Best of: Joey Gilbert Headline Draws Attention

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Monday August 31, 2009.

This is a Best of for several reasons. It’s kind of redundant, but this originally was the Post of the Month in February 2008. I eventually stopped doing posts of the month—because I posted less-frequently and because they were all about Terri Patraw. It was tough to beat her presence here for a while.

The other reason this qualifies is because it’s an example of how I believe all bloggers and anyone with an opinion should operate. I formed an opinion based on the facts that I had in front of me (and the facts that were publicly available at the time). When I was given additional information I reassessed that opinion and came to what I think is ultimately the right decision. I also did it all in the open, posted the documents, and did my best to make the correction more prominent than the original flawed thought.

February 2008: Joey Gilbert headline draws attention

This was not the first choice for Post of the Month. But it did get noticed this month, and that makes it the most important one I did.

First, I think a little background is in order. I wrote about Joey Gilbert on January 31, so it had little time to gain any sort of influence over the process. As is my (and the dogs’) discretion, it qualifies as a February post for these purposes.

I chose to write about Joey Gilbert because he is a local person who made a name for himself nationally and still lives locally. I am also fascinated with both steroids and the way celebrities and athletes fall on hard times. Often, the two go hand in hand. With Joey Gilbert, admittedly mostly a local celebrity, that was in fact the case.

Here is what I wrote in the post The Joey Gilbert Show: all drama, some meth:

It’s officially become ‘The Joey Gilbert Saga’. After testing positive for roids and meth, and having that positive confirmed, Joey appears to be going the all-too-familiar route of slamming everything but the fact that he was doping. Scorched Earth. So he decides that the people overseeing him shouldn’t be doing so (because, obviously, that’s why he tested positive), he now has the support of his own father who says this is simply a personal attack by his detractors. Considering there have been no less than 15 articles in Joey’s hometown paper, that has rarely had a problem helping promote his garbage fights, talking about his confirmed positive test for roids and meth, since the confirmed positive test, I can’t believe they’d try to sell us this crap. Just ban his ass for life so we can move on. (RGJ x 15)

I was called out on February 5 by Tim Donahoe, who left a comment about the case Gilbert brought before the Nevada Athletic Commission to have executive director Keith Kizer removed from deciding Gilbert’s fate on his positive drug tests. Donahoe posted a link to the motion filed in the case, which I read. That led me to the examples referenced in the motion. Both documents are essential reading for anyone interested in the case.

The research that went into the aftermath of that post make it an important one in the history of this site, even if it was not the biggest of the past month. The research also laid out several very important facts in Gilbert’s case—that Gilbert’s second test did not confirm his meth use, despite statements in the press that they did confirm them, and the Commission’s executive director, while offering what I find to be a refreshing openness to speak on matters of public record, should not have been saying those things in the media.

The early part of the month was filled with a lot of reading for me regarding this case. It was also an important moment in the way I will think in the future. I can’t figure out why it was consistently reported that the second sample showed a positive result for meth when it did not show a positive result. I based a lot of what I said (and admittedly, the post was part of the Reactionary Hurl, which is generally a tongue in cheek reaction to news stories) on the reporting of the positive results. Anyone with journalism training should have been much more skeptical than I was about the case. Because of that, I will change the way I approach subjects in the future.

It is also very important to note that Joey Gilbert never contacted me directly, although I would have loved the opportunity to speak with him. The evidence at the time led me to believe that there was a coordinated effort to approach any information out there on Gilbert in an attempt to spin the story in his favor, and I still believe that. However, when the truth appears to be on your side—at least in a part of the case—the best way to combat negativity is to shine light on the truth. Had Gilbert attempted to bully me with threats, I would have been far less likely to look into his situation. Granted, this development does not mean he is innocent of all charges. He still has to contend with the Nevada rules and his positive test for steroids. I essentially insinuated that Gilbert was a meth user, and I now don’t believe he is.

This was part of the Best of series that I am posting over the next few weeks. The original post is here.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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