It’s not my job to carelessly launch wild, unverified accusations.
Or repeat every rumor I hear.
Or embellish details to make them just a little more interesting so that a few more people click on our website.
It’s also not my job to take sides.
Or choose to fight for a cause.
Or even to bow to pressure from a corporate entity that advertises with my company.
My job is simple.
Find out what happened and report about it to the best of my ability.
Doing that, however, has been very difficult recently, I must admit.
Several players have recently raised concerns about how the staff of the Eastern Kentucky University football has handed COVID-19 safety precautions.
Some have quit the team.
Some of them have been very vocal about that decision — and they have drawn a considerable amount of attention from the media.
EKU’s director of athletics has issued two statements in the past week on the matter and the school’s head football coach has appeared on a local radio show.
Both of them have unequivocally denied the charges made by the former players.
So, what are we supposed to believe?
I know the young man who first accused the EKU coaching staff of ignoring safety protocols and putting players at risk.
I’ve known him since he was a sophomore in high school. His mother and father both went to EKU, as did his two sisters — one of which married an EKU football player.
Landon White wanted to be a Colonel.
He didn’t want to leave EKU.
I have not talked to him since his Instagram post elevated the redshirt junior kicker into the spotlight. He has refused to talk to any media.
Since his departure, at least three more players have left, with several — NOT ALL — making public statements that their decision was based on safety concerns.
The exact number of players who have left the program in the past week in still unclear.
Information coming out of the program has only come through a series of press releases.
Like this one:
“EKU’s administration is actively reviewing claims related to compliance within EKU Football. The University and its Department of Athletics take all reports of this nature seriously to ensure our students and employees have the safest possible environment in which to learn, live, work and compete.
Until the review of non-compliance claims is complete, we will not have further comment.”
The team held an preseason intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday morning, but it was not open to the media or the public.
I have heard from quite a few people in the past week who, quite frankly, have made some very damning accusations against EKU and the coaching staff.
Some are rather shocking.
But, I won’t repeat them here — or anywhere else — unless there is corroboration from multiple, independent sources.
We don’t report until we can confirm.
It’s a difficult balance to strike.
I have my own personal opinions on this whole situation.
And even though this is a column — which is usually the forum for journalists to do just that — I choose not to.
At least for now.
By the time anyone reads this, the college football season may have already been canceled anyway.
The COVID-19 crisis doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon and people still continue to get sick and die.
I can confirm that several EKU players, including a quarterback, have battled the virus recently.
If the season is lost, or pushed to the spring, then this “controversy” will likely fade away.
That’s just what happens.
I will, however, continue to investigate this situation as best that I can and will try to find out as much information I can — FROM BOTH SIDES — and pass it along to the public.
That is my job.