Before I explain the N&O’s failure, let me tell you about one of most noble athletics staffers I’ve ever met. His name is Eric Hoots, and he’s the Director of Player Development for the UNC men’s basketball team. Eric attended UNC and got a job as a video assistant for the team after he graduated. Over the past 12 years, he’s worked hard and with integrity to get to the position he has now.

When I was a learning specialist at UNC, I was fortunate to get acquainted with Eric. I can tell you that he is what everyone should want in a college basketball staffer. Eric is dedicated not just to student-athletes’ academic success but to their life success. He wants the players he serves to succeed on the court, in the classroom, and in everything they do afterward.

That’s why I’m appalled that Dan Kane wrote the article he did this week, focused entirely on calling Eric’s integrity into question. Kane provided no evidence other than an ambiguous email that likely had nothing to do with any basketball players. The article is just a long, petty waste of space.

When will Kane let go of his obsession? Or when will the N&O at least force him to stop?

We live in a time when fake and hyperpartisan news is making the challenge of discerning fact from falsehood increasingly difficult. In this bewildering time, I’d like to support our newspapers because we need them to illuminate relevant truths and to hold the powerful accountable. Yet Kane’s latest article does the opposite of what we need. The N&O is squandering its journalistic resources on these articles, publishing them only to perpetuate their distorted narrative for which they clearly still hope to win some big award.

We need our newspapers to do better.

Bradley Bethel is the director of the award-winning documentary ‘Unverified: The Untold Story Behind the UNC Scandal.’