Thursday, January 29, 2009
To: Sports Editor, The Daily Beacon, University of Tennessee
Dear Mr. O'Daniel,
Sadly, there are a lot of sports editors across the country who know nothing about women's basketball. If you had told me that the sports editor of the student newspaper at the University of Tennesee didn't know anything about women's basketball...I would have been astonished, to say the least.
Looking at his past archive or articles, it seems that Mr. Merritt has given little thought to the success of the women's basketball program at the University of Tennessee. In his article of October 30th, "UT shifting focus to hardwood", we get the bizarre comment:
"Vol fans have helped Bruce Pearl make the impossible, possible — turning Tennessee into a basketball school."
Odd, I thought eight NCAA National Championships would cement Tennessee's reputation as a basketball school.
However, the comment in his recent article, "Reaching for the Summitt" takes the cake:
"Without this great rivalry the college game may have gone the way of the WNBA."
I suppose Mr. Merritt is unaware of Candace Parker. He might have heard of her. She was the MVP and Rookie of the Year for the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, an organization that still exists. And last time I checked, Ms. Parker was playing - guess where? - in Tennessee, on the team that won Pat Summitt's eighth National Championship for the Vols.
Mr. Merritt might have been speaking tongue in cheek. If his goal was to make a humorous putdown at the WNBA's expense, he should have telegraphed his punch more clearly - without it, he simply comes off as clueless.
I'm not asking that Mr. Merritt become a women's basketball fan if he isn't one. What I'm asking is that maybe, someone who actually knows something about women's basketball write the laudatory articles.
It's bad enough that Coach Pearl has only been four years at Tennessee and is paid more than twice as much as Coach Summitt, despite the fact that the closest he's come to a national championship in his sport is in buying a ticket or turning on the television. If Mr. Merritt wants to remain ignorant about women's basketball, that's his choice, but please don't let his stupidity permeate your newspaper. Keep him in his cloistered world, and don't let him comment on things that he obviously knows nothing about.