USA Today got slammed on social media after publishing an “evil” article saying Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh should stay away from coaching girls’ basketball because of sexual assault allegations.
“The U.S. Senate may yet confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, but he should stay off basketball courts for now when kids are around,” reads the article by a staff sportswriter.
The report, which was presented as a news story rather than an opinion article, focused on Thursday’s dramatic testimony by Kavanaugh, who said the mere allegations ruined his reputation and that it could mean he will never be able to coach a girls' basketball team again.
“I love coaching more than anything I’ve ever done in my whole life,” Kavanaugh said in his opening statement. “But thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again.”
"I love coaching more than anything I’ve ever done in my whole life. But thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again."
Thousands of social media users slammed the article’s insinuation.
“This is a truly evil piece,” tweeted Charles Cooke, editor of the conservative National Review magazine.
“Irresponsible, inflammatory, foolhardy, opprobrious and thoughtless article serving no purpose than to further add contempt to someone's name who has not been proven guilty of any crime,” wrote a Twitter user, joining the choir of more than 7,000 overwhelmingly negative comments on social media.
Michael Brown, a former undersecretary of Homeland Security, said the outlet uses allegations from more than 30 years ago, “in essence to call someone a pedophile.”
“Let me get this straight @USATODAY... you believe uncorroborated allegations from 30+ years ago allow in essence to call someone a pedophile? Kavanaugh claims the media will continue to attack him and you just proved his point. Despicable,” he wrote.
The USA Today story went on to proclaim that “the nation is newly vigilant on who coaches and trains its children given recent scandals in gymnastics and other sports,” but notes that Kavanaugh is free to continue coaching in the Catholic Youth Organization and his daughters’ private school in Washington because he passed all background checks.
Edward McFadden, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington, told the outlet that “adult volunteers with extensive contact with children” undergo extensive background checks. A coach would have to be convicted before he gets banned from coaching children.
But despite that, the report ends with the call that “credibly accused sex offenders should not coach youth basketball, girls or boys, without deeper investigation.”