The rift between Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe and ESPN The Magazine continues – it’s a he-said, media-said scenario about what Bowe might or might not have said and what ESPN has or doesn’t have on tape.
In case you’re not aware, the trouble became public when Bowe was quoted as saying this last month:
You hear stories about groupies hanging out in hotel lobbies, but some of my teammates had it set up so there was a girl in every room. The older guys get on MySpace and Facebook a week before we go to a city; when a pretty one writes back, they arrange to fly her in three or four days in advance. They call it importing. Younger guys don’t have the money to do it. Anyway, these girls had the whole top floor. They know everything about us—first and last names, sisters and brothers, salary. This one girl was talking to me like she’d known me for years. “Hey, D-Bowe, how’s Grandma?” I’m like, “How do you know my grandma?” She knew that I talk about her every time I’m interviewed for a story. I told her I had a girlfriend, but she didn’t care. She was wearing my jersey, sitting in my lap, making it look like we knew each other. Then she took a picture and put it on Facebook. That almost got me in trouble.
So, that doesn’t sound good, especially if you’re a teammate of Bowe’s who has, I don’t know, a wife and family at home. I assume they let Bowe know their displeasure. Bowe then took the easy way out. He said he was misquoted. ESPN countered saying it had the tape of the conversation but that the organization wouldn’t release it in a public forum. It would let Bowe or anybody in the Chiefs organization listen, but that was it.
The story died for a few weeks, but this morning, Bowe gave an interview to 790 The Fan in Atlanta. Asked if his teammates gave him any grief for the “importing groupies” comment, and, as transcribed by sportsradiointerviews.com , he said, “No, because now they are finding out that it definitely wasn’t me. Definitely, but I took that like a man. People that really know the Dwayne Bowe that clowns but on a serious note won’t let anything out of the locker room that is not supposed to be out.”
That led to ESPN The Magazine editor Gary Belsky releasing this statement to sportsbybrooks.com :
“As we have said, we will happily allow Mr. Bowe the chance to listen to our recording of his interview, in the event he forgot that he made these comments. He has not asked to do so.
Despite his persistence in denying having made these comments–unfairly damaging the reputation of one of our best writers–we have consistently avoided releasing the audio from his interview to spare him and others further embarrassment, specifically because the on the recording he offers more lurid details than we published and because he named several teammates as having participated in the off-hours activity in question.
We do not know why Mr. Bowe persists in denying having made the comments, but out of respect for him, his teammates and the Chiefs we will maintain our position, which we think is the honorable choice. We believe The Magazines’ reputation for honesty and integrity speaks for itself.”
I’m not sure why Bowe continues to discuss this issue. It’s a no-win situation. If the tape isn’t released, people – the aforementioned wives and families – will wonder just what exactly goes on during road trips with the Chiefs. If the tape is released, people might found out Bowe said exactly what he said he hadn’t said. If the tape is forgotten (as much as it can be forgotten in this digital age), Bowe won’t continue to put himself – and his teammates – in this unenviable spotlight. Scenario No. 3 sounds like the best option.
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