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Blocked shot: The story that couldn’t be told

Brooklyn Daily

I will not be writing about Brooklyn’s biggest and most important girls basketball event this year because I’ve been banned from attending the games, and I cannot report on what I am not allowed to see.

That’s too bad, because the Rose Classic Super Jam, which has a big-name sponsor in Nike, is a newsworthy event.

It features 41 of the best high school girls basketball squads from up and down the East Coast, including the top squads in New York City.

They play in 29 individual games over four days. The event is aimed at giving players looking to earn an athletic scholarship a chance to play in front of college coaches from all levels that otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity to see them in action.

But I can’t write about all those great things because the event’s organizer, Anton Marchand, sent down marching orders to stop me at the door.

Why? Apparently he doesn’t believe a reporter should write the truth.

Last June, I filed a report about a brawl that occurred during a Rose Classic summer league playoff game, and that didn’t sit well with Marchand.

Marchand downplayed the fight at the time and demanded I leave out the facts about the melee. But I did my job and reported the truth.

The next day, I got a text message from Bishop Ford High School coach Mike Toro, who helps run the event that takes place at his school, telling me I was not allowed to attend anymore Rose Classic-branded events, including its summer classic event for travel ball teams in July.

I attempted to talk to Marchand when I saw him in December during a boys basketball game at Bishop Loughlin, and he blew me off.

“I have nothing to say to you,” he said. “Get away from me.”

Apparently, I’m not the only one who is on Marchand’s banned list.

Reporter Mitch Abramson told me that he too was told he could not attend the Super Jam, after Toro claimed he had been misquoted by the Daily News staffer earlier in the month. Abramson refuted that claim, saying he had a tape-recorder interview with the coach that backed up his reporting.

The losers in this battle are the girls, who can benefit greatly from the exposure that only a free press can give them — especially when they do something great.

Sure, my colleagues and I write about bad sportsmanship when we see it clearly — but there’s a lesson in that as well. Isn’t understanding that your actions have consequences the essence of good sportsmanship?

I would have loved have written about this event, and put a spotlight on all the good that could come out of it.

But they wouldn’t let me.

Joe Staszewski has covered high school and college sports in Brooklyn for more than five years.

Joseph Staszewski's sports column appears periodically on BrooklynDaily.com. E-mail him at jstaszewski@cnglocal.com. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.

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