Virgen: Crenshaw story provides lessons

Virgen's View

February 08, 2014|By Steve Virgen

How did we get here?

How did we get to the point when an announcement about where a high school student-athlete is going to college is newsworthy?

But, like it or not, we are here. Costa Mesa High senior Oronde Crenshaw could probably care less about what makes news.

However, it appears he doesn't want to speak to the media right now. Who could blame him?

A recent story in the Orange County Register embarrassed Crenshaw, unnecessarily so, his mother and one of his coaches contend.

Yet, I see both sides. Crenshaw has had some family problems, isn't necessarily media savvy and, of course, is only 17.

But the journalist in me knows the Register was only doing its job, delivering the facts, correcting a misstatement made by the teenager, mainly because of the point that we have reached.


Crenshaw, a star football player for Costa Mesa, told the newspaper that his scholarship offer to Arizona State had been revoked. But the Register reported that ASU said it never pursued the standout linebacker, who also produced as a running back.

Initially, we at the Daily Pilot broke the first story, which was that Crenshaw verbally committed to ASU, but was still open to going to a different college to play football.

We took Crenshaw at his word. In reality, the announcement was discovered from his Facebook page, when his post seemed more about just wanting to play there. He later said that he verbally committed to the Sun Devils.

It appears Crenshaw did not suffer a scholarship revoked. He actually didn't say what he meant, that ASU actually stopped being interested in him.

He made a mistake. Kids do. So do adults. And Crenshaw, at 17, is in between those two chapters in life.

This wasn't about a kid touting his announcement. It wasn't about a kid standing in front of a table of hats and picking one in front of hundred of friends and flashing cameras.

It makes sense to get the story right. Because as journalists we all strive for accuracy. But the Register's story, which was correcting the original piece saying that he committed to ASU, came off as too harsh to Crenshaw's family.

"My son went into a bad depression [after the Register story was published]," said Lilia Mora, Crenshaw's mother. "I was really concerned. It really [ticked] me off."

Mora contends that ASU showed interest in Crenshaw and that later she was told that ASU would look elsewhere to allow Crenshaw to seek other options.

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