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A sad day for Seattle: a newspaper sells its soul
Rich Linde, 29 January 2008

God bless Curtis Williams and his family; may C-Dub’s soul rest in peace. This website will always be dedicated to the memory of Curtis Williams, number 25.  

Currently, the Seattle Times is running a four-part series of articles questioning the integrity of coaches and administrators associated with Washington's 2000 Rose Bowl team. Using documents not available at that time, according to the Times, the Times' investigative journalists depict "a disturbing level of criminal conduct and hooliganism by the players on that team."

Today's installment went too far. It is as if the Times sold its soul for increased readership -- at the expense of former Husky player Curtis Williams, who eventually passed away (May 2002) from the effects of a spinal cord injury suffered on the football field in October 2000.

The story indicates a pattern of spousal abuse over a five-year period, which previously was not widely known, and kept from public knowledge over the last eight years. 

Curtis was a lousy student, the story says. He'd spent time in jail and was a wanted felon, it continues.

It is as if the newspaper, in dire need of bolstering its flagging circulation, trashed, in one fell swoop, what had been a fond, lasting memory of a Husky hero. As a result, hearts are broken, and fans are disquieted -- lumps in their throats, with tears welling in their eyes as fond memories of Curtis Williams are shredded irresponsibly during the reading of the story.

It is as if each intemperate word were a cowardly Lilliputian, sniping at our defenseless Husky icon.

Didn't Curtis suffer enough, confined to a bed in his brother's house, reliving the events in his young life, day by day? Why have his family relive those memories that haunted him on his last days on earth.

At this time, there has been no response from Husky assistant coach J. D. Williams, Curtis' older brother, and last and most importantly, Curtis is not here to defend himself, in what must be taken as a cowardly act by the Times.

By that I mean, if C-Dub were still alive, paralyzed from the neck down and on a ventilator, would the Times have written today's article?

Of course not, the public backlash would have been enormous.

The Times' story concludes, "Michelle (his wife) also attended the funeral, along with Kymberly (his daughter). To this day, Michelle wishes Curtis were alive and part of his daughter's life — to teach her how to drive, to be there when she graduates."

I wonder how Michelle feels about this hatchet job done on Curtis? It's also a sad day for Kimberly, not just for the Seattle Times. I wonder how this story will affect the rest of Kimberly's life.

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In the photo above, Rick Neuheisel presents Curtis William's folded up jersey to his parents at the graveside service following C-Dub's funeral.  Ironically, Jerramy Stevens (left) and Anthony Kelley (center), featured in chapters one and four of the Times' stories, respectively, stand in the background.

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In my opinion, there are a number of factors that motivate the Seattle Times’ stories. The following summarizes the conclusions reached in our previous article on this subject:

-- Sensationalism – the need to sell papers and accumulate page reads on the Internet.

-- Crossroads – A new AD is needed; the coach is in hot water; the UW needs funding for renovating Husky Stadium; Rick Neuheisel is back. The current void, which these stories fill, provides their timing, and now a question needs to be asked as UW searches for a new AD. Is the university willing to sell its soul and return to the winning-at-all costs attitude that led to a Rose Bowl championship team in 2000, this by firing Tyrone Willingham if he produces another losing season at UW and, as a consequence, replacing him with another coach, most likely Jim Mora if he’s available? Or should another AD, like Todd Turner, be hired, the hiring of whom will stay Willingham’s integrity-minded course?

-- Bashing football -- On a higher level, the elitists at the Times, in pursuit of a Pulitzer Prize in investigative journalism, have written a series of stories aimed at bashing college football, using the UW and its 2000 football team as a model. It’s necessary to understand the political climate in Seattle, which is anti-big business. The Times’ stories join the likes of “The Hundred Yard Lie,” “The Junction Boys,” and “Playmakers,” et al.

-- Bashing Rick Neuheisel -- The Seattle media treated Rick unfairly during his tenure as coach at the University of Washington, mainly because the media despises big-time college football. The lead hit man in the Seattle media still blames Rick and Barbara for the escalating salaries in college football. To the elitists at the Times, Neuheisel is a symbol of what is wrong with college football. These stories propagate that myth.

In my opinion, all of the above feed the motivation for the Times’ series and are not meant to be taken individually.

 

Malamute can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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