The New York Times plans to run this weekend the two previously spiked sports columns that contradicted the paper's editorial position on Augusta National, the all-male country club that hosts the Masters Tournament, according to one of the columnists.
"Right now, we're planning on running both columns in either tomorrow's or Sunday's paper," Dave Anderson told NEWSWEEK on Friday. "I'll be glad when this is over. I haven't had time to work."
Late Friday, however, a Times spokeswoman said, "A final determination has not yet been made." Araton did not return several calls.
On Wednesday, the Daily News reported that Anderson and columnist Harvey Araton each had columns on the issue pulled. Anderson's piece disagreed with a Times editorial pressuring Tiger Woods not to play in the Masters. Araton's column drew a connection between women joining Augusta and the elimination of women's softball from the Olympics, arguing that there were more pressing issues for women in sports than membership in a private golf club.
In a memo circulated to staff and subsequently made public, managing editor Gerald Boyd wrote that "part of our strict separation between the news and editorial pages entails not attacking each other," referring to Anderson's column. Boyd also said that the "logic" in Araton's column "did not meet our standards: that would have been true regardless of which 'side' the writer had taken on Augusta. The writer was invited to try again, but we did not think the logic improved materially."
"I'm very happy with how we worked it out," Anderson told NEWSWEEK from his home in New Jersey. "All I had to do is remove one little phrase, and it's a phrase I would have removed three weeks ago." Anderson would not say what he had to alter, but a source at the Times said the column was purged of any references to the paper's editorials.
Anderson said Boyd called him on Friday to discuss how the issue would be resolved. In Boyd's Wednesday memo, there was no indication the pieces would ever run. Neither Boyd nor Times sports editor Neil Amdur immediately returned calls seeking comment.
Discussion of the columns continued to dominate conversations at the Times' Manhattan headquarters. Copies of both Anderson's and Araton's columns were circulated around the newsroom. The staff was also divided--some reporters and editors defended the initial spiking and some felt it amounted to censorship on an issue on which the Times was already open to criticism.
As for Anderson, he'll be at the New York Giants game this Sunday. "Maybe by then, my phone'll stop ringing," he said.