Mike, what's your point?
From everything I've read about Mr. S-E-A-G-U-L-L (lol - sorry, couldn't help it), in real life he's a warm, caring, smart man, a highly skilled martial artist and a second-rate actor. I respect him, though I'm never likely to meet him. In a situation like this, I'd respect him more for backing down rather than being 'Joe Kill'em all' and beating the tar out of the two 'gangsters'. That's an easy way to get dead quick, if the story is to be believed.
And on that note; the NY Times is indeed a reputable newspaper, but remember newspapers are staffed by people - people with their own ideas and agendas, like anyone else. A newspaper survives by making money, and in order to make money, it must sell papers. To sell papers, it must have stories people want to read, and in today's society, that means a certain amount of senationalism; even in the NYT.