The Austin Media vs. The Waco Media

This may not interest any of you, but I couldn’t help but be drawn in on Thursday night of last week. I should state up front that this centers almost entirely around the recent Baylor rape cases and/or allegations. And really, fight is really between Orangebloods and pretty much anyone in Waco. The backdrop to this fight is really a terrible situation and it has set up both sides to be able to make claims, give jabs, or otherwise insult one side or the other.

It’s almost impossible to summarize the arguments, but I’ll do my best. From the Austin side of things, the idea is that the Waco media has failed, at best, in reporting the rape situation at Baylor properly, that it has taken bigger publications, like ESPN, Outside the Lines and Texas Monthly, to bring light to the situation in Waco, while the Waco media has stood by promoting the football program and has failed to ask head coach Art Briles any tough questions.

I have a harder time summarizing the Baylor side of things and maybe that’s part of the problem. I think that the Baylor media probably feels a bit stuck between a rock and a hard place. They ask tough questions, but when they do that they have the potential to lose access to the one thing that probably drives the reason why folks even read the newspapers or the blogs. If anything, it makes you realize how powerful programs are in regards information and access.

For some background on this, please see Texas Monthly’s Jessica Luther and Dan Solomon’s piece where Sam Ukwuachu was indicted June 25, 2014 and there really wasn’t a peep (I can’t remember if the case was sealed) from that time until in August of 2015. That’s over a year where Baylor knew about the rape and the question is if the Waco media knew and if their job was to find out, then maybe they should have. EDIT: I haven’t had time to search for this, but have received word this case was under seal.

Now, we jump to Thursday night, when it was revealed that Shawn Oakman was accused of rape. Alex Dunlap of Orangebloods broke who the player was with a copy of the affidavit that implicated Oakman. If you look at the first page of the affidavit, there is a black mark covering the victim’s name. That black mark, which we’ll learn later, is black electrical tape. You’ll also note that the affidavit is folded. David Smoak, a noted Waco radio personality, then posted the affidavit, here and here, without attributing Dunlap. Now enters Geoff Ketchum, another prominent member of Orangebloods, who immediately called out Smoak for not attributing Dunlap. Smoak’s defense was that his own source sent him the affidavit. Dunlap responded to Smoak noting that it was electrical tape. Dunlap mentions that these records are not of public record and he physically obtained them.

The argument from the Baylor contingent is that Orangebloods is profiteering off of Baylor’s situation. That if Dunlap was truly concerned with the victim, he wouldn’t be so concerned with who attributed him in regards to who took liberty with taking his affidavits or not giving him credit for them. Of course, on the other end of things, Dunlap was the one that physically went to obtain those documents, whether or not you think his motivation is pure as the driven snow or if he’s motivated because he co-founded a website that competes with Baylor on the field.

From the Texas perspective, is essentially deflecting any comment from any Baylor fan by mentioning that they’re essentially enabling Baylor by not holding Baylor and head coach Art Briles to the same standards that Ketchum is holding Baylor and Briles.

Not only that, but Ketchum also goes after Our Daily Bears for not taking a stance against Briles and Baylor.

This media fight brings back a lot for memories for me. I don’t enjoy bringing this back to me, but it does bring things back for me with the Texas Tech vs. Leach situation. I certainly picked a side in that scenario and I think, there are times, where I still think that some of the media holds my stance against me. I was critical, and I’m not ashamed at all about my stance. I think there are still effects that I still feel today. I’m generally shunned by traditional media, although I’m not sure if that’s because of who I am as a person or because of the side that I chose. I should say that Don Williams and Chris Level have always treated me well, even after the fact.

But back to Austin media vs. Waco media. I’ll let you choose your side, or maybe you’ll stand in the middle of this situation with me. I get the points of both, although admittedly, I find myself thinking that three rape situations for a football program isn’t a coincidence. In fact, there was an alleged rape at Oklahoma State by a basketball player, Darrell Williams. This was a terrible situation and it was one where Williams was eventually exonerated (this is a really good story and you should read it). The thing here though is that this was an isolated incident and no one is jumping up and down about a culture at Oklahoma State. Baylor fans are, admittedly, protective of their program and I certainly understand it. I go back to my own feelings about the Leach situation and I remember thinking that I was willing to burn it all down if it meant justice. Perhaps I was foolish to think that or maybe I didn’t really think it at all. It’s been so long since I’ve read that stuff.

Either way, I know I wasn’t on the fence.

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