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Nitkowski Talks About Media and the “Controversial” Stem Cell Therapy

By Mike Silva ~ September 13th, 2011. Filed under: Outside the Apple.

On Sunday, C.J. Nitkowski joined me during my 1240 AM WGBB show. He shared his memories of 9-11 and the 2001 Mets team that he was a part of during the month of September. We also discussed his attempt to use stem cell therapy on his shoulder in order to revive his pitching career. If you remember, Bartolo Colon used the same therapy (and doctor) this past offseason. The results speak for itself.

The media has largely portrayed this procedure in a controversial manner due to the use of HGH with non-athletes. In August, Nitkowski wrote a column for Sports Illustrated where he discussed the therapy in detail. He outlined how the procedure, even with HGH, is far from performance enhancing. It’s basically assisting the body in healing itself. If that is performance enhancing, then I believe they should outlaw Tommy John Surgery.

I was curious as to why this procedure was portrayed so negatively in the media. After all, reading the SI article gave me no reason to believe this was some sort of underground method meant to turn a journeyman 4-A reliever into a Cy Young Award winner. “There is nothing controversial about it,” he said. “The problem is the era we live in now. It’s because the media dropped the ball, and it wasn’t just their fault, but the media kinda looked the other way or dropped the ball on the whole steroid thing. So now they are going to adversely react to anything, even if something doesn’t make sense.”

Nitkowski had a friend who writes for a major newspaper attempt to do a story on his comeback. His editor, however, wanted to take it in a different direction. “What they wanted to do is make it seem like it was complete BS, and that I was probably taking HGH or steroids and this was all a bunch of crap.” Even when the writer explained that wasn’t the story, the newspaper still wanted to take it in that direction. A clear case of not letting the truth get in the way of a good story.

I often hear about the rules of journalism and how guys like me are “unqualified,” or violate some sort of industry ethical credo because I am “unaffiliated” and don’t have any corporation to be accountable to. This story by Nitkowski goes to show you the agendas thrown at readers by those so-called “accountable” media outlets. Why is it so hard for corporate media conglomerates to understand that content will drive readers to their product, not sensationalized headline or fake outrage. Did that editor not care that his story idea could ruin Nitkowski’s chance at a big league invite? Even worse, what about his reputation? If I attempted such a stunt how many sanctimonious mainstream fingers would be pointed at me? Corporate dollars makes this behavior acceptable, right?

Nitkowski is still going through the recovery process. He worked with Rick Peterson on a new sidearm deliver before the surgery. Peterson told him, if healthy, that he has a great shot at competing for a job next year in spring training.

The shame of it all is Nitkowski’s comeback should have been the real story during our conversation. Instead, what stood out is the weak attempt by an editor from a major newspaper to sensationalize, rather than educate the readers on a medical breakthrough. Nitkowski’s SI article was well written, informative, revealing, and most importantly, honest. All the things we expect from the major media outlets, but apparently don’t always receive.

To listen to the entire show you can download the replay here. Nitkowksi comes on about 25 minutes into the show. 

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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1 Response to Nitkowski Talks About Media and the “Controversial” Stem Cell Therapy

  1. Maydog

    “Love” the media standing in the way of progress. If the Colon/CJ surgery ends up opening doors and curing cancer or something, it’ll be seen an controversial b/c sportswriters wish it was the 50′s again.

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