NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

SB Nation deletes 'wrongheaded' Daniel Holtzclaw story

On Wednesday morning, sports news website SB Nation posted a 12,000-word story about the football career of Daniel Holtzclaw, a former Oklahoma City police officer who was convicted last year of a series of rapes against black women.

Less than 24 hours later, that story was deleted and replaced by a note from editorial director Spencer Hall, who called the story "a complete failure," and said it "represents a complete breakdown of a part of the editorial process at SB Nation."

"There were objections by senior editorial staff that went unheeded," Hall said. "It was tone-deaf, insensitive to the victims of sexual assault and rape, and wrongheaded in approach and execution."

The story wasn't deleted, however, before it drew the ire of readers, many of whom said the story seemed to suggest that Holtzclaw was driven to commit the rapes after his dreams of playing professional football dried up. Several Twitter users pointed to a particular passage in which they said sportswriter Jeff Arnold seemed to be trying to portray Holtzclaw as a victim:

"For the first time in his life, he had failed and the goal he had long sought was no longer available," Arnold wrote. "For the first time, his strength and will had not been enough. Without an NFL dream to aspire to, perhaps he felt that his sacrifices had been for nothing. As a football player, he had believed he was in charge of his own destiny, now he was stripped of his power."

— Terri (@terri_to) February 18, 2016

Click here to read an archived version of the deleted SB Nation story.

For more on Holtzclaw's case and conviction, check out these stories:

Silas Allen

Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri. Read more ›