Scott Marks 9:13 a.m., May 23
Tim Sullivan Tells His Side of the Story
Fired UT sports columnist Tim Sullivan has told his side of the story to a publication called The Sherman Report. First, and perhaps foremost, Sullivan mentions a column he wrote in 2006, in which he said current UT CEO John Lynch, then head of XX Sports Radio had "all the subtlety of a sledgehammer" in trying to get a Chargers stadium. Sullivan noted in that 2006 column that Lynch was threatening to spend "whatever it takes" to remove Mike Aguirre, then city attorney, and a roadblock to a Chargers subsidy. Sullivan tells Sherman Report that the paper has a responsibility to protect the public from a bad deal, while Lynch wants to "bulldoze the opposition." (Lynch, upon taking over his post at the UT, made that clear.)
When Lynch moved into his post, Sullivan went to editor Jeff Light, showed him the 2006 column, and told him that Lynch's statements about how any reporter covering the stadium matter should be in favor of it, and label an opponent as an obstructionist, hurt the paper's credibility. (In my own judgment, every intelligent person in town agreed with Sullivan on that observation.) Sullivan also told Sherman that Lynch was telling people that he (Sullivan) was not on board with the paper's new technological direction. Sullivan says that notion "is preposterous," and gives cogent reasons.
Recently, he sent a note to Light about the paper's future, but Light never responded. Last Wednesday, Sullivan was told to report to Light at 3 p.m. "By 3:02, I had been fired," he tells Sherman. Sullivan thinks his firing results from four factors: 1. Failure to endorse a new stadium without ruminating on good public policy; 2. His comparatively healthy salary; 3. Demographics: the two other sports columnists (Canepa and Acee) are white males, and Acee is marked as a star; 4. "The erroneous issue of whether I was 'on board.'"
Oh, yes. Sullivan says, " I do not believe I am a martyr for truth -- as Don Bauder has suggested on the San Diego Reader website -- but I do think I have been mistreated." There I disagree with Sullivan: I think his own statement to Sherman indicates that he was not only martyr to truth, but a martyr to intelligent civil discourse, and a martyr for opposing egregious oafishness. (Thanks to Matt Potter for sending along the Sherman item.)