Friday, August 05, 2005

Lying incompetence

This is a paragraph from a sports story about a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, athlete who struck another: "A surveillance video from the University of Tennessee recreation center, released Wednesday by the district attorney general's office, shows defensive tackle Tony McDaniel punching student Edward Goodrich and walking away as fellow basketball players scattered to the other end of the court. Goodrich laid motionless on his back for a minute before anyone attempted to help him."
I know very little about sports generally, and I know the rules of basketball have changed considerably since I was young and agile enough not to be qualified to play any other position than equipment manager. I mean, back then basketball was a game of finesse, of shooting and dribbling and passing, and was not a contact sport.
Still, I don't think even today there is such a basketball position as "defensive tackle."
Usually, prosecutors' offices consist of attorneys general or district attorneys. Knoxville is a Southern anomaly, a historically Republican area, but I really doubt if, even in such a strange place, there is such a thing as a district attorney general, though I haven't done a search yet to verify.
But I know for darn sure Mr. Goodrich (who is "Mr. Goodrich" on the other pages of the Times Free Press, but just "Goodrich" on the sports pages) never "laid motionless."
"Motionless" is not a noun so it can't be a direct object of the transitive verb "laid."
This story, written by, or at least blamed on, Darren Epps, staff writer, appeared in the Thursday, 4 August, edition.
Apparently neither Mr. Epps nor any supposed "copy editor" knows about "lying" or "laying."

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:26 PM

    Copy editor is apparently a non-existent position at most newspapers today.
    I am daily horrified at the sloppy writing and misuse of punctuation and terrible spelling at newspapers I see from around the country.
    Sarah Jane Moffett