Man's opinion is that - opinion


March 04, 2002|BY MARK KELLER

"How could you?"

I've been asked that question several times in the last three days.

"How could you have run that column?"

Dan Spears wrote a column that appeared in Thursday's Morning Herald which was critical of some comments made by members of the University of Maryland men's basketball team following its one-point win over Wake Forest last week.


I hadn't been seated at my desk more than five minutes Thursday morning when the phone calls started coming in. I actually read Dan's column while the first caller was giving me his opinion on it.

Now, being a lifelong resident of Maryland, I understood why the caller was upset. And I also knew that the phone was going to be ringing a lot.


What I did not understand was the argument I got more than once on Thursday.

"You're the editor. You shouldn't have let him write that. How could you have run that column?"

Well, I had to run that column because that is Dan Spears' opinion ... and every other Thursday, he has space reserved in The Morning Herald to state his opinions.

Will Dan's opinions always agree with those of our readers? Obviously in this case they did not ... and they are not supposed to.

Will Dan's opinions always agree with those of the editor? Probably not ... and they are not supposed to.

More importantly, it doesn't matter if I agree with Dan's opinions or the opinions of any of our other writers. If the column is well-written and makes valid points - whether I agree with those points or not - I will run it.

Suppose I don't agree with an argument a writer makes in a column about high school basketball. The points made in the column are clear and concise. I know that our readers would probably agree with the writer, but I don't share the same view. Therefore, the column doesn't run.

Am I or am I not doing our readers a disservice?

It's opinion, folks. Dan's entitled to one, I'm entitled to one and so are you ... but they're not always going to be the same. And that doesn't make any of them wrong.

You are also entitled to send us your opinions, by e-mail or by mail. Our mailing address is The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741. We give you our e-mail addresses at the end of our columns. We will be happy to run your letters, but you must sign them and state that you want them published as a letter to the editor. We also need a phone number so that we can verify the letter.

In this age of e-mail, many readers simply pound out an angry message that they have no desire to have in print. That's fine, too ... just try to keep the personal attacks to a minimum.

And it's OK if you disagree with us.

Since taking a hoard of phone calls Thursday night, Dan said, "If the whole world agreed with me, it'd be a pretty boring place."

However, in your disagreement, don't tell me I should get rid of someone because he wrote something that you don't like. Calling and discussing an issue is one thing. Becoming confrontational and downright rude is quite another.

All we ask is that you keep it clean and take it for what it is ...

One man's opinion.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. His column appears every Sunday. He can be reached at or 301-733-5131 ext. 2332.

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