Maybe it’s happened and I just don’t remember, but the Zach Vraa situation on Wednesday was a first in the journalism business and I’ve been at it since the ’80s. We pulled a story.
Most of you know the story already, but the Bison receiver was set to come back from a broken collarbone. Dom and myself both talked with Zach before practice with the story angle mainly focusing on whether he wanted to take a medical hardship or come back and play in the playoffs. Citing the want to graduate with his class, and the playoff fever going around, he decided to play pending a final and expected medical clearance.
I did the story, sent it to our desk and that was that. Then news hit that he broke it again during practice within a couple of hours of talking to him. I thought it was a joke, unfortunately it wasn’t. I called assistant sports edtior Hayden Goethe and told him to yank the story a.s.a.p., to be replaced by a shorter version saying he re-broke it.
This is not a tragedy; what allegedly happened at Penn State is a tragedy. Vraa said the benefit to staying until his sixth year of college was he could begin working on a graduate degree, so maybe there will be a silver lining to all of this for him. The last thing Zach said in my interview is he hopes the story with him and injuries is over. Let’s hope that eventually happens.