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An open letter to the Stanford Daily sports department

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DECEMBER 13, 2018

To Mr. Pragada and his staff:

I recently stumbled upon the recap you wrote regarding the Dec. 1 Ink Bowl flag football game between The Daily Californian and the Stanford Daily, and I must say, I am impressed. You somewhat successfully managed to convince your reader that the game was a hard-fought, well-contested battle in which Stanford went toe-to-toe with Cal from start to finish.

While I admire your efforts to paint a picture favorable to you and your team, I must address just a few grievances I have with the piece.

My first complaint regards some misinformation displayed at the very top of the article. Below the image portraying a Cal defender and a Stanford receiver pursuing an airborne pass reads the caption, “Freshman sports writer Shan Reddy (above) breaks up a pass intended for a Cal wide receiver. Great secondary play for the Cardinal kept The Stanford Daily competitive in the game.”

Now, now, now, Mr. Pragada. You, me and everyone else who watched the game know that this is simply not true. In that picture, it was not Mr. Reddy who deflected the pass away from the Cal receiver. On the contrary, it was our strong safety who swatted the underthrown pass away from the clutches of your wideout on fourth down to give the ball back to our offense.

As journalists, our mission — now, more than ever — is to represent events truthfully and to encourage a well-informed citizenry. I am not mad at you, Mr. Pragada. But I ask that you do better than this, for us and for journalists everywhere.

The next issue I have with your recap is the sheer number of times you reference yourself throughout the piece. After conducting a quick “Command+F” search, I found that the word “Pragada” appeared a whopping 11 times throughout the body of the article. And it seems that this trend has become contagious, as I have already written your name a total of four times myself.

Moving on: In the sixth paragraph of your article, you explain that your quarterback took snaps under the Friday night lights for his high school’s varsity football team. Now, I’m no expert, but based on his Ink Bowl performance, I find it very hard to believe that man had ever even thrown a pigskin before he took the gridiron that rainy morning.

The penultimate paragraph of your piece features the following quote: “Without Cal, there is no Stanford, and without Stanford, there is no Cal.” As you and I both know, this brilliant line was recited by our quarterback in a postgame huddle shared between Cal and Stanford players alike. I think it’s wonderful that you enjoyed the quote, and it brought a smile to my face to see it in writing. What doesn’t excite me, however, is that you failed to accredit the line to our player, but rather chose to claim it as your own. Thankfully, all reading this have now been informed of the truth.

My final complaint is rather silly, but I thought it was worth bringing to your attention. In your preview article of the 2018 Ink Bowl, you boasted of Stanford’s victory in the boat race one year prior. In the recap, however, you failed to mention that Cal also took the win in that department this year. I’m sure this was simply a mistake, as I know you wouldn’t purposely omit the results of what you called “the most important contest of all.” Thankfully, I have your back, and it has been my pleasure to provide this information on your behalf.

I thank you and your staff for an enjoyable time throughout the entire Ink Bowl experience, Mr. Pragada. I know my colleagues here at the Daily Cal are looking forward to next year’s contest, as we will be fighting to defend our titles in both the football game and the boat race. Until then, we’ll be wishing all at the Stanford Daily a joyous holiday season and a happy new year.

Yours truly,

The 2016, 2017 and 2018 Ink Bowl champions

Joey Patton covers men’s swimming and diving. Contact him at [email protected].

DECEMBER 14, 2018

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