Los Angeles what was going on down there.

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