The “Covington Catholic HS student vs. Native American activist” viral video saga has entered its farcical phase, judging by a ridiculous, if not slanderous report from the New York Daily News, headlined online “SEE IT: Covington Catholic High students in blackface at past basketball game.” The story is attributed to the Daily News Sports Staff (names withheld to protect the ignorant?) and was posted Monday at 1:45 p.m. Eastern.
The story led off with the name of the now-famous student in the MAGA hat, who has been smeared out of context as a racist, along with his classmates, for his face-to-face with an older Native American activist at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., while the students were in town for the March for Life:
This won’t help Kentucky student Nick Sandmann’s case.
A photo said to be featuring Covington Catholic High School students clad in blackface during a 2015 basketball game made the rounds on Twitter Monday morning amid last week’s Indigenous Peoples March controversy.
The photo depicts several white students, some in blackface, shouting at an opposing black player.
While the photo’s origins couldn't be verified, the official Covington Catholic High School YouTube account published a video last January boasting its basketball school spirit, and several clips, including one from 2012, showcase attendees chanting in black face, a mockery of the opposing players.
Only one problem, as someone who has the slightest knowledge of sporting events would suspect: It was a “blackout” game, in which fans of the home team are encouraged to wear one color -- in this case, black -- to show unity and to intimidate the opposing team.
Daily News rival the New York Post reported Monday that the video is evidently from 2011, not 2015, as the Daily News reported, making virtually certain there was no overlap in the four-year high school student body, and thus nothing to hurt Nick Sandmann's case in the first place:
At one point during the video, a graphic flashes across the screen saying “Blackout 2011” -- which users have pointed to as proof of the students’ innocent intentions. There are multiple clips of the “Covington Crazies” donning black, and sometimes blue, face and body paint during various sporting events.
It’s not the first time inquisitive journalists has shown painful public ignorance about basic sporting stuff while lunging for an anti-Trump “gotcha!” moment. During the feverish final stretch of the 2016 election, Mediaite senior reporter Josh Feldman ran an article about what he saw as a threatening sign hung over the fence during a World Series game: “Wait, What’s That KKK Sign Doing at the World Series?”
K of course is the baseball symbol for a strikeout. At that point of the game, there had been three strikeouts by the pitcher.
It’s acceptable, if puzzling, for a journalist writing about sports not to know about the fan custom of recording strikeouts in that fashion, or to be unaware of “blackout” or “whiteout” games, though neither of those customs are novel or obscure. But for that journalist not to even perform a 10-second internet search, or ask the sports desk, before assuming the worst case that conveniently fits a paranoid liberal narrative?