WCJB's coverage of Jalen Kitna's arrest on their website.

The actual facts of what’s going on with Florida Gators‘ backup quarterback Jalen Kitna are bad enough. Kitna, the son of former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, was arrested Wednesday on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography. But rather than cover that disturbing news in its own right, Gainesville ABC affiliate WCJB opted to make this story about Gators’ starter Anthony Richardson, while also managing to get his name wrong along the way.

Here’s a screenshot of their highly-ratioed and since-deleted tweet on this, from AA’s Sean Keeley:

A screenshot of Gainesville ABC affiliate WCJB's tweet on Jalen Kitna.

As ESPN’s Brett Edgerton noted, this is problematic on at least four levels:

The context that Kitna is the Gators’ backup quarterback, and was behind Richardson on the depth chart, is fine to include in a post on this. But making a social media post on this about Richardson instead of Kitna is absurd, and getting his name wrong in that post (especially when you’re literally a local TV station in the city where his team plays) is even more ridiculous still. Fortunately, their actual online story focuses on Kitna and doesn’t actually mention Richardson. Here’s a clip from it:

The Gainesville Police Department arrested Kitna for two counts of distribution of child exploitation material and three counts of possession of child pornography

The department officials say an investigation was launched into Kitna after a tip was made to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The tip said images of child sexual abuse material were posted on Discord. Detectives determined the images were shared from Kitna’s home on Southwest 38th Drive in Gainesville and he was the account holder.

When interviewed, Kitna told detectives he shared the images but believed them to be legal because he found them online. He then admitted he should not have shared them.

On Wednesday, his home was searched with a warrant and his devices were searched. The analysis of the devices revealed three additional images of child sexual abuse material.

The mention in there of “Jalen Kitna, 19, is booked into the jail. He is the backup Gators Football Quarterback” is a much more appropriate way (poor capitalization and apostrophe usage aside) to cover Kitna’s place on the team. There was no need to include Richardson here at all, as the online story shows.

This is more of a social media account mistake than an actual news mistake. But it’s still an incredible mistake, and an extremely unfortunate one given the seriousness of these charges.

[WCJB]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.