In a bizarre twist to an already bizarre series of events, a USA Today columnist suggested Saturday that a "credibly accused" Brett Kavanaugh should be kept away from children, and that he should be fired from his job coaching girls' basketball.
In a now-heavily edited column (an archived copy is available here), opinion writer Erik Brady tore into Kavanaugh, repeatedly implying that the longtime-jurist is a pedophile and serial sex offender because he's been "credibly accused" of sexual assault.
"The nation is deeply divided. Sometimes it feels like we don’t agree on anything anymore. But credibly accused sex offenders should not coach youth basketball, girls or boys, without deeper investigation. Can’t we all agree on that?" Brady wrote in the original article's closing paragraph.
That's just the worst bit, though. Throughout Brady's original column, he bemoans that Kavanaugh is still allowed to interact with student athletes at all, and even contacted a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., apparently to complain about Kavanaugh's position at the helm of a girl's Catholic Youth Organization basketball team.
The spokesperson assured Brady that Kavanaugh was subject to a background check, is closely monitored, and remains certified to manage student athletes.
Brady followed up by contacting representatives of SafeSport, an organization that polices allegations of sexual assault among coaches and student athletes. Finally, Brady got what he wanted: an assurance that if Kavanaugh is found to be "credibly accused" of assault, he may be subject to an investigation.
But Brett Kavanaugh clearly isn't a pedophile. And although he's been accused of sexual assault, the accusations are less than credible, centered entirely around a single personal narrative that no named witnesses can corroborate. Two other allegations of assault have withered under scrutiny.
USA Today still has the column up on its site, but now without the implications of pedophilia. They added an editor's note:
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh has told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee he loves coaching his daughters' girls basketball teams, but said in testimony Thursday “thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again.” The intent of this commentary was to address that question. The column was re-edited to more closely reflect that intent and labeled to reflect it as the writer’s opinion.
USA Today did not offer an apology.