Tom Anderson, director of NLPC’s Government Integrity Project, has raised questions about the recent Yahoo Sports exposé of the University of Miami football program. The explosive July 16 story by Charles Robinson has already led to suspensions by the NCAA of eight current Miami players.
Anderson does not argue that the players are innocent of NCAA rules violations, but cites evidence that current and former players may been targeted by Ponzi-schemer Nevin Shapiro (in photo) in order to direct blame away from other parties, including coaches. Anderson became involved in the issue due the overlap of this sports scandal with political corruption in south Florida.
Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock has highlighted some of Anderson’s criticisms of the original Yahoo/Robinson piece. For instance, one of Robinson sources is Shapiro’s ex-girlfriend who is unidentified because she is allegedly “afraid of reprisals from Miami football players.” Whitlock writes:
“Why didn’t Yahoo! ask if she’s afraid of Shapiro and that’s why she’s backing his story?” asked Tom Anderson, a Miami native who works for a conservative-leaning watchdog organization that polices government corruption. “The judge ordered him to get counseling for domestic violence for a reason.”
Anderson, who works for the National Legal and Policy Center, has been researching the players in the Miami scandal since the Yahoo! story broke. Anderson discovered the financial ties between Shapiro and former Miami assistant coach Joe Pannunzio. Anderson regularly works with major media outlets on political corruption stories. He did much of the research that got representative Charlie Rangel in trouble. Anderson thinks very little of Robinson’s reporting ethics in this instance.
“(Shapiro) is a convicted felon and a proven liar. Using a guy like that as your key witness, the standard, the bar, has to be set so high that anything less than documented solid proof has to be set aside,” Anderson said. “If I put in a complaint to a government agency that I’m relying on a convicted liar and the people corroborating his story are mostly anonymous, they would laugh in our face. If I was to take this to The New York Times or even the New York Post, they would laugh me out of the room. What he put in that story wouldn’t fly. No way. Not ever.”
Anderson was interviewed yesterday for over an hour on Whitlock’s national show on Fox Sports Radio. Click here for the podcast.