FanDuel - WFBC

September 26, 2011

TMZ: John Lackey Divorcing Cancer-Stricken Wife: The gossip website TMZ is reporting that Boston Red Sox pitcher John Lackey is divorcing his wife, Krista, while she's fighting breast cancer. Divorce papers were filed Aug. 30 to end the three-year marriage, the site claims. The story is likely the reason Lackey was enraged by an unspecified text message he received from someone in the media before Sunday's game.

posted by rcade to baseball at 05:31 PM - 37 comments

In which we're again going to past judgment on a very private situation we know nothing about. And TMZ is bottom of the barrel scum.

posted by justgary at 06:03 PM on September 26

The text message plus the Erik Bedard thing seem way over the line; people are actively trying to time bad and embarrassing news to affect the outcome of a game. It's abhorrent behaviour, absolute scummy stuff, and any fan who actively does this should be taken behind the woodshed and beaten with a blunt object.

posted by dfleming at 06:17 PM on September 26

And TMZ is bottom of the barrel scum.

Seconded. Maybe the likes of Lindsay and Paris have finally run their course, so they now have to move on to (non-Yankee) athletes?

posted by tahoemoj at 06:23 PM on September 26

If TMZ cared about the timing, it would have held it until the playoffs. This could be a huge clubhouse distraction for the Sox right as they cling desperately to their wild-card berth.

But as for whether we can pass judgment, I have trouble imagining a circumstance in which someone can file for divorce from a spouse fighting cancer without being an enormous ass.

However, the ugly Steve Nash baby gossip does suggest the public often doesn't know squat about a personal situation.

posted by rcade at 06:28 PM on September 26

This could be a huge clubhouse distraction for the Sox right as they cling desperately to their wild-card berth.

Not nearly as bad as a lack of starting pitching.

I have trouble imagining a circumstance in which someone can file for divorce from a spouse fighting cancer without being an enormous ass.

Maybe the marriage was in trouble before the Cancer. If it's a bad marriage and she has support elsewhere a divorce might be a good thing. Maybe she's doing better and they've decided to part ways for other reasons.

Or maybe he's an ass that's abandoning his wife when she needs him most.

I have no idea. And I don't need nor deserve to know. I usually ignore celebrities / athletes when they claim their privacy is being violated. To me, it comes with the deal. But this is over the top.

posted by justgary at 06:46 PM on September 26

Whether we deserve to know something or not, Lackey's a pro athlete with lifetime earnings approaching $50 million. That brings some public attention to his personal life. His marriage was reported, his wife's breast cancer was reported and now their divorce filing is news too. I don't see the point of hand-wringing over it.

posted by rcade at 07:47 PM on September 26

I don't see the point of hand-wringing over it.

That's saying if you're successful at anything, nothing is off-limits...never mind the people who aren't the athlete and didn't choose to be in the spotlight, like his wife or his children.

posted by dfleming at 09:47 PM on September 26

That's saying if you're successful at anything, nothing is off-limits ...

Hardly. A divorce is a public court proceeding. Reporting that filing is ordinary journalism, not exceptional prying.

posted by rcade at 10:10 PM on September 26

Reporting that filing is ordinary journalism, not exceptional prying

I'll agree with that, nothing other than saying that they were divorcing was announced, so no big deal.

Sending him a text 30 minutes before game time, low class.

posted by dviking at 01:02 AM on September 27

The way Lackey has pitched this year, it would be ridiculous to blame any pitching issues on a text message. The fact he had one of his best outings that same day makes me wonder if he and the entire team need to find some ways to get themselves fired up before their remaining games. They stink.

posted by dyams at 05:45 AM on September 27

He'll still be one behind Newt Gingrich on the career leaderboards if this is all accurate.

posted by yerfatma at 08:25 AM on September 27

Reporting that filing is ordinary journalism, not exceptional prying.

Reporting that Lackey is divorcing his cancer-stricken wife is absolutely not ordinary journalism; it's begging people to consider him the bad guy without knowing any of the particulars of the marriage.

The way Lackey has pitched this year, it would be ridiculous to blame any pitching issues on a text message.

I totally agree, but the process of trying to throw off a pitcher right before a game by digging into his personal life is unsportsmanlike regardless. I'm reminded of the David Wells/dead mother stuff that happened a few years ago as another example of how dirty people can be if ordinary people just accept it as part of the game.

posted by dfleming at 08:42 AM on September 27

Reporting that Lackey is divorcing his cancer-stricken wife is absolutely not ordinary journalism; it's begging people to consider him the bad guy without knowing any of the particulars of the marriage.

It is a fact that she has been fighting breast cancer. John Lackey revealed this to the media in February. It is a fact that they're filing for divorce. Reporting these two facts is simply the reality of the situation.

I totally agree, but the process of trying to throw off a pitcher right before a game by digging into his personal life is unsportsmanlike regardless.

Now you're the one making assumptions. We don't know what reporter contacted Lackey about the divorce news or why it happened when it did. Why would anyone bother trying to throw Lackey off his game, anyway? He's been terrible all season.

posted by rcade at 09:04 AM on September 27

It is a fact that she has been fighting breast cancer. John Lackey revealed this to the media in February.

Which makes it old news; she last had chemo in June, and there's no report on the status of her health in TMZ's report. They took the time to dig into her medical history, why not take the time to report how she's actually doing if it's relevant?

We don't know what reporter contacted Lackey about the divorce news or why it happened when it did.

No, but we do know that just days ago, Erik Bedard had a lawyer deliberately serve him right before a game for this purpose. That was digging into his personal life on purpose and a very definite fact.

It's very possible this is a coincidence, but considering the timing, I think it doesn't take a terribly curious mind to ask the question if they might be related.

posted by dfleming at 09:57 AM on September 27

They took the time to dig into her medical history, why not take the time to report how she's actually doing if it's relevant?

Good point. Perhaps a reporter should have contacted John Lackey for comment via text message.

posted by rcade at 10:11 AM on September 27

Perhaps a reporter should have contacted John Lackey for comment via text message.

No journalist, from an unknown number to his seemingly unpublic cell phone number, who is looking for actual information is going to text someone out of the blue; they go through the communications/PR/agents because that's where the response is going to come from anyway.

A journalist who's looking for an emotional response would certainly text about it, in the hopes of getting a juicy comment in return. Which I don't think invalidates my question about who it was or what their motives were when they sent it 30 minutes before game time.

posted by dfleming at 10:41 AM on September 27

I was a newspaper reporter for a decade. If you had someone's number and were writing about them you used it. Real reporters don't go through PR flacks when they can avoid it, because those people are in the business of blowing smoke up your ass.

posted by rcade at 11:20 AM on September 27

Did you text them from unknown numbers (or, if it's long enough ago, call them from anonymous payphones), or call them and identify yourself and your organization? One's a lot different than the other.

I know coming from a fairly local, public organization we're highly trained to give nothing to nobody until we can confirm who it is and what their story or interest is, and we have someone vet what it is we're going to say. That's almost impossible to do over text, and I wonder about the motives of someone who doesn't at least make a two minute phone call.

posted by dfleming at 11:30 AM on September 27

Actually, doing a little review, I'm apparently behind the times in how prevalent this is now a days. I guess I'm wrong on how ass-backwards it is and how it's becoming an essential tool to getting a story. I'm baffled why anyone would respond with it.

posted by dfleming at 11:41 AM on September 27

Did you text them from unknown numbers (or, if it's long enough ago, call them from anonymous payphones), or call them and identify yourself and your organization?

You identity yourself, of course. I don't know what you're talking about regarding unknown numbers and unidentified reporters. Presumably Lackey knows who contacted him.

I don't think he's a victim because someone in the media contacted him for comment regarding something he doesn't want to talk about. He's free to tell them to fuck off, but the reporter's doing the right thing by approaching him.

I know coming from a fairly local, public organization we're highly trained to give nothing to nobody until we can confirm who it is and what their story or interest is, and we have someone vet what it is we're going to say.

And journalists are trained to get around that whenever they can.

I've been called by the New York Times a few times (I'm kind of a big deal). The incoming number was reported as 111-111-1111.

posted by rcade at 11:45 AM on September 27

I don't know what you're talking about regarding unknown numbers and unidentified reporters.

I took Lackey's comment ("I got a text message on my cell phone from one of you, somebody in the media, talking about personal stuff.") as him being personally unaware of who it was at the time. Why would he hide the source if he knows who it is and thinks it's such an egregious offence?

the 111 thing I can understand; what I don't understand is texting for this purpose, I guess, although I'm wholly wrong about how effective it is, I guess.

posted by dfleming at 12:13 PM on September 27

It is a fact that she has been fighting breast cancer. John Lackey revealed this to the media in February. It is a fact that they're filing for divorce. Reporting these two facts is simply the reality of the situation.

I'm sure there are other facts about John Lackey's wife. (Not that I would have been able to learn them in this article or anything; one can only discern that her name is Krista, they married in November 2008, and they have a prenup.) Including the fact that she has cancer--which may or may not have anything to do with the divorce--in the headline is clearly an attempt to paint him as a dick. Now he may very well be a dick, but this is just trolling.

Isn't that why we have a rule around here about editorializing in FPP's?

posted by bender at 12:29 PM on September 27

The headline relates the story using the most salient facts. They're filing for divorce seven months after he told the media his wife had cancer. Do you think anybody would relate the news of Lackey's divorce to a friend without telling them his wife has cancer?

I became aware of Lackey's divorce filing because his media freakout made me curious about what reporter made him so angry.

I wasn't trying to editorialize. I pass stuff along because I think it's of interest, not because I'd like people to think the way I do.

posted by rcade at 12:52 PM on September 27

No one complained about the mention of Tiki Barber's leaving his pregnant wife when that was in a post. Perhaps it is okay so long as it doesn't target a member of the Red Sox?

posted by bperk at 01:08 PM on September 27

No one complained about the mention of Tiki Barber's leaving his pregnant wife when that was in a post. Perhaps it is okay so long as it doesn't target a member of the Red Sox?

Or perhaps that didn't happen when Tiki Barber was playing professional football and his team had a season on the line. Did it?

Because of the playoff situation, things are extremely touchy around the Red Sox these days. Stuff that might be shrugged off at another time is likely to cause an explosion now. I don't see any evidence of some kind of conspiracy to drag down the Red Sox, though.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:41 PM on September 27

Yahoo has a pretty good summation of the various factors involved. Essentially, if he was more liked and was performing well, this probably wouldn't have happened so publicly...although I'm not sure TMZ shows that kind of homer restraint.

posted by dfleming at 02:51 PM on September 27

I wasn't trying to editorialize. I pass stuff along because I think it's of interest, not because I'd like people to think the way I do.

For the record, I was not trying to accuse you of editorializing. You were reposting the article.

My beef is with the headline itself which, by including the cancer bit, has connected a detail of the story with the story itself in a potentially unfair way. To state it better than I have been able to so far, from dfleming's link, "It's a headline that we can't fully interpret without more information, but that really doesn't matter because it's a headline that Lackey can't possibly win no matter what the story really turns out to be."

This to me is a symptom of a very sensationalized way of reporting that is so common today that really irks me. Unquestionably, the only reason this story would catch anyone's attention is because "Cancer-Stricken" is in the headline. The story entitled "John Lackey Divorcing Wife" is still lying on the cutting room floor. To me, unless there is any more of a connection, the cutting room floor is where it belongs. (Just to clarify, I'm not saying that her cancer should not be mentioned in the story, but there is a HUGE difference between putting it in the headline and in the body text.)

My comment regarding FPP editorializing was just wishful thinking on my part that our rule might extend outside our walls.

posted by bender at 06:17 PM on September 27

I'm bummed we're linking to TMZ-driven melodramatic news now. I don't know jack about Lackey and clearly am not a member of the Red Sox Nation, but as a baseball fan in general, I just hate this sort of crap getting in the way of the game. The texting-before-the-game bit is absolutely deplorable and I think whoever did so should be held accountable -- it's no different than the reporters who stick a microphone in the face of a family member who lost a loved one less than an hour prior and demanding some sort of soundbite. Horrible, horrible journalism.

posted by evixir at 08:17 PM on September 27

I'm bummed we're linking to TMZ-driven melodramatic news now.

Well, there you have it. We used to have pretty good standards about sources (Yahoo News? uh-uh). Maybe we need to discuss that and get back to it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:03 PM on September 27

Well, there you have it. We used to have pretty good standards about sources (Yahoo News? uh-uh). Maybe we need to discuss that and get back to it.

We've been over this before. Post yourself if you want posts that better suit what you think a post should be. If you don't post anything, then you don't complain.

posted by bperk at 10:56 AM on September 28

If you don't post anything, then you don't complain.

If TMZ is already posted, I'm (assuming) the site doesn't take kindly to another link on the same topic being posted. So what are you to do?

posted by dfleming at 11:28 AM on September 28

Is this a hypothetical? Or did you actually have another story you were going to post?

posted by bperk at 11:34 AM on September 28

We've been over this before. Post yourself if you want posts that better suit what you think a post should be. If you don't post anything, then you don't complain.

Wow, bperk, you sure are stylin' those cranky pants! No, we haven't "been over this before". What we have been over before is standards about sources. It wasn't recent, so you may not remember it, but you were here for it. But SurfMerchants has always had editorial control and has never had an editorial so-called "policy" of "overwhelming noise with signal", which is what you're proposing (as if such a thing has ever worked in the history of the internet).

I'll be happy to take this to the locker room if you want to have a discussion there, but I wasn't the one who started the metadiscussion here, and I won't be reprimanded by you for making a perfectly reasonable observation.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:46 AM on September 28

TMZ was right about the Lackeys, as the Red Sox statement at the link shows. It's extremely unlikely for a pro media outlet, even one like TMZ, to say that court documents exist when they don't.

I would've preferred a better source, but TMZ is the only actual reporter working this story. Everyone else is just citing them.

As for the meta discussion ...

posted by rcade at 12:18 PM on September 28

Tim Keown: "I couldn't care less about Lackey's personal life, although it's hard to commit to the idea of him being a victim given the known circumstances, but I do have some advice for him: Turn off your phone. See? How hard was that? If you're going to get all worked up over a text message you got 30 minutes before game time, turn the damned thing off an hour before game time. Or ignore it."

posted by rcade at 01:05 PM on September 28

TMZ was right about the Lackeys, as the Red Sox statement at the link shows. It's extremely unlikely for a pro media outlet, even one like TMZ, to say that court documents exist when they don't.

I'm confused. No one doubted they were getting divorced, everyone knew she had cancer. That wasn't the point, which I'll make in the locker room.

posted by justgary at 06:19 PM on October 04

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