Brilliant. I really love the follow up and bringing awareness to the updates. I had a similar situation where i took the time to keep following up on a story and it’s been amazing to see the results.

Back in October 2021 i saw a top headline on CNN.com that stated “German hotel investigating after Jewish musician says he was discriminated against” and basically described that a German-Jewish singer named Gil Ofarim claimed while he was checking into a hotel the men refused to check him in when they saw his Star of David necklace. The story went into anti semitism, nazis, the works, and there were regular protests outside the hotel.

Well, it’s never been talked about again in US media but every few months i google Gil Ofarim and look at international news articles and have watched it evolve through the stages of:

- investigators question authenticity of story after reviewing video evidence

- prosecutor say it couldn’t be true

- Gil doubles down on claims

- Gil is being held criminally liable for false claims

Its amazing that something can be a top headline in our largest media outlets if it fits their culture war narratives, but never get any follow up.

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Guilty until proven innocent, or any other arbitrary and unfair standard, is perfectly fine to apply in your own private life. You can exclude anybody from your home and social life for any reason you like.

Extending that standard to public life is a form of childish narcissism. Innocent until proven guilty is not only a bedrock of a just legal system, it is the best way to approach public life. A community where everybody is guilty and subject to ostracism based on accusation unless conclusively proven otherwise is inherently authoritarian and rather Kafkaesque. (We used to make all kinds of art about how bad this was).

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I find your conclusion quite haunting.

Reporters present a self-congratulatory image of themselves as dogged pursuers of truth, following the story wherever it leads them, powers that be be damned.

This incident shows that is not the case. I know it's a sensitive topic, but as you indicate the relevant facts and information have been available for a long time. Yet, nobody was willing to pursue or investigate them, because why bother exposing yourself to a shitstorm and taking a reputational hit.

One answer is supposed to be that the truth matters; it's worth absorbing those hits because there's supposedly some value in reporting stories accurately first.

You were along the first to point out that the NBA media's obsession with scoops was meaningless. I found that observation correct and welcome; there's no basis to congratulate yourself on your journalistic chops when you're fed a press release to publish, of information everyone will have shortly anyway.

That there is little value in the old journalistic objective of reporting an accurate scoop not only in the meaningless sphere of Twitter "scoops", but in reported pieces and topics like this one, is actually quite disturbing - as a matter of public policy, and in how it undermines our trust in the media.

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You called it, well done, funny how all it took as you untethering yourself from the leviathan of any publication and going out on your own. Also double kudos to you for realizing that you probably would have sat on this story if you weren't untethered because of the reality of "cancel culture" that many people will point to you as an example that it doesn't exist.

A little surprised you didn't bring up the infamous Duke Lacrosse episode, however props to San Diego's prosecuting attorney's for actually following the evidence and not joining the mob as the Duke prosecuting attorney did in that case.

It's extremely sad when false accusations arise and instead of people getting upset that some of us don't "believe all women", instead we like to separate the guilty from the innocent instead of just getting a rope and stringing up the accused person... Odd in this time of mob rule that's controversial, but then when you actually look back in history it was always thus, most people are always going to be the mob, that's why they're the mob.

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Okay, so I think I figured it out -- the "why" part of this.

It's because true sports journalism is truly all but dead. It's basically why we're all subscribers here, right?

ESPN has given up all pretenses of caring about journalism -- whether it's "covering" the WWE or the Wojification of their NBA "news." They are in the entertainment business. Baxter Holmes' and Ramona Shelburne's reporting on Robert Sarver and DOnald Sterling would seem to stand in contrast to all of ESPN's other NBA coverage, but even in their case it served a larger purpose of strengthening the League, its brand, etc.

99.9% of Americans don't know who Matt Araiza is. What's that number for NFL fans? 95%? The people that cover the NFL are fundamentally in the entertainment business and so their ROI in reporting on any aspect of this -- including Araiza's exoneration or any deeper circumstances of the event, accusations, etc -- has to be negligible if not negative.

Kudos to Dan Wetzel for his reporting. It sucks that journalism in America as died to this extent.

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Ethan, thanks for following up this story. There are so many like it over the last few years that I'd honestly forgotten it happened (more of an NBA fan).

I do want to add that Araiza was simply caught up in criminal justice system and "cultural" mob justice that has existed for far too long for minority and poor Americans. I know a public defender who handles alleged rape cases from time to time and recent a defendant was held in prison for 18 months pending a trial that quickly revealed without doubt to judge and jury that he was simply a playboy who crossed paths with a woman willing to drop a rape allegation on him in retaliation. Specifically for Araiza and other athletes who can be targets, I'm not sure how we reconcile the fact that a small percentage of women do lie about this horrible crime while not taking a step back from the progress of #MeToo.

Not to oversimplify, but recognizing the socio-economic and racial gap with how society reports on (and we all learn about) the wrongs perpetrated on Araiza and the unnamed defendant referenced above is something with which we all need to wrestle. For example, there's outrage over banning assault rifles when a teen uses one to shoot up a middle class school, but no outrage over banning the hand guns that take innocent bystander lives in the inner cities. Both are terrible, but we never ban together to use the totality of these tragedies to force change.

As for the article, Araiza missed a season of NFL football and will likely be picked up. The other gentlemen was in prison for almost 2 years due to spite. There is a common problem that threads these 2 incidents, but how do we find common ground to correct the unfairness across the board?

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Good thing in England you can’t comment on legal cases once they’ve started until they’ve concluded, would save a lot of US based writers and editors headaches if that law was in place there

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Bravo, Ethan! You more than deserve all the ‘flowers’ for your bold and resolute reporting. A triumph to society value of independent journalism.

And I saw Nate Jones’ Tweet, which was well articulated. While I don’t like to swear on a public forum, I would like to add to his sentiment: *Fuck the haters*

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I had high expectations for this piece when I saw the title but I wasn't tracking the Eagles Punt situation/Super Bowl connection - you gold plated this piece!

This is a useful reminder of the practical effect of "Substack's view of Content Moderation" where they state: "We will resist public pressure to suppress voices that loud objectors deem unacceptable."

Araizas might also be lucky to be processed through the justice system now. The GenZ judicial system is going to be different. Much more closely aligned with whomever sent you that incredible tweet.

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Gotta call this guy out for his role in... being at a party in college? What a damn mess.

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May 10, 2023·edited May 10, 2023

Come on now Ethan, we cannot get a little thing likes facts or the truth get in the way of our moral crusade?

Men must pay for their crimes. Particularly the crimes of their great grandfathers and other more distant ancestors. Who cares if some lives get destroyed, they had it coming.

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I feel worse for all the other women who will end up getting sexually assaulted and all the "barstool/outkick dude bros" will forever say "bbbuttt, bbuttt, what about the Matt Araiza case??? Woman lie!!!"

It's like with Jussie Smollett... "one dude lied, therefore racism doesn't exist!"

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This is a very Matt Taibbi-esque story by you, Ethan! When you have these investigative journalism posts, you leave no stone unturned. Bravo!

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I just wonder if a lot of these journalists are upset and disappointed that they were wrong and that he didn't actually rape her. It's like would you rather the rape had taken place so you can be right?

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Look, the legal system may not have brought Araiza to justice, but twitter user @PatsFan4Life1889 tweeted that there are rumors of dozens, if not hundreds, of women Araize not only raped, but also murdered to keep them silent. While this horrific story may yet be short on evidence, we can't rule out that the evidence will eventually be revealed. So, I think you have to suspend him forever still.

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Reading this now because you linked to it in the Trevor Bauer story. Rather remarkable and depressing that Matt Araiza remains unemployed, as apparently every team in the NFL is so well set at his position as to have no need for a guy called Punt God in college.

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