I called Robbie Neyer on his comments on his latest trash job. He wasn't so happy-
Rob Neyer (6/22/2007 at 3:37 PM)
Dear Mr. @@@@: You've now devoted at least 800 words to accusing me and the St. Pete Times of racism. Unfortunately, you've not devoted any of those 800+ words to providing any actual specifics. Dukes obviously is an emotional wreck, nowhere near having grown up as a human being. More substantively, in this context, he's a huge distraction for an organization that's trying to build a winning roster. If you think the reporters in the Tampa Bay area are wrong, and you choose to post many comments on the subject, the least you could do is offer some evidence. You don't need to tell us how courageous you are; that's glaringly obvious.
Here's my response:
Dear Mr. Neyer:
Sorry to be late to this one, but left town at 3:00 Friday. Just got back to the lovely response.
Before I throw some specifics out there that you should be privy to regarding Elijah Dukes, let me just say that I find it really difficult to justify calling anyone a "borderline psychopath" and that the "the guy will probably end up in jail in four years" without ever bothering to seek out the person's responses to the allegations brought out. You are a writer in a national column, and as such your words are very powerful. Accordingly, your opinions regarding Mr. Dukes are, at a minimum, extremely irresponsible. You are a writer on a national stage, and if Dukes should be held to some sort of higher standard because he is a ballplayer, then sir, so should you. By the way, love how you jumped on the "courageous" comment.
The picture painted regarding Mr. Dukes-and I believed you used the word "thug" in a previous column, is of the big bad balck man in the ghetto-which preys on peoples subconsious, latent racism. Judging by the numerous, vulger responses by the residents of Tampa, and some responses on your thread, this imagery is playing to such racism. Again, I believe, since your words have prompted such responses, it is reasonable for you to be accountable for the unintended consequences of such irresponsible remarks.
With respect to specifics and Mr. Dukes:
Here's a newsflash for you, sir-Dukes never threatened his wife. According to my sources, sir, Dukes was leaving a message for the his wife's boyfriend. That's right, Mr. Neyer-Duke's wife was cheating on him and he was upset. He left that message for the other man-the man who was sleeping with Mr. Duke's wife.
I don't know about you, sir, but if someone were sleeping with my wife, I think I'd be a little p.o.ed myself.
Why have you not printed such a possibility. My God, if I could ascertain the other side to a story, you absolutely should have been all over this. Unless you chose intentionally to look the other way to the other side of the story.
Did you listen to the radio broadcast of Mr. Dukes telling his side of the story? I have to believe you must have, as you decided to reference the broadcast in your column. What I distinctly heard was an individual who was upset at an entire month of article after article painting him a spousal abuser, and then calling his mother a crack addict.
Are you telling your audience you would not be upset at such accusations, when they are false? C'mon, Mr. Neyer, that can't be true. Why did you not bother writing about how the guy may have been painted wrongly in this picture. Why did you not write that the guy is hurting-as any father would-if his kids were taken away from him? Why did you not write that by all accounts outside his wife who is filing for divorce-that Dukes is an excellent father. Maybe because being an excellent father would diametrically oppose your position that Dukes is "borderline psychotic".
Why did you not write that Mrs. Dukes is requesting child support amounting to 99% of Mr. Dukes' income?
There is very clearly another side to this story. Your writings have glaringly ommitted them. Sir, if I can find out the "other side", then you could not have been looking very hard to find it. Accordingly, your comments, in my view, were irresponsible, harsh, and have added to the fuel of hatred for this person-which has now cost him his job.
I cannot fathom how you can sleep at night after contributing to this players' downfall-without once trying to find any answers. Mr. Duke's five kids-victims in this sad story-obviously weren't people you considered when you wrote such ugly things.
As a journalist, sir, your readers should require that you print both sides-or at least bother to consider them.
Mr. Dukes is now unemployed. I certainly hope this makes your day.
Did I say enough?