Below is the statement Mike Wise used to start his radio show on Tuesday. Figure I should include it here, although others from The Post will also be weighing in on the topic.
And for the record, I honestly believe Mike Wise does things for our newspaper's sports section that very few people in the country could do. For example, I'd remind you about the Donald Brashear, Gilbert Arenas and DeShawn Stevenson. Getting athletes to open up like that while also having the writing skills to do these stories justice is a pretty unique combination.
And he gets stuff like this all the time. Remember the quotes from The Post's story the day after Haynesworth lashed out, about how he was throwing up and dizzy when he got out of the hot tub and didn't just have a "headache?" Quotes Haynesworth gave to a single reporter in the parking lot long after the game? That was Wise, too. He has a knack for getting stuff like that, and I've witnessed it in person many, many times. Still, this was a big mistake, and he's obviously paying for it.
(In the process of attempting to point out that Wise has great value to our newspaper, I also said something stupid about another site, which I regret. Sorry to everyone. That was bad form.)
Here's Wise's statement:
Many of you tuned into the show yesterday and heard a bit in which I tried to showcase the absurdity of bad journalism. And I could give you 10 reasons why I did this and explain what went wrong in the execution, but none of it matters today.
I made a horrendous mistake, using my Twitter account, which identifies me as a Washington Post columnist, to come up with an unsourced sentence about the length of Ben Roethlisberger's suspension. I didn't put "kidding" in that sentence. I didn't put "Just joking."
I could even say I thought I corrected it within five minutes and didn't realize my Twitter server was busy 30-40 minutes later. But the truth is, if I waited one second to make my intentions and sourcing clear, I waited too long.
Integrity, being right before being first, is the only thing genuine journalists have left in this world. It pains me to say my own stupid, irresponsible experiment ironically has cost me a chunk of my own credibility today.
I'm sorry, especially to the good, smart people at the best place I've ever worked. Even those angry and livid, I know your heart is with the paper and its reputation. I will say you find out in times like these who cares about you beyond a blog post. I'll also say it would be wrong to judge the people calling for your head.
I always say our worst moments should not define us - I just didn't think I'd be talking about myself.
Bottom line, I am paying the price I should for careless, dumb behavior in the multi-platform media world. Sadly, I always believed that things said in stream of consciousness or typed on a whim for shtick on a radio-show would somehow disappear in the ether, fly away in cyberspace.
But everything I say and do on the air, on my Twitter, on TV or the Post, has ephemeral qualities. The radio studio, my computer, is a big echo-chamber - self contained and reviewable for scrutiny.
My bosses at The Post feel I need a month to think about the severity of my actions. I agree and will serve a one-month suspension beginning today.
I don't want any debate today over my actions and the punishment received. Please do that on your own. Just know that the most sacred thing in my business - the business of journalism not radio shtick - is getting readers to believe what you are telling them is the closest thing to the truth you could ascertain.
And I didn't do that yesterday. Again, I'm sorry.
And if it's okay with everyone out there, I'd really like to move on, reflect on this for a while and have a good show today.