As I mentioned last week, barring some sort of organized cover-up by both casinos, it seems clear McCosky fell for a bad tip. Except, here's the odd part: instead of posting a retraction, McCosky actually went on the offensive with another post on April 15, glossing over the fact that the thrust of his original report (that Iverson was banned) was wrong while adding that Iverson was seen "spitting at a dealer" and "even accused of cheating more than once." Under Michigan gaming laws, cheating at a casino is a felony offense.
Shocking that MGM and Greektown casinos would issue statements saying Allen Iverson isn't banned from their establishments - of course they will let him back in. Why wouldn't they want to take more of his money?These aren't light accusations -- spitting on someone is a disgusting act, and accusing a professional athlete of cheating in a casino could have serious repercussions with his livelihood. Clearly McCosky must feel extremely confident in his sources, no? Given the other details he gets wrong in his post, perhaps he shouldn't.
But don't let that news discredit the original story. Iverson created disturbances in both places and was booted from both. Detroit police were called to Greektown to break up a fight involving one of Iverson's body guards, a fight in which Iverson was apparently trying to act as an after-the-fact peacemaker. An NBA security team is looking into that and other casino-related issues involving Iverson.
I've been told countless stories, from eye witnesses, about Iverson throwing cards or chips at dealers after he losses (sic), even spitting at a dealer, being overly loud and profane at the tables, not following casino protocal (sic) -- he was even accused of cheating more than once.
For instance, there was in fact a recent incident involving one of his bodyguards, but not at Greektown Casino. Instead, it occurred at a nearby nightclub, and the man pressing charges (who required nine stitches after being hit in the face) admitted he didn't know if Iverson saw the incident or was even aware that it happened. All in all, Iverson was never accused of doing anything wrong, except, I suppose, keeping poor company.
A few days later, a different reporter for the Detroit News eventually "corrected" that piece of info, tacking onto the bottom of an article about the incident this "clarification":
Reports this week said the incident occurred at Greektown Casino-Hotel and that Iverson had been banned there, as well as the MGM Grand Detroit.Anyone who's been paying attention should be offended by the spin job. Dismissing vague "reports this week" is hardly a retraction, let alone an admission that the Detroit News was directly responsible for a gossipy story that had already gained traction among both independent bloggers and mainstream media outlets, not to mention the national talk radio circuit.
"(Iverson) is not nor was he banned from our property at any time, and the incident that was reported did not happen at Greektown Casino-Hotel," said Amanda M. Totaro, vice president of marketing for Greektown Casino-Hotel.
What's even more curious is the fact that the Detroit News has since removed both of McCosky's original blog posts describing Iverson's behavior, as if removing all stories referencing the allegations were enough to wash its hands of the matter. (Note: the first post can be viewed in its entirety here, and the Google cache for the second here.) Despite this story already being plastered everywhere, the News is essentially pretending it had nothing to do with it -- it's like screaming "fire" in a crowded movie theater before telling everybody the next day that you never left your house.
If McCosky no longer stands by the "countless stories" from "eyewitness accounts" (and the removal of his blog posts implicitly suggests he doesn't) the Detroit News needs to print a prominent retraction. To be honest, even that isn't justice -- the original reports spawned hundreds of additional stories, and a retraction would get a small fraction of the publicity -- but at least it would be a start.
There is no word on whether the paper plans on publishing a retraction, however, or even why they pulled their original blog posts; e-mails sent Friday to McCosky and two Detroit News editors seeking comment and explanation have gone unanswered.
Iverson may not have the most sterling reputation, but accusing a man of spitting on another person as well as reporting he's been accused of breaking the law is a serious allegation, especially for a soon-to-be free agent who needs to convince his next team that he's not a distraction and truly is just misunderstood.