. . . write the truth is a quality we don't often recognize for its importance to great writing. It is as, if not more important, than talent or style. John Steinbeck had it, writing ``The Grapes of Wrath'' under threat of death. John Reed had it, so did Maxim Gorki.
Great reporters have it, because in addition to finding the story, they have to write it as they see it. Sometimes, when a reporter finds more than what he was looking for, he has to question himself as to whether it is worth writing.
There may not be physical danger, but he'll have to decide if he wants to risk the dislike and unpopularity that often comes from telling the truth. The reporter who annouced the end of World War II (Ed Kennedy) a day before the Allies wanted him to was fired, ostracized and belittled by many of his peers, despite the fact he gave the world one extra day of peace and probably saved many lives, including people killing each other who didn't know the war was over.
Being a former sports writer, I've been disappointed recently that so few sportswriters have spoken up about the concussions in football – I should probably say professional football, but there is evidence that football damage to the head and brain is happening in five year old kids to grizzled professional veterans. You can see where the writers are coming from: they don't want to look like spoil sports, taking away people's fun at watching males (and an ocassional female) crash into each other head to head.
This morning, then, it was a pleasant surprise to see the San Francisco Chronicle's Scott Ostler do a brave column in reference to the just published book ``League in Denial'' and the accompanying documentary film (which the ``sports'' network ESPN dropped out of co-producing) being telecast this week on public television's ``Frontline.''
In short, Ostler makes the point ``denial'' is too weak a word when it comes to what the NFL has been up to, trying to discredit the scientfic evidence on brain damage, and in so doing ``setting back concussion reform for 20 years.''
He brings up one particularly scary finding. Neuroscientist Ann McKee, a football fan, studied the brains of 45 dead NFL players and discovered 44 of them had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which can lead to depression, dementia and in some cases suicide.
Causes Steve Hauk Supports
City of Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove, California; Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove; Animal Welfare Information and Assistance,...