This is an Alabama Crimson Tide focused website. However, for the last couple of weeks, the Rush Propst and Hoover Bucs saga has gripped our attention. And just when you think the story is going to settle down, something else ignites it.
This week, the Western Star, owned by Trib Publications, apologized for the July 4 Hunter Ford expose of Propst’s personal life.
The Western Star statement said: “The Western Star would like to apologize for the decision made by some staff members to editorialize about the personal life of Hoover High School football coach, Rush Propst, in last week’s paper. Coach Propst’s personal life if (sic) just that and unless it affects his job status with the Hoover School System, it should remain private. This was an error in judgement by the publisher and editor of The Western Star, who acted outside the scope of their authority and we again apologize for any embarrasssment it may have caused. Trib Corporate Office
Wow. Talk about emasculating your publisher. I would have walked over this repudiation. Bob Tribble has made it nearly impossible for his publisher to make tough calls in the future. Now, as soon as he does something controversial (which every good newspaper must do) the corporate office will get loads of complaints, and that will yield only more meddling in the day-to-day operations of the newspaper.
Hunter Ford said on the Finebaum show (hear the Wednesday interview by clicking here) his ownership caved due to a lawsuit threat. One person familiar with newspapers suggested a small chain like Trib could be more easily intimidated by such a threat. This person also suggested Trib Newspapers could be worse than Boone to employees.
In any case, Trib made a bad decision in its wording of the apology. It undermined its publisher, and that can’t be seen as a good thing. Making the apology is one thing; if the Tribbles really believe this is private stuff and shouldn’t be in a family newspaper that is fine, but they should leave it at that.
Another media thought
Ford suggested in his column and in his Finebaum interview that mainstream media forces have conspired to protect Propst. Last week, I emailed Rick Karle of Fox 6 and asked him about Ford’s allegations. Karle was kind enough to respond and here was his reaction: Propst allegedly having an affair has nothing to do with the grade-fixing acusations. If an affair does affect the team (players leaving, etc) I will jump all over it. Covering for Propst? Ludicrous- I talk with him occassionally, but I don’t know him that well- and I’d be the first to go after him if this ends up blowing up. ”