I wrote this open letter to Drew Sharp after listening to Sharp's podcast provided by BlockM. Should he reply, his reply will appear in the comments. Anyway, here it goes:
I am going to preface my email by telling you that I am a Michigan student and a lifelong Michigan fan, as I feel that it is only fair that you are aware of this before I address the subject of your comments about Demar Dorsey. Furthermore, I will also say that I have no problem with your asking questions about Dorsey’s history to Coach Rodriguez, as that is justifiably part of your job as a reporter. However, I do take issue some of your comments made on your 1130 radio show, having listened to the released podcast.* Also, it is only fair that I inform you that this is an open letter and I will make public your the entirety of your response, if you are so kind as to provide one.
First of all, I question your stance on accepting athletes who have been charged with a crime, but not convicted. As I understand it, Demar Dorsey was acquitted of an armed robbery charge and had charges of burglary against him dismissed. Based on your comments, I assume that you do not believe that athletes who are charged with a crime (or at least, charged with a crime and brought to court), should be allowed to play for the University of Michigan. I take issue with this because it means that any teenager incorrectly charged with a crime is automatically precluded from playing football at Michigan through no fault of his own. As Dorsey was acquitted, and Coach Rodriguez says that he has investigated the matter and believes that he did not commit any crime, I cannot see any moral justification for denying him the opportunity to play football at the University of Michigan. According to your view on how Michigan should conduct itself, Michigan should not accept any player accused of a crime, even if the university believes the player to be innocent, on the basis of upholding a high moral standard. Forgive me, but that seems to be rather disingenuous.
Second of all, I question the journalistic ethics that you have applied when commenting about Demar Dorsey. You compared Dorsey’s acquittal to OJ Simpson’s acquittal without giving any link between the two cases other than the fact that both of them involve football players. Furthermore, you heavily suggested the possibility, and seemed to insinuate that you believe it is likely, that Demar Dorsey was not found guilty because he is a high profile football player. I take issue with this because you did not justify this suspicion with any evidence. You did not discuss any specifics of the Dorsey case, including the evidence that the prosecutors presented in his jury trial. You did not provide any quotes about Dorsey by anyone who knew him. In fact, the only thing that you provided as reason to distrust the Dorsey verdict was a sweeping generalization of football players in the court system, claiming that football players often receive favorable treatment in the justice system. And the only evidence that you provided to back up this generalization was the OJ Simpson case, a heavily publicized trial involving one of the most famous NFL players of all time. Forgive me, but that does not seem to be a fair parallel to a trial involving a high school football player in Fort Lauderdale.
As you consider yourself to be a legitimate journalist, I feel that it is your obligation to provide specific details and a body of evidence to support your view that there is reason to doubt that Dorsey actually committed any crime. If you do not do so, as a journalist it would be unethical to do anything but recant your previous statements and offer an apology to Demar Dorsey.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
*Here is the link to the podcast I listened too, should you wish to hear the entirety of the comments that I am writing to you about: