By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Jun 24, 2008 at 5:24 AM

Questionable calls are a big part of sports, from Little League and youth soccer to the World Series and Olympic skating.

A couple questionable calls caught my attention last week and deserve some discussion.

The first questionable call is the one made by the Journal Sentinel, which printed an article about a tax problem that is dogging Prince Fielder. To compound the problem, the paper ran a big column on the same matter the next day.

Brewers manager Ned Yost, when asked about it, said that it was nobody's business but Fielder's.

One of the defenses of the paper, of course, was that the story had already appeared in another publication. The paper felt it had no choice but to print it.

I don't have to take a back seat to anybody in writing about off-field activities of athletes. When I was younger, it was a tough call, but it seemed relatively clear: if it was something that affected the performance or reputation of an athlete, it was fair game for me.

Now, things have changed. In this viral world, every sleaze that has a computer and Internet access can print whatever he wants. There is no need for confirmation, attribution or fact. If you got it, print it. Even if you don't got it, go ahead and print it anyhow.

And once that happens, it seems like it's fair game for the respectable media to go ahead and print it as well.

I guess I could also be accused of keeping the story alive, by writing this column, but the issue is an important one for fans and for people who read and other media.

The big problem is that I don't think there are hard and fast rules. Each situation demands its own call. I think the paper made a questionable call on this one, even though they will spend their lives defending it.

The second bad call of the week goes to the Order Sons of Italy in America. This one really is hard to believe.

During the playoff between Rocco Mediate and Tiger Woods, NBC announcer Johnny Miller said Mediate "Looks like the guy who cleans Tiger's swimming pool." A bit later Miller said, "Guys with the name, Rocco, don't get on the trophy, do they?"

Well, the Order Sons of Italy in America weighed in on this one, claiming that Miller had slurred every singe Italian in the world.

Here is an e-mail from Anthony Baratta, the Social Justice Commission chairman of the Order Sons of Italy in America. (Who knew they had a social justice commission?)

"NBC Sports needs to step up to the plate and take appropriate disciplinary action against Miller immediately. A single e-mail apology is not going to resolve the offensive remarks made by Miller. The Italian community and specifically the Order Sons of Italy in America now want parity on these stereotypical remarks made by Johnny Miller."

He wanted Miller suspended like announcer Kelly Tilghman was earlier this year when she said the only way other players could stop Tiger was to "lynch" him.

Miller issued an apology for his comments, saying they didn't have anything to do with ethnicity but were focused on Mediate's "everyman" persona.

Talk about questionable calls. The Italians made a questionable call complaining. Miller and NBC made a questionable call by apologizing. About the only non-questionable call here was the original comments made by Miller.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.