Students: Your work today was disappointing

September 09, 2008 | Drew Forrester

Since when did “reporting a story” amount to trying to “become the story”?

Since today, evidently.

This morning, I went on the air and announced that Chris McAlister was experiencing swelling in his knee. Again.

How did I know that?

Chris McAlister told us.

“Us” meaning WNST. McAlister phoned in yesterday afternoon and regretfully informed us he wouldn’t be able to make his scheduled appearance on the “Purple and Black Attack” last night because he was staying at the facility for treatment after his knee swelled up following Monday’s practice. (Side note: No hard feelings on our part. Your knee is your work, C-Mac. Get healthy and catch us another time.)

Anyway, after mentioning the McAlister knee-swelling issue, I immediately received e-mails from listeners saying, “you dummy…the team doesn’t practice on Monday…if you’re going to make up a story about McAlister ducking out of your radio show, at least get your facts straight…the players weren’t at the facility on Monday so how could McAlister have injured his knee again? Everyone knows they’re never at the facility the day after a game.”

OK then…I was at the facility on Monday afternoon and here’s what I saw around 3:15 pm. A bunch of big guys in Ravens sweat pants, shorts and t-shirts, dripping with sweat, walking past me to enter the locker room. That sure LOOKED a lot like Ray Lewis. If, as Glen professed in his expletive-laden e-mail, I wasn’t even at the facility on Monday and was merely trying to look like I was, you should probably tell John Harbaugh that really wasn’t me he was talking to by the two doors that lead to the outdoor practice field(s).

If the Ravens weren’t at the facility on Monday, then Ray has a look-a-like. And a sound-a-like. I was 10 feet away from him at one point and that sure SOUNDED like #52.

Under Brian Billick, the players weren’t obligated to report to Owings Mills on Monday unless they needed treatment. Under John Harbaugh, all players report and the team convenes on the field. That’s one of the differences of Harbaugh’s regime. Nothing wrong with it — it’s just the way Harbaugh does things.

No one – including me – ever said McAlister hurt his knee at practice on Monday. What I said was that after practice on Monday, we received a call from McAlister in which he stated his knee was swollen and that he would be staying in Owings Mills for treatment and wouldn’t be able to make the show at Hightopps.

Maybe Monday’s “event” at Owings Mills wasn’t practice. It just looked a lot like practice. That was real sweat, I can assure you. Perhaps it was a Monday “get together” or “gathering” or “meeting”. When players are dressed in athletic clothing and they’re sweating afterwards, I consider that a practice but maybe you don’t.

Enter the amateur journalists.

Any time there’s a Ravens story or news item, the message boards light up with replies, rebuttals and pot stirrers. The on-line vomiting is laughable, mainly because a great number of folks who contribute are merely responding to what someone else initiated — with no real idea if the person who started the topic was even telling the truth.

That’s one of the saddest elements of the web. There’s no real control factor in place.

Topic: “I heard Drew say Kelly Gregg is voting for Obama.”

Reply: “That Drew is a real son-of-a-b**ch.”

Reply: “How does WNST know that?”

Reply: “I think you have that wrong. I’m pretty certain I heard him say Kelly Gregg didn’t like Obama.”

Reply: “Yeah, I thought I heard him say something like that too…but I wasn’t sure. I don’t listen to that station but I just happened to be listening this morning but I’m not sure what I heard.”

Of course, there’s about a 70% chance that Kelly Gregg and Barack Obama weren’t mentioned in the same sentence…but why let that get in the way of a good message board thread, right?

Today we had the bullseye on our back in internet-vomit-land. I guess it was still early in the morning and most folks hadn’t had a chance to kick their dog.

“There goes WNST again, trying to BE the story…”

“Drew’s making a bigger deal out of this than really exists…”

“It’s funny to see WNST trying to convince everyone they’re breaking stories.”

Well, for starters, we didn’t BREAK A STORY about Chris McAlister’s knee. I merely said his knee was swollen and he couldn’t make the radio show on Monday night because he was getting treatment. Chris McAlister broke THAT story when he called us and delivered the news.

I merely reported McAlister’s story today.

No one else in town reported the story about McAlister’s knee swelling again. You know why? McAlister probably didn’t tell them. And he only told us because he had an obligation with Brent Harris and Brad Jackson.

And for the record, I have no idea at all who Kelly Gregg is voting for in the November election.