A couple of months ago, I was contacted regarding a developing story relating to club football in Kildare. Facts were reported as they were presented, but, when one of the parties to whom the matter related got in touch voicing their unhappiness with some of the material contained therein, the ‘offending’ information was willingly and gladly removed and the piece in question was amended.
At the time, several attempts were made to get me to divulge my source, but to do so would represent journalistic treachery. After all, on the first day in college, page one of ‘How To Be A Journalist’, if such a guide were to exist, would contain, in bold font: NEVER REVEAL YOUR SOURCE. Writers and/or reporters simply could not function in this business without them.
We in the sports media are in the very privileged position of having those who start out as heroes from afar become, at the very least, acquaintances or, as I have been blessed in several scenarios, close and cherished friends. In Ireland, and in G.A.A. and Horse Racing in particular, we the media and indeed the fans gain what is surely unprecedented access to the stars of and main movers and shakers therein.
All of that, though, is placed in jeopardy when the trust between interviewer and interviewee gets broken. Which is the first thing that sprung to mind when a supposedly ‘Off the record’ conversation between Laois hurling boss Eddie Brennan and former Laois footballer Colm Parkinson ended up easily available for public consumption.
Repitition is one of the greatest foibles in this profession, but, sometimes cliches are unavoidable. One of the ones which probably gets the urine extracted out of it more than most was Steve Staunton’s proclamation in the middle of the Saipan shambles that “There’s a line you don’t cross”. The only line that was crossed that time was media darling Mick McCarthy sending home not only Ireland’s best player, but the best midfielder in the world.
But anyway, another tired old line often trotted out, ridiculously, about the great Meath teams of the past, is “Win at all costs”. In the case pertinent to what you are reading, it appeared to be a case of publicity at all costs.
Colm Parkinson was an attention seeker when he was playing. A talented footballer without doubt, but one more famous for and interested in his imagine than anything that occurred on a football field.
That aspect of things has only become more magnified since the Portlaoise man has been given a national media platform. This time, however, he has gone too far. Naturally, the buck was passed to the producers of The G. A. A. Hour when the former Kilkenny hurler raised concerns about some of the recorded content.
The damage, mind you, potentially catastrophic, has been done. To Eddie Brennan’s current and future roles within the G. A. A. and to the relationship between the media and the Association. Neither a good thing.