I was livid Thursday night when the tweets questioning my integrity filtered onto the Internet.
I was a victim of Lions cover your ass theater after my story about the relationship of Louis Delmas and Tony Scheffler hit the Detroit News and became a national story. Delmas told me he used the word cracker when he talked to his friend Scheffler. He said Scheffler uses the N word toward Delmas in playful banter between friends.
Delmas was not joking. He was not pulling my leg. He was serious during a 20-minute conversation. And when I told Scheffler what Delmas said he never denied it. Instead we had a great conversation about prospective and about their relationship and why the two men use those words.
My anger came when Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson intimated that Delmas was joking. I called Nate up and basically told him don’t comment on a movie he did not see.
He said he was defending teammates and here is the key. Delmas did not tell him he was joking around with me. He told Burleson he and Scheffler joked around with each other. It was brotherly playful banter. No harm. No foul.
Burleson told me he felt bad about the tweets. He offered to come on the Valenti and Foster Show today after 2 pm. I know he will keep his word. My fear is that the Lions will step in and tell him not to do the show.
My fingers are crossed.
I did not make this story up. I did not get played. I have been in this business for 32 years. I know when an athlete is joking around. And when they do joke around they usually end after 30 seconds.
I also know this. If an athlete says something and I say something else the majority of fans will side with an athlete. You root for these guys to succeed because their success makes you happy. My success does not bring smiles to Detroit fans.
If I made this story up I would lose my job at The Detroit News. I might lose my job at 971 FM The Ticket. I have a wife. I have two kids. I have a mortgage and I have my name out there. Do you really think I would risk it and make up a story?
Do you think I would make up quotes? This is not a sources said story. Both men are on the record. I talked to Scheffler for 10 minutes off the record before I interviewed him. I wanted him to know exactly what I knew and exactly what I was writing.
And I went overboard to paint both men in a good light in the column. This column was not so much about them but it was a chance to test society on a sensitive subject.
We had a much publicized incident with Free Press columnist Mitch Albom where he wrote a column saying he saw former Michigan State players Mateen Cleaves and Jason Richardson at a MSU tournament game wearing green and white. The story was not true. He wrote his column before the game happened assuming the two would keep their word to him and attend the game.
They did not.
Mitch kept his job because he is more valuable to the Free Press than I am to the News. I was told if I did the same thing I would be fired. And I believe my editors.
I have gotten so much support from a lot of you and I appreciate it. But there are a number of you hoping and praying that I made this stuff up so you can dance on my grave.
Sorry guys. You won’t get your wish.
I got the tape.