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What's the Story?

If you pick up a newspaper or swing by the website of a national sports news source, there will be plenty of coverage of the Crosstown Shootout. Not all - or indeed probably not any - of it will be focused on the game (Xavier ran away with a 23-point win; I understand if you missed that). A lot of it will be telling you that Mick Cronin is some sort of genius for his statements in the post-game presser and that Tu and Cheek embarrassed the school with their comments at the same table. Don't buy into any of it.

You'll read that Holloway said that there are "gangsters" in Xavier's locker room. It's true he did say that. Perhaps understanding the difference in vernacular between himself and the predominantly middle-aged, predominantly Anglo-American audience to which he was speaking, he immediately clarified, "not thugs, but tough guys on the court." He also said, "toughness is not about fighting or anything like that, it's about staying in the game every possession and how we play defense." Anyone who saw the entire press conference before Xavier took it down from the website saw both Holloway and Lyons not "unapologetic" as they have been portrayed but as regretting the fight but not backing down from supporting their teammates or standing for themselves. The way they expressed themselves wasn't perfect, but it was far from the militant rabble-rousing that it has been portrayed as.

The problem is that saying that two student-athletes sat at a table and made measured but emphatic statements doesn't move copy. Tu and Cheek's statements, taken in their whole context, do not come across nearly as poorly as some of the national sources have portrayed them as. If you rip what they said out of context, it makes it sound like they're ready to roll back into the Cinci locker room to finish the fight. Taken in their context, they both said they were sorry there was a fight and that they didn't want that out of the Crosstown Shootout. The reporters who have taken the comments made by Holloway and Lyons out of context to move copy or bump hits to their site should be ashamed of themselves. To exploit those two young men - who Xavier made available when UC did not send any players out to talk to the press - by pulling their most emotionally charged words out of the context that mitigates them is shameful on their parts. Before you buy into what you've read out there, keep in mind that there's a lot more to the story than you're being told. The truth doesn't get nearly as much publicity as a sensational story; Tu and Cheek deserve more of the former and less of the latter.