The Albuquerque Journal has reassigned Greg Archuleta after the New Mexico football beat reporter sent an inappropriate email to Lobo running back Demond Dennis.
In the Oct. 4 email, Archuleta asked Dennis about his status with the team and suggested it might be "a step in the right direction" if Dennis quit. The running back turned the email over to team officials, who contacted the Journal.
"While Greg was trying to do his job by finding out whether an important member of the team had left, the email itself crossed the line when it suggested that it would be better if Mr. Dennis quit," editor Kent Walz said. You can view the story by clicking here, but the newspaper has a paywall.
Dennis, who had been averaging a team-leading 29 yards a game for the winless Lobos, had only one carry in New Mexico's 38-20 loss to Texas El Paso on Oct. 2. Locksley said after the game that Dennis needed to concentrate on academics.
Archuleta followed the email to Dennis, which ended with "...that's why I'm trying to get a hold of you, to get your side of it. Let me know whether you can help, and I hope everything works out for you. If you have quit, maybe that's a step in the right direction."
Archuleta, asked to give his interpretation of the email, told the Journal: "The context of my comment, 'If you have quit ...,' was never intended to suggest to Dennis that he should quit the team. Based on the information I received, it was reasonable for me to assume Dennis already had quit."
Archuleta, who had covered the team for more than a decade, was in the middle of a controversy that was first reported last month involving Locksley and Ryan Tomari, the sports editor of the student newspaper the Daily Lobo. Locksley, who is 1-17 as coach, reportedly engaged in a heated confrontation that involved the use of profanity with Tomari in July after the reporter wrote an article that was critical of the coach and program.
The incident, which occurred at the Uptown Sports Bar and Grill in Albuquerque, was recorded on videotape. Locksley obtained a copy of the tape and allowed Archuleta to view it, but other reporters, including Tomari, were not given the same access.
Thanks to Bleed Crimson.