Friday CBS/WFAN ran a follow up article attempting to add context to the arrest of Islanders prospect Corey Trivino on allegations of three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, one count of assault to rape, and three counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime for felony, according to thebostonhockeyblog.com. The piece by B.D. Gallof may have slipped through the cracks in the wake of the news of former Islanders GM Mike Milbury's arrest, though it was linked in Yahoo Puck Daddy headlines and by other hockey blogs.
There are significant pieces of the article that need to be examined: The public outing of Trivino's mother's sexual orientation, the airing of his family business, his father's ethnicity and grip of the English language and the stretch for corroboration between any of those so-called "demons" on Trivino's struggles at Boston University ... especially when many describe -- on record -- the actions of the previously "calm, polite, mild-mannered" young man as "out of character" from what they knew of him prior to his joining BU.
Meanwhile, Trivino, mild-mannered and kind as described, also had his own personal demons. He had a broken home with an Argentinean father who at the time of the divorce barely spoke English. His mother was now living with another woman raising him.
What makes this home broken exactly? Is it the divorce, or the ethnicity and sexual orientation of the parents? Having an Argentinian father doesn't sound so bad...are they worse than other fathers? If his father was Argentinian, doesn't that make Trivino um Argentinian? Does Trivino not speak Spanish? Has he never throughout his lifetime communicated with his father? Was there abuse? Was there no love? Is there a problem with two women raising a child together? (More on that last question in a moment.)
What inference do you want readers to make here, CBS?
What is particularly galling in this case is that the traits of Trivino's family members are described as "personal demons." No mention of any abuse, financial or emotional instability or other parental failings, none.
Perhaps they weren't considered "personal demons" at all by Trivino...it certainly didn't seem like it in this Trivino interview from January 2008, as accessed at www.islesinfo.com [emphasis mine]:
NHL prospect loves Argentine soccer, playing net
10 minutes with Corey Trivino
by Jim Mason, yorkregion.com, January 25, 2008
Q: What about your family?
Trivino: My dad emigrated from Argentina in 1978. He wanted me to play soccer... When I was 13 or 14 I focused on hockey so I think I broke his heart, but overall he's proud of me. My mom and dad are divorced but he lives across the street from me... It's a really great environment (going back and forth)...they have a good relationship...
That's what we have from the kid himself as he embarked on his college career. But rather than continue the insinuations, CBS/WFAN chose to back out and follow the "broken home/divorce/Argentinian/mother lives with a woman" paragraph with:
Whether this had any effect on the young man might be arguable in the present day of political correctness. However, for scouts, it was something that did weigh in on their estimates for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Right. From "personal demons" to "arguable effect" ... but only for reasons of political correctness, right? Good. Now let's blame someone else.
CBS/WFAN carefully let an "unnamed source" connect those dirty non-PC dots together for them. How convenient to let an unnamed person do the "I'm not a racist, but..." drill:
Some felt he slipped out of the 1st round due to questions on character issues. Some felt he was emotionally unstable.
Per one former NHL scout: "I guess the lack of a father figure didn't help. I'm no right-winger by any means, but it can't be easy for an elite male athlete to be raised by lesbians. It's just not the ‘normal' way of doing things. And in my opinion the kid can't help but be emotionally imbalanced and thus perhaps turning to substance abuse."
Well, that's great Mr. Unnamed "scout" with your vast background experience in psychology, sociology and all things Corey Trivino. Now isn't that just how a former scout would feel about it?
What did Corey Trivino think about it? Oh, that's right, nobody ever dare ask him to his face...only slam him behind his back after he's in no position to complain about it and he's already stained enough by this real scandal, so now it is not only acceptable to write, it may sound believable.
The fact that CBS/WFAN would even allow a source like this to spout off his opinion, anonymously, of how "normal" Trivino's home life was or was not based on the sexual orientation of his parents without corroborating statements by people who actually knew of how Trivino felt about the situation is baffling. Nope, not a right winger...just an idiot.
Almost as troubling, I draw your attention to the last sentence of the quoted paragraph. Is it odd that a former NHL scout would actually speak this way? "And thus perhaps turning to substance abuse"? Makes you wonder if that's paraphrased? If it's paraphrased, what else is? What was the actual question that led to this response? Did the guy just start talking and boom, out comes that paragraph? Is this an email interview, and if so what were the other questions?
The seriousness and tenuousness of the connection between "lesbians" ---> "emotionally unstable ... turning to substance abuse" demands more than this.
Context matters, more so when an article allows an anonymous former scout to say what no one has or perhaps will put their name to. So what is the context here?
Allowing someone to anonymously trot out "raised by lesbians" isn't just offensive -- forget the "raised by wolves" parallel and imagine if it said instead "by black parents," "by gays" or even "by Argentinians" -- it's also, well, again, what exactly is the supposed impact here?
The "some" that feel like he fell out of the first round (not far mind you, he went 2nd round, 36th overall) may need only to look at the scouting reports on Trivino to find other reasons than the emotional instability elite athletes contract being reared by lesbians. To wit:
"He's pretty weak physically," another scout cautioned.
He needs to get stronger - he's willing to battle, but isn't always winning the puck.
...has all the tools to be a player, however his weight is a serious concern .. while it is not inconceivable for him to add some weight, some NHL teams might be scared off, as many prospects weigh more than his listed 160 pounds .. because of his slender frame, he does get pushed around in the slot but to his defense, he comes back, often eluding coverage much like Mike Bossy did in his NHL career...
The article just reeks of sensationalism under the facade of "inside report" when introducing "raised by lesbians" into the discussion. It might be more credible with information about Corey Trivino's response to his parent's divorce at all (e.g. he took it hard, he blamed his ___, he really didn't get to see ___ any more, his grades started to suffer, he began drinking more, etc.). Then one might think that we're genuinely getting into pertinent issues related to the divorce. But since there are multiple paragraphs on his mother's sexuality and little connecting Trivino's behavior to that event, it comes off like a stretch.
A former BU player, who did not want to be named, said of the family dynamic: "Yeah, I heard of that as well. It was something he pretty much kept to himself and perhaps some close friends. It's not like something you announce to the team or anything."
Absolutely...because it really wasn't anyone's business. Generally, most people will limit their most intimate details to their friends and family...not "a former BU player" (note ... was this former player a former BU teammate of Trivino's?). There are people you work with every day that you keep secrets from (whether they need to be secrets or not). Who wants to have to deal with the ignorance and scandalthirst that so many want to satiate at the expense of others?
Things like this get spread, ridiculed and scorned constantly...at some point, it's not embarrassing or shameful to the person. What becomes annoying and shameful and tired is having to deal with that level of intellect that whispers, under the protection of anonymity, "raised by lesbians."
Regardless of how the family situation affected Trivino, clearly there is an issue of living a bit too large in Boston post-2009.
Was Trivino unstable emotionally, leaving it bottled up until there was a bottle involved? Or was there an atmosphere of excess for someone away from home, an issue that impacts many who go to college and many who live the "college jock" life? An issue that has gotten others kicked off the BU team before Trivino?
Indeed, indeed ... if these "demons" of divorced parents (shock!), Argentinian father (horror!), and gay mother (outrage!) affected him at all, it appears to be an unknown. And a case of running with titillating supposition from an unnamed source. Could've just been a case of "college kid can't handle being away at school" or random criminal/tragic story. Thank goodness you've publicly outed his mother though; that should get them talking.
What happened here is a tragedy. The biggest tragedy is the victim and how she was and will be affected going forward should these allegations be proven true. This is not an attempt to distract from the seriousness of the allegations and pattern of behavior at hand. Corey Trivino deserves punishment commensurate to his level of guilt on all charges. He also deserves to get help if he truly has an alcohol problem. But he should have been identified and mandated much earlier than now since he was obviously drinking heavily while he was under age.
There are myriad failings across the board here from Trivino, the coaching staff, BU, his teammates, and others who turned a blind eye to the shenanigans. Likewise, alcohol abuse can stem from myriad factors. Those other failings are raised in the article. But to further pull Trivino's family apart and create a narrative that may not exist (in Trivino's world or any world), and has no context beyond unnamed former scout, reads as an attempt not for context, but for shock journalism.
Thanks to Dominik, Mike and Mark for help with research, editing, guidance and playing within the team concept!