The latest development – and I use that word very loosely – in the Ken Griffey Jr. story occurred thanks to his agent, Brian Goldberg. Goldberg told KIRO radio today that a story about his client napping during a game was published prematurely by The News Tribune. He also added some details about Monday that were not true. Because of this, I feel compelled to answer those allegations so that everyone can be clear with what has happened.
First of all, a little about me. I am Darrin Beene, the Sports Team Leader at The News Tribune. I’ve been working at The Trib for over 10 years now. I’ve been an assistant sports editor, and I’ve covered Washington State football, the Seahawks, the Sonics and the Mariners. Prior to that, I’ve worked nine years in the newspaper business at various places (The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Daily News, the Antelope Valley Press, the Fresno Bee).
And I was working on this Griffey story on Monday and have been knee-deep in it ever since.
Goldberg called me on Wednesday, basically threatening to go public with his “information.” I told him to go ahead, because what we have published on the blog and in print remains solid.
A player told Larry LaRue that Griffey was sleeping in his chair in the seventh inning on Saturday, and another confirmed it. I asked Goldberg if that was in doubt, and he would not answer the question, just as Griffey danced around the specific point when he was asked about it on Tuesday. So Goldberg went to KIRO. I will list what the story said and then respond to each issue:
• Goldberg: LaRue felt badly about publishing the story without talking to Griffey and Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu. LaRue, realizing his mistake, called the newspaper to try and retract the story.
• My response: LaRue did regret not talking to Griffey before the story was posted on the blog. He did, however, try to contact him on Monday. He also tried to get comment from M’s GM Jack Zduriencik, but Jack Z referred him to a team spokesman.
Also, it should be noted, LaRue told Managing Editor Dale Phelps that he has not spoken to Goldberg since spring training.
• Goldberg: The newspaper, Goldberg said, would not retract the story.
• My response: LaRue never asked me or any other editor to “retract” the story or take it off the blog. In fact, the original post is still active on the paper’s Mariners blog. Here’s the link: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners/2010/05/10/for-griffey-the-mariners-the-end-is-near/ or you can just scroll down and read it again, if you like.
So there you have it. As far as the issue of the blog post being premature, the information contained in the post remains up. It was the basis of the story we printed in Tuesday’s paper. The idea that this information was such that it needed to be changed or deleted is simply not true. I hope this clarifies things.