I want to express my appreciation for John Zant’s sports coverage in The Santa Barbara Independent. Even though I don’t usually read the stories closely, I have noticed that he (and the paper) devotes extensive coverage to female athletes. When I compare your March 5 cover story “Shooting Star,” which featured two high school girls playing basketball with fierce intensity, to the sports section of the Los Angeles Times — from which women athletes are often completely absent — the difference is quite stark. Thank you for acknowledging girls and women who play to win.
And because I’m sure you will agree with me that words matter, I also feel the need to take you to task regarding one of the headlines on your March 12 cover: “Sex Scandal in the Presbytery.” The article, which was plainly branded a crime story and aptly headlined “Ugly as Sin,” describes a litany of predatory sexual behavior, including harassment, molestation, sexual assault, and other unlawful acts upon minors — and a cover-up by church officials. It should be clear that this is not a “sex” scandal. A sex scandal would be a “family values” politician having an extramarital affair with another adult. What happened in Carpinteria was something else entirely. Call it a sexual abuse scandal, a child molestation scandal — if pressed for space, call it a rape scandal. But don’t call it a sex scandal. What Louis Bristol did was a crime, and the words used to describe his actions should be unambiguous.