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SI writer takes heat for saying Aaron Hernandez 'good kid at heart'

Aaron Hernandez
ASSOCIATED PRESS

There are a lot of “access whores” in journalism, especially in sports. These are the reporters who pull punches in their coverage by ignoring or spinning the negative and going heavy on the puff pieces so sources—players, athletic directors, general managers, agents, etc.--will give them inside info.

The access whoring phenomenon has increased as the news cycle has shortened. The pressure to be “first” with info is greater, and getting scoops advances careers, so there are plenty of reporters willing to whore for sources in the hopes that they will give them exclusives. This tempts all of the reporters on the whore's beat to do the same because of competitive pressures.

The obvious drawback to acccess whoring, in addition to its inherent dishonesty, is that once a reporter whores for sources they expect it all the time or otherwise the of info gets cut off. So when things go bad for the person or team that the whoring reporter covers, it puts the reporter in a tough spot because his sources expect their spin to be his story. Also, the whoring reporter's readers and viewers wonder why he or she never had those negative stories.

This brings up Sports Illustrated writer Greg Bedard, who used to cover the Patriots for the Boston Globe. When the stories first surfaced in June that police were questioning Aaron Hernandez about a homicide, and that a Florida man sued Hernandez for allegedly shooting him in the face, Bedard went on NESN and defended Hernandez:

 

“You hear this from teammates and you know from being around him, he's a good kid at heart. He really is. . . . I don't think he's an angel but, from what I know, I don't think he's a bad guy.”

 Hernandez now has been charged with murder, but Bedard went to Twitter and threw shade on the prosecutor's investigation:

The Internet has a long memory and folks on Twitter reminded Bedard about his past whoring for Hernandez, putting Bedard on the defensive.

 

 

So Bedard thought Hernandez had "turned his life around" until he had a “contentious” interview with Hernandez after last season. Bedard says that's the fist time it dawned on him that perhaps the “previous stuff he heard” about Hernandez (and didn't report) might actually be true and so maybe Hernandez isn't such a good dude. And, hey, he reported on Hernandez's background after the murder investigation surfaced so he's obviously no shill.

But that still didn't stop Bedard from going on the radio after police were sniffing around Hernandez about a murder and vouching for him as “a good kid at heart.” And it's not stopping him from playing a lawyer on Twitter and expressing his doubts about the murder case against Hernandez.

Guess it's true what they say: once you've started whoring it's hard to stop.

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