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John Wall on Eric Prisbell's story

Eric Prisbell's recent story about John Wall's childhood and his relationship to his father earned a lot of national attention. Mostly, the attention was about Prisbell's incredible reporting, but there were also a few headlines asking whether he did the right thing by disclosing to Wall the details of his father's incarceration. (See here and here.)

Journalists, I think, pretty uniformly said that Prisbell handled things correctly, and I clearly agree. If you're writing about Wall's relationship to his father, you have to explain why his father was in prison to your readers. And if you're writing that in the paper, you owe it to Wall to tell him first, in person.

Anyhow, Wall was finally asked about the story on Friday, and I think his answers were worth repeating.

"Everybody said it was a great article, and I think it was, too," Wall said. "He did a great story. I wanted people to see how I really grew up and what I had to go through, and I think that's the main thing. They should do a story on a lot of kids like that, or people coming up, because most people just go by what they did in their future, [not] in their past. So I had a great time just telling my story, and letting people really know what I went through, and they felt kind of emotional and sad for me."

He was then asked about his reaction to some of the more surprising parts of the story, code words for the stuff about his father.

"You can't really be upset or mad," Wall said. "I really didn't think of it too much. They've got to do their job, they've got to ask questions. You can say no in a mean way, or a nice way. It was a story, so I felt like people should know what it was. I wasn't too upset about it, but it seemed like a lot of fans or other people was kind of upset, but it was all right with me."

And then he was asked whether he was surprised by what Prisbell told him.

"Oh yeah, I was surprised," Wall said. "I didn't know anything. Nine years old, you really don't know too much. And I never asked my mom about it, I just let it go by, and she never told me to this day. And hearing from somebody that's not my mom, that's kind of tough to get it from. But like I said, it's a story, some guys are gonna ask certain questions and want to know what's going on."

I think it's pretty obvious that if Wall can maintain that attitude toward the media during what's sure to be a pretty crazy 12 months, it will serve him well.

(Credit to Truth About It's Adam McGinnis for raising these questions.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 28, 2010; 9:46 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Wizards  
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Comments

People who get offended on behalf of others who are not offended are really some of the biggest morons alive. All those Kentucky fans who have been attacking Prisbell for the last week need to get a clue. You're offended on behalf of John Wall...but he's not offended. Shouldn't that tell you something?

And it's not as if the revelations about his father were never going to be made public by the press. If Prisbell hadn't uncovered it, another reporter 100% would have. You cannot be the number 1 pick in the NBA draft and keep publicly available information like that about his father secret forever. And if Prisbell hadn't broken the news to him alone and in person, he very likely might have found out by reading it in a paper or seeing it on tv one day. And the idiotic Kentucky fans think that's better?

Posted by: Barno1 | June 28, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Journalist are uniform? Journalist? Be a nice subject of the media is best for 12 months? It won't matter kid you will not be treated, but the way they wish to treat you.

Posted by: CTaylor42 | June 28, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

This kid has maturity at 19 that Iverson isn't going to have when he's 57. He's going to be a great pick.

Posted by: TheophilusS | June 28, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I think his response was pretty mature. It's refreshing actually. I wish the kid well.

Posted by: kahlua87 | June 28, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

This kid has maturity at 19 that Iverson isn't going to have when he's 57. He's going to be a great pick.

Posted by: TheophilusS | June 28, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse
__________________

Why compare him to Allen Iverson? The comparison has nothing to do with the story nor John Wall's maturity level.

some people I tell you...

Posted by: cbmuzik | June 28, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

great response from JW. he's got maturity beyond his years. i was a little ticked that Prissy sandbagged him, but JW's response is, and should be good enough for me and all of the critics. Funny how folks tried to "DEZ BRYANT'S MOM" the whole thing tho.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 28, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"Journalists, I think, pretty uniformly said that Prisbell handled things correctly, and I clearly agree."

On the whole, a very good article EXCEPT for one thing. "Journalists" by and large treat each other with kid gloves. Their closet skeletons are briefly mentioned; but when one passes on, their obits are celebrated as significant societal events of course by other "journalists".

Posted by: renostaging2005 | June 28, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Start with the fact that the dad's arrest is public record -- there is no problem with the writed finding out that info.

Technically, the right thing to do from there -- as a person -- is ask John Wall if he wants that info put in the paper.

Journalists would never do that -- citing public interest -- which is part true part cop out.

So, from there it's all how the writer broke it to Wall.

Did he just blurt it out for a reaction?

Did he give him the option of waiting til the paper came out or not talking about it?

Did he say "this may be private to you, but it's public record and I have to include this in my story"

Only the writer knows if he was a d-bag about it or not......

Posted by: CF11555 | June 28, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

This kid has maturity at 19 that Iverson isn't going to have when he's 57. He's going to be a great pick.

Posted by: TheophilusS | June 28, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't get the attack on Iverson either. Iverson may be a lot of things, but immature is not one of them. He is a man for raising all of his children in wedlock, when sadly 7 out of 10 of African American children grow up without fathers. Iverson is a man, at least in my book.

Posted by: Barno1 | June 28, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

If this was true of a Tom Boswell, Michael Wilbon, or Tony Kornheiser relative, would it have been written about ?

Posted by: renostaging2005 | June 28, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

a lot in this 'public record country' isn't spoken to or about; but since someone was going to 'dig' this info and 'spit' it out (oh how we really needed to know; i guess there was no good way to do it as that article proved. And I hope JW plays with the heart Iverson displayed coming out of GT and beyond, if so DC will have a gem.

Posted by: aypub | June 28, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Wait, Prisbell did some real reporting

Posted by: heathdog1119 | June 28, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

What is this negative reaction that Dan's talking about? I saw the piece, found it interesting, was impressed by Wall. I didn't really see any negative reaction. (And believe me, there is plenty of negativity around these blogs, the WaPo, the Wiz, etc.) Where is all this coming from?

Secondly, raising Iverson (above) may have been a non sequitor but he's got a point. Iverson acted like a child the past 12 months as he bounced around from Detroit to Memphis to Philly. I mean, in my history of being a sports fan, I have no memory of anyone being a bigger baby about starting. Obviously they all want to start; Iverson is the only one who whined and cried hard about it such that he was dropped three times in just a few months. In fact, I've been a big AI fan since he was first recruited by G'town and always give him the benefit of the doubt, but his behavior this year really disappointed me. (Written by someone who still totally supports Gil).

Posted by: Urnesto | June 28, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone will concede that journalists are the moral authorities for all things, so most of us could care less if something passes their code of conduct.

Personally I felt the way Prisbell handled was ok, but he could've done more. IMO he just wanted to be first on this story and release it right where it would draw the most attention, just before the draft. If it were me, knowing Wall didn't know about his dad, I would've went to his mother and explained to her what I discovered and that eventually it would come out and the best thing to do is to tell him and I could tie the story into a positive piece not to minimize harm to Johns well being or repution.

The mother may not have wanted to tell her son because maybe he was too young and it may cause him to follow in his fathers footsteps. At some point he demonstrated exceptional talent and maybe she was afraid telling him would screw it up and she felt she was protecting him. Whatever the case the mom should've have been given the oppurtunity to tell him before prisbell.

John Wall has handled it well but I think he will reflect on that moment the rest of his life. If you ask him 10 years from now how he feels he'll probably say he had no ill will towards Prisbell but he'd of handeled the situation differently if he were in his shoes.

Posted by: Eman8 | June 28, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone will concede that journalists are the moral authorities for all things, so most of us could care less if something passes their code of conduct.

Personally I felt the way Prisbell handled was ok, but he could've done more. IMO he just wanted to be first on this story and release it right where it would draw the most attention, just before the draft. If it were me, knowing Wall didn't know about his dad, I would've went to his mother and explained to her what I discovered and that eventually it would come out and the best thing to do is to tell him and I could tie the story into a positive piece not to minimize harm to Johns well being or repution.

The mother may not have wanted to tell her son because maybe he was too young and it may cause him to follow in his fathers footsteps. At some point he demonstrated exceptional talent and maybe she was afraid telling him would screw it up and she felt she was protecting him. Whatever the case the mom should've have been given the oppurtunity to tell him before prisbell.

John Wall has handled it well but I think he will reflect on that moment the rest of his life. If you ask him 10 years from now how he feels he'll probably say he had no ill will towards Prisbell but he'd of handeled the situation differently if he were in his shoes.

Posted by: Eman8 | June 28, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone will concede that journalists are the moral authorities for all things, so most of us could care less if something passes their code of conduct.

Personally I felt the way Prisbell handled was ok, but he could've done more. IMO he just wanted to be first on this story and release it right where it would draw the most attention, just before the draft. If it were me, knowing Wall didn't know about his dad, I would've went to his mother and explained to her what I discovered and that eventually it would come out and the best thing to do is to tell him and I could tie the story into a positive piece not to minimize harm to Johns well being or repution.

The mother may not have wanted to tell her son because maybe he was too young and it may cause him to follow in his fathers footsteps. At some point he demonstrated exceptional talent and maybe she was afraid telling him would screw it up and she felt she was protecting him. Whatever the case the mom should've have been given the oppurtunity to tell him before prisbell.

John Wall has handled it well but I think he will reflect on that moment the rest of his life. If you ask him 10 years from now how he feels he'll probably say he had no ill will towards Prisbell but he'd of handeled the situation differently if he were in his shoes.

Posted by: Eman8 | June 28, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone will concede that journalists are the moral authorities for all things, so most of us could care less if something passes their code of conduct.

Personally I felt the way Prisbell handled was ok, but he could've done more. IMO he just wanted to be first on this story and release it right where it would draw the most attention, just before the draft. If it were me, knowing Wall didn't know about his dad, I would've went to his mother and explained to her what I discovered and that eventually it would come out and the best thing to do is to tell him and I could tie the story into a positive piece not to minimize harm to Johns well being or repution.

The mother may not have wanted to tell her son because maybe he was too young and it may cause him to follow in his fathers footsteps. At some point he demonstrated exceptional talent and maybe she was afraid telling him would screw it up and she felt she was protecting him. Whatever the case the mom should've have been given the oppurtunity to tell him before prisbell.

John Wall has handled it well but I think he will reflect on that moment the rest of his life. If you ask him 10 years from now how he feels he'll probably say he had no ill will towards Prisbell but he'd of handeled the situation differently if he were in his shoes.

Posted by: Eman8 | June 28, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

What does his father that passed away about 10 years ago have to do with how Wall will run the team and adjust to the NBA game? Why be so nosey and pry into Wall's private life? Wall is a great basketball player and all non family members or friends need to mind their business an appreciate his basketball skills.

Posted by: Theone9 | June 28, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

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