Sometimes you are told something is newsworthy, when the reality is that such event or perceived hullabaloo couldn't be farther from the truth.
Enter this recent "controversy" involving Steelers head of security and Allegheny County sheriff lieutenant Jack Kearney.
ESPN.com published a lengthy "Outside The Lines" story on Thursday and followed with a television piece Sunday morning detailing the man.
In it, ESPN attempted to paint Kearney --- who since 2001 has been in both roles --- as something of a "cleaner" or "fixer" and a person apt to go to great lengths to circumnavigate the law to help Steelers.
What a sham.
What a shame, what a sham.
The ESPN reports focused largely on the stabbing of Steelers offensive lineman Mike Adams in 2013 and Kearney's involvement soon thereafter. Three men were eventually found not guilty of attacking Adams and Kearney was called into question --- by the reports --- for speaking to Adams in the hospital soon after he was stabbed and also moving the player's truck to the Steelers facility in the hours after.
Just as the three men were acquitted in Adams' stabbing, there has never been a shred of evidence that Jack Kearney did anything wrong in this incident or, for the most part, any other as he's held his double-role with the Steelers and Allegheny County.
Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen was stern and uncompromising in a Friday news conference called in response to the ESPN report. He called Kearney "a model employee" and said the accusations against him are "just not true."
Good for Sheriff Mullen.
Good for him stepping up and defending his guy so vehemently.
Good for Mullen for his unwavering defense of what I know to be a public servant who isn't just protecting Steelers as a side job, but in his everyday life is out there (in charge of the fugitive division) trying like hell to apprehend murderers, rapists and other general lowlifes running scared in the streets.
The world needs less "gotcha journalism" like the rubbish produced by ESPN in this instance and more people like Jack Kearney.
Also, from what I learned over the weekend, the Mike Adams situation isn't completely over. At least one of the men acquitted of stabbing Adams is in the process trying to capitalize on a civil suit against the Steeler (http://bit.ly/15HyVt5), wanting to either catch a settlement from Adams or drum up enough to get the case to go to court.
It has been a contentious battle.
Long story short, at least one of the men acquitted in the stabbing feels as if his reputation is now irreparably harmed, and that Kearney had a heavy part in it because he was there to guide Adams through things the day the Steeler was stabbed.
Now, I'm just going to connect some dots here, but what better way to strengthen your case --- or perhaps catch a settlement --- than to push a journalistic hit piece (or have someone do it for you) on a national platform like ESPN, painting a key figure (Kearney in this case) as a less-than-desirable?
Is that what happened? I can't speak definitively.
Could that very well have happened? Don't be so naïve and think it couldn't have.
What does common sense tell me, at least? ESPN trudged a couple reporters into town because they were tipped off by someone with a personal bone to pick with Kearney.
I'm not saying I'm right, but I'd bet my mortgage on it.
And that's what we seemingly have here in all this contrived clamor and commotion that really isn't any clamor or commotion --- ESPN doing something on Jack Kearney because someone out there doesn't like him.
Again, what rubbish.
My dealings with Kearney are limited, but when I dealt with him in his capacity as a sheriff lieutenant, he could not have been more helpful, professional or thorough.
He was, at least to me, the precise public servant we should all demand having on our side.
Long story short, back in 2009 a woman I hardly knew from high school --- as we were both far removed from high school --- was working in the courthouse. She allegedly was tinkering with a part of the database she shouldn't have, as you can see in this story outlined in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: (http://bit.ly/1utprXL)
In my infinite luck, of course my identity was one of those compromised. As the Sheriff's office took hold of the initial investigation, I was called on the phone by Kearney to make me aware that my name --- along with many others --- was in the middle of a pretty big, potential identity theft investigation.
Kearney walked me through the process, was ultra-polite and helped me (and others) facilitate how to make sure the situation was rectified. Kearney helped set up a meeting between me --- and many others --- with the District Attorney to detail the case, how it was going to be rectified and go over what safeguards we should be made aware of in the future.
As a citizen of Allegheny County, Jack Kearney was the exact person we needed at that time to help us through that situation.
And none of us were Steelers.
It's a real shame someone out there appears out to get Kearney --- and got ESPN to grab the steering wheel for them.
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