I heard a news flash on ESPN Radio Tuesday that mentioned that a University of Nevada freshman pitcher was in the hospital in critical condition as a result of what the team’s coach called an “unfortunate incident within the program.”
Wednesday we were told that the pitcher – 18-year old Steve Masten – had died sometime Tuesday. When the original item was posted on ESPN’s web site early today (Wednesday), the baseball coach’s reference to “an unfortunate incident” was included in the story. For some reason this reference to the “unfortunate incident” was removed from the story as it appeared later on Wednesday, even though the headline in the link on ESPN’s home page still used the coach’s description of the cause of the injury and ultimate death of Masten.
What is “an unfortunate incident,” and why did ESPN remove the reference to this statement – used in both radio reports and in early web reports – as this story developed? Rather than provide more information, why have we been given less?
As a coach, the phrase “unfortunate incident within the program” conjures up all kinds of images that could mean nothing but major trouble for the Wolf Pack’s baseball team and the University as well. In light of the mess involving the Duke lacrosse team and the Baylor basketball team – where a team member was murdered by a teammate and the head coach tried to cover things up – imaginations can run wild trying to figure out just what this particular unfortunate incident entails.
The University has refused to discuss any of the details surrounding Masten’s death, and the Washoe County’s Sheriff’s Office hasn’t responded to media inquires either. All that we’ve been told is that the Masten family has requested privacy, and a spokesman for the University’s athletic director has asked the media not to ask any student athletes or coaches for comments on the incident.
The University’s A.D. spokesperson said, "We are not going to talk about any of the details."
All of this is very fishy and bears watching.