'O.C. Register' Sportswriter Apologizes for Column

By: Joe Strupp An Orange County Register sports columnist wrote an apology to readers Thursday for a piece he penned Tuesday that appeared to make light of the tragic 18-year kidnapping of a California girl.

Headlined "Many odd things have happened in sports the past 18 years," the column by Mark Whicker cited the recent release of Jaycee Dugard, whose kidnapping at age 11 and abuse by a kidnapper for 18 years drew international attention.

"It doesn't sound as if Jaycee Dugard got to see a sports page," Whicker wrote in the column. "Box scores were not available to her from June 10, 1991 until Aug. 31 of this year. She never saw a highlight. Never got to the ballpark for Beach Towel Night. Probably hasn't high-fived in a while."

The column went on to note that Dugard missed the rise of Tiger Woods, Joe Torre coming to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and other trivial sports matters.

After days of criticism, which included dozens of online comments, Whicker wrote the apology, which stated in part: "It's obvious that I miscalculated the effect the column on Jaycee Dugard, and the events that she might have missed during her captivity, had on those who read, buy and advertise in our newspaper.

"For 22 1/2 years at The Register, I feel like I've had a good and direct relationship with our audience and I think most of the regular readers know how I go about reporting and commenting on sports.
This column appears to have disconnected that bond with at least part of our readers. For that I apologize."


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