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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Death is no joke, Mr. Doyel”

    Ryan Caseyassistant sports editor
    Ryan Casey
    assistant sports editor


    There are things in this world that can be made fun of. Other things need to be left alone.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the latter.

    On Wednesday, an article written by Gregg Doyel, CBS’s national college basketball writer, appeared online, and by all early indications, it was a run-of-the-mill, mailbag-type column.

    Now for those who read Doyel from time to time, he doesn’t always have the nicest things to say about the UA, which is fine because he’s entitled to his opinion, but Wednesday he simply crossed the line.

    One reader, Susan Duchesne, wrote in with an honest question.

    “”My husband and I are just puzzled and hoped you could help,”” Duchesne wrote. “”The Arizona men’s team has a dark circle with two white zeros in it on their front right shoulder. Do you know what it stands for?””

    The zeroes, as we are all too familiar with, are worn by all athletic teams at this university in memory of former women’s basketball player Shawntinice Polk, who died last September at the age of 22.

    Regardless of whether or not he knew the significance of the patches honoring “”Polkey,”” shame on him for his response: “”Those zeroes represent the number of senior leaders Arizona has. Or had.””

    Members of the women’s basketball team – and, for that matter, each Arizona athletic squad – have been trying to deal with Polk’s death as best they can. It affected the women on the team and coaching and support staffs the entire season.

    Why go there? Death is not a joke, Mr. Doyel. Far from it.

    Sure, make fun of the men’s team for their problems off the court. It’s no secret there were issues. But do not do it at the expense of a young woman taken off this Earth far before her time.

    Yesterday, the portion of the article referencing Arizona was removed, and Doyel himself apologized for his “”lapse in judgment and common sense”” on the message board of an Arizona fan site,, where he also said he will make a public apology in his next piece. In its message on Doyel’s article, CBS said that they “”regret the error.”” That’s not nearly enough.

    Now I pose you a question, Mr. Doyel: Do you know what it must have felt like for her teammates to look over at the bench and not see No. 00 sitting there, smiling, laughing, encouraging them every moment she could?

    Want to know what senior guard Natalie Jones did before she played on what was supposed to be her, senior forward Anna Chappell and Polk’s final home game together in McKale Center on Senior Day?

    “”During warm-ups, I went back to the locker room, and I sat right where Polkey would sit in her locker,”” Jones said after that game, “”and I was basically like talking to her.

    “”I told her that tonight was dedicated to her, and that I just wanted to make her proud no matter what because with either a win or a loss, I was going to play my heart out; I was going to play totally different than I’ve ever played in my last three years.

    “”I was going to leave it all on the court, because like (Arizona assistant) coach Todd (Holthaus) says, you gotta leave your heart out there, leave your tears, your sweat, everything that you’ve done to come up to this moment, you leave it on the court.””

    So Mr. Doyel, in addition to your promised forthcoming public apology, I hope the next phone call you make is to Polk’s family to offer a sincere apology. Then, I hope the next 14 after that go to each and every one of her teammates, begging their forgiveness.

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