News & Politics

Dropping the Ball

The Post broke the hottest story of the new year—about guns and gambling in the Washington Wizards locker room. Unfortunately, it was the New York Post. And Yahoo Sports. And

The way the news broke raises two questions: Can the Washington Post’s sportswriters play in the same league with the growing number of Web reporters? Have the paper’s recent staff cuts weakened its coverage?

In terms of its NBA reporting, the answer is that Wizards-beat writer Michael Lee is outgunned. Last season, Lee was covering the league, and his colleague Ivan Carter the Wizards. Carter quit for a TV gig on Comcast, Lee switched to cover the team, and the Post was down to one reporter.

In the hours after other outlets broke the major details of the Gilbert Arenas gunplay, Post columnist Mike Wise read the reports while on vacation in St. Kitts. Back in Washington, he finally got the Post in the game with news that the NBA had suspended Arenas. His page-one January 7 story added new details about the incident.

The paper then flooded the zone with strong columns by Michael Wilbon and Sally Jenkins along with Lee’s beat reporting. But the damage was done.

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