Houston coach Tom Penders, appearing on Houston's 1560 The Game radio this morning, claims that ESPN has inflamed public opinion against his player by "doctoring" replays of the incident; adding a graphic that claims to show where Coleman was looking when his foot came down on Budinger's noggin. I scribbled this transcript of Penders' comments on the show:
"They doctoroed it up. They put that x-ray vision thing in, as if Aubrey was looking down, which painted a very poor picture of what actually happened. We have replays of the game taken at different angles, where we have the entire sequence ... Aubrey's eyes never do anything but look straight ahead and then up and toward the ceiling ... ESPN made it look like he was looking down. I think it was a total distortion.
I've worked there, and I've seen them do that kind of thing. I called a producer I know over there, and he's pretty high up, a guy named Norby Williamson; I called him three times. And he hasn't returned my calls. So you know something's not right. ... He was tried and convicted without a jury. Without a defense."
The charge that ESPN "doctored" the replay is silly, of course; that's the wrong word. For it to be doctored, Coleman would have to have been added to the scene via green screen, when in reality he was relaxing at home watching The Simpsons. What ESPN did was add a graphic. Whether that's valid, or shows anything of intent, I just can't tell.
What I do know is what I see of the raw video. And anyone who thinks that Coleman stepped on Budinger's face by accident is either a fool, or lying. Of course Penders goes on to say that he had a sports psychologist look at the replay, and he determined that it was an accident. Quote: "And this psychologist is a guy who has worked with the New York Yankees."
Oh, well that clears things up.
Tom Penders Accuses ESPN Of Dirty Tricks [Houston Chronicle]
Houston G Coleman Suspended For Stepping On Budinger's Face [The Sports Network]