Monday, May 20, 2024

SB Nation Writer Apologizes for Insensitive Daniel Holtzclaw Article

Daniel Holtzclaw*Last week, sports site SB Nation published a 12,000-word, highly sympathetic profile of disgraced, former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, a serial rapist who was sentenced to 263 years in prison last month for raping 8 African American women.

Jeff Arnold, the man responsible for penning the insensitive piece, attempted to explore Holtzclaw’s backstory as a promising football player in hopes that it would answer why he turned out to be a monster.

The piece was met with harsh criticism and several hours after it was posted, the article was removed and replaced with an apology note from the website’s editorial director.

“The publication of this story represents a complete breakdown of a part of the editorial process at SB Nation,” Spencer Hall wrote. “… In light of that failure, we’ve taken the story down.”

According to Hall’s note, the article was an attempt look at 29-year-old Holtzclaw’s career playing college football, but the piece turned out “tone-deaf, insensitive to the victims of sexual assault and rape, and wrongheaded in approach and execution,” Hall wrote, adding: “There is no qualification: it was a complete failure,”

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“Who is Daniel Holtzclaw?,” freelance sports writer Jeff Arnold titled his controversial article. Arnold also covered Holtzclaw’s career at Eastern Michigan University, so he suggests that the convicted rapist “may have been innocent, or may have been driven to commit his crimes by brain injuries, a sexual disorder or disappointment that he was never drafted by a professional football team,” per Washington Post.

“If anything caused Holtzclaw to become unhinged, that may, in part, be what did,” Arnold wrote, referring to Holtzclaw’s failed vision of playing in the NFL.

Arnold has now come of out hiding to try to explain his approach to the piece.

“I have had a chance to reflect on the profile of convicted rapist Daniel Holtzclaw I worked on for two months in collaboration with the editors at SB Nation. Now that I have some distance on the piece, I see that it presented a lopsided account that failed to acknowledge the suffering of Mr. Holtzclaw’s victims. For that, I apologize,” he wrote.

While Arnold acknowledged he should have thoroughly detailed the victim’s horrific assaults, he insists Holtzclaw’s profile piece was just as important and necessary.

“I hoped to present a more fully-rounded portrait of Mr. Holtzclaw than had appeared in the press. I hoped to explore the question of what had happened to this once-promising young man. I and my editor at SB Nation hoped to find possible answers as to what could have led to him to become a convicted rapist and sexual predator. In the end, though, I produced a piece that had massive shortcomings.,” Arnold wrote.

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