I think the incredible coincidence of three true-crime NFL-related podcasts coming out in the same month—the Boston Globe’s Aaron Hernandez pod, the murder-of-Steve McNair series by Tim Rohan of The MMQB, and the Charlotte Observer/McClatchy Studios on the contract killing overseen by former Panther Rae Carruth—should not make you shy away from any. I strongly encourage you to invest time in them.
I’ve now listened to two episodes of “Fall of a Titan,’’ on McNair (I wrote about it last week), and have heard the first two shows in the “Carruth” series. (I’ve not heard the Hernandez pod yet.) Great job done by Observer columnist Scott Fowler on this pod. It’s engrossing, particularly episode two: “A journey into the mind of a hitman.” Particularly interesting: Fowler visited the hitman, Van Brett Watkins, in prison, and he told Fowler: “I won’t forgive Rae Carruth. I want him dead.” Three questions with Fowler on the Carruth story, and his podcast:
FMIA: You describe in great detail in the podcast what it was like walking into the prison in Raleigh to see Van Brett Watkins. What was that like?
Fowler: “Remember the scene in ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ when Jodie Foster first met Hannibal Lector? I was glad for the double pane of bulletproof glass—I’ll just say that. I just tried to keep him talking. It was pretty chilling when he said about Rae, ‘I want him dead.’ When he said that, he was staring a hole right through me. Sort of surreal. I walked out of the prison and I was kind of woozy.”
FMIA: The story is obviously depressing—Carruth paying someone to murder his pregnant girlfriend because he doesn’t want the child. But you’ve found some good in Cherica Adams’ mother caring for the handicapped son.
Fowler: “I know it gives you some of the worst of the human condition, with the murder of a 24-year-old woman in the prime of her life, with such a promising life. But I hope it also gives you some of the best of the human condition too, with the courage of her mother and the optimism of her son Chancellor.”
FMIA: Why all the true crime football podcasts now? What’s that say for the future of the business, if anything?
Fowler: “It’s an amazing coincidence, to see all three come out at the same time. I just think podcasting is another way to tell stories. I’ve heard some podcasts—Dirty John, from a guy at the Los Angeles Times, and S-town, which was phenomenal—and I thought, ‘Gosh, I’d like to try that.’ I know the story so well. I’ve covered it for almost 20 years. And there is something about hearing the voices of the people involved. You can read the last documented words of Cherica Adams on paper, but it’s another thing to hear the chilling 911 call with her voice. It’s gripping.”
For more of Peter King’s Football Morning in America, check it out here.