After listening to John Bacon last night, dancing around the subject of Rosenbergs intentions, and listening again this morning to Eric Adelson, a common theme emerged: "I don't want to judge <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Rosenberg's intentions because he's my friend / I know him / I have a relationship with him...."
And yet it doesn't seem like there's any such rush from Bacon or Adelson to afford Rich Rodriguez the same sentiments. Why?
Rosenberg is simply following the Jim Carty parasitic shortcut to job security by "make a name for myself before the ship sinks"; while Rodriguez is trying his hardest to make a dreadful team better. Rodriguez isn't perfect, none of us are. But explain to me how a team that is "over-worked" and just concentrates on football managed to put forth the best team GPA in recorded Michigan history?
Eric Adelson is a regular guest on WTKA, and John Bacon is an occasional host and author of “Bo’s Lasting Lessons”. Adelson I tolerate but his views are rarely relevant as he's generally not even close to being in-touch with anything local. After this morning, I'm wondering why the heck he's even on there? Any "valuable national opinion" he may have of the team is being blurred by his relationship with Rosenberg.
John Bacon, however, should know better. He wrote a book about one of the highest caliber human beings on the planet. Stubborn Bo was, yes, but the man had integrity. I cannot picture him standing by silently while something, or someone, he believed in was being unfairly and unneccessarily attacked simply because a "friend" was behind it. John KNOWS what this is about. Dammit, Snyder, the co-writer of Rosenberg’s hit-piece, won't even field questions as to what he considers a "countable hour"! Why then is Michigan supposed to scurry about madly trying to disprove an allegation the accuser can't (or won’t) even properly frame or define?
The timing couldn't be worse for desperate journalists trying to make a name for themselves at the expense of program trying to climb out of the mire of an awful transitional season. Meanwhile, both John Bacon and Eric Adelson are refusing to acknowledge the upset players and furious parents, the head coach pouring his heart and soul into the team, the integrity of Michigan's compliance department - they're ignoring these other sources because of a friendship? Both John Bacon and Eric Adelson are choosing to put their integrity aside by refusing to condemn what they know is wrong.
It’s not like any of this yellow journalism is new. The way the Freep has handled recent stories about Feagin and MSUs prison-to-practice field nonsense, the way they've handled this story by talking with anonymous disgruntled sources at Michigan, the way they've taken advantage of Rodriguez' player access by misleading two freshman - not to mention how Carty's Ann Arbor News writers mislead football players by telling them they were going to do a piece "honoring" their professor, only to field another unjust attack on Michigan athletic academics – all of it shows that there ARE people at work trying to, at the very minimum, damage the program.
I don't care if Adelson is ever asked back. Getting the “out of touch national perspective” is seldom enough of a draw to keep me tuned in during the commute. John Bacon, on the other hand, I very much enjoy. To say that I'm disappointed in him is an understatement. John is intelligent, humorous and insightful. I also believe him to be a man of high integrity that is making a very poor decision by not condemning the recent Rosenberg piece in particular.
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The good news is that the morning show on WTKA is quite solid and MGoBrian has somehow managed to infiltrate the station’s airwaves more and more frequently.
All of the recent hit-pieces and “I won’t comment on that because he’s my friend” crap have really made me appreciate the efforts of Brian and the MGoBlog staff more and more lately.
Thank you for a forum to wallow in the unvarnished truth. And vent when the need arises…
After reading Michael Rosenberg’s brilliantly written, well-researched and intelligently unbiased article “A look inside Rodriguez’s rigorous football program at Michigan” that has gained so much media attention as of late, I decided that I should also focus my attention on an expose for the benefits of my readership and everyone in the world.
I first became aware of this issue when searching the internet for information on Mr. Rosenberg. Michael Rosenberg clearly condones the use of drugs as is evidenced by photographs directly from his publicity website [scroll down].
But how much junk is too much?
According to the 1984 Drug Offenders Act, the 1986 Analogue Act, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 and the Second Act of Shakespeare’s Richard III written in 1591 (none of which have I actually read), any and all use is non-permissible. But numerous members of the Free Press staff have routinely broken these rules.
How do I know this?
Well thanks to my journalistic prowess, I have interviewed ten employees comprised of former team members, two current employees and a shepherd with a lazy eye named Quanto. The two current employees agreed to talk with us only if we would keep their names anonymous for fear of punishment. Another requirement of their involvement was that we take their words and horribly skew them in favor of our “journalistic opinion”.
Two of the team members described the on-going drug use as “ridiculous”. One team member actually witnessed another employee taking a spoon from the kitchen, no doubt for the purpose of booting black tar heroin. Family members of the staff have routinely expressed concern over the amount of illicit drugs being imbibed. I was shocked to find that during one of our interviews, a current staff member sneezed which is on record as a common symptom of heavy cocaine usage.
A member of the sports writing staff who has been suspended in the past for printing information that was not factual stated, “We know the drug policy. Everyone knows the drug policy. Drug use is voluntary. But everyone knows it’s not voluntary. Having your articles published is also voluntary, you know?” He followed that with two winks and a nudge.
I tried to reach higher officials in the company for their reaction to these allegations but they were unavailable. (By “tried to reach”, I of course mean that I air-dialled their phone numbers on my son’s Elmo Phone and then whispered into the universe, “Are you available for comment?”. I received no response.)
After beginning this article, I spoke candidly with two of the newest team members at the DFP to find out what their experiences had been. One junior copy boy commented with a smile on his face, “Oh I love it here. They have donuts every morning.” Clearly the innocent young man was unaware that the donuts had surely been provided to quell the constant hunger that arises from frequent use of a drug called “marijuana”.
It’s unfortunate that such a well-respected community of journalists and their staff could have fallen into such a deep hole. We can only hope that the United States government will step in and arrest all of them, if for no other reason than their shameful and willful abuse of the first amendment.
[This article has been written in satire and parody and like the article it has been written in response to, it's almost completely unfactual. These comments are not the views of mgoblog.com or any of it's operators, developers, advisors, employees, spouses, friends, family members, pets or co-workers. If you've gotten this far and haven't realized that this is a joke, you should probably apply for a job at the Detroit Free Press.]
A foursome was nice enough to let me play through this morning (if you live in Chicago and enjoy golf, highly recommend morning rounds at Marovitz/Waveland). One of the members of their group was wearing a Michigan hat and it was at that moment I realized how excited I am for the season to kick off. "I love your hat, I can't fucking wait until Saturday", I exclaimed as his grin began stretching around his head. I played a hole with them and we talked briefly. I found out he, like myself, is not an alumnus of the great instituion God graced us with some 192 years ago.
As I'm sure many of my fellow non-alums are, I am incredibly sensitive when someone attempts to call me out for not being a real fan because I didn't go to the school. I typically give the same spiel when such questioning of my fan credentials begins. I regale them with tales of all the triumphs and heartbreak I have witnessed in Michigan Stadium since first stepping foot in there at age 6. I note that my familial roots are planted firmly in the state, having been born there with parents who once called Livonia and Redford Township home. I tell them that some of my fondest childhood memories are throwing the football with my old man on the golf course before a big game. I then typically finish with, "fuck yourself", and start to tell them all the things about their own team that they don't know. Inevitably this discussion is only going to end badly, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would lead to making an OSU grad and fan weep.
Picture it: Charlotte, NC, October 30, 2004. Date sound familiar? About 10 of us from high school, a group that has remained oddly close, found its way to the hotel bar mid wedding reception. Michigan was losing to State. We all know what unfolded over the next couple hours.
As a Toledo native, I unfortunately have a handful of friends that attended osu. As fate would have it, they were there with myself and a couple other UM fans to witness Braylon's greatness on that day. As the drinks added up and the game continued on into the darkness, the dissenting voice began talking shit about how I am not a real fan. My friend was well aware of my lifelong love affair with all things Michigan Football, so my typical rant simply wouldn't suffice.
"Fuck you Dave."
"No, Fuck you Dave."
"Fuck you Dave!"
This conintued for what felt like 3 Navarre scrambles from the pocket* (I know he wasn't the QB, simply a measurement of long periods of time). As it turns out, repeating "Fuck you" or some variation thereof to a lifelong friend that you only see once or twice a year is all it takes. Here came the waterworks.
While the catalyst for his tears may seem underwhelming, watching tears well up on his face as Braylon sealed the game created a synergy of joy I have yet to re-create.
He is still one of my best friends and we joke about it often. He will stand up in my wedding and I will do the same for him.
Holy hell do I love college football, sharing it with friends despite their rooting interest and sweet jebus, I love the Michigan Wolverines. I'm all in.
*1 Navarre scramble is equivalent to 2 fortnights.
First of all, there is no chance that Rodriguez did not cover all the bases regarding the practice time rules. And I guarantee you, all great college programs currently toe the line on practice time, as they should, and in doing so, even inadvertently help the NCAA redefine the line itself, or remove ambiguity. Any real issue is any ambiguity itself. And these great programs will operate within that ambiguity, until the NCAA removes it.
What is so despicable is the timing and target of the Rosenberg and Snyder article, trying to achieve notoriety by launching this mud on the one program who is in perhaps the biggest transition of its storied history, and to the same storied history that perhaps has helped draw so much interest to college sport itself, in that Rosenberg and Snyder have a job to even write about it. It is one thing to make a claim when on a program when it is in full swing, but it is quite another when the program is understandably trying to make a smooth changeover. It is not easy being the WINNINGEST COLLEGE FOOTBALL PROGRAM IN THE UNITED STATES and trying to return to that greatness. And if it requires additional non-mandatory work, so be it. Rosenberg and Snyder saw an insanely underhanded opportunity, and they went for it. They did not go after the established USC, they went after the easier target, the one that is nearby, and one who has a coach, who perhaps, cared too much for what his old WVU program thought of him, after he left. Now today we have another alum Drew Sharp chiming in, misunderstanding the coach's emotion for fear instead of care, perhaps deliberately.
So you say, what good will come out of this ?
The investigation will reveal that there were no violations, but will serve as a way for the NCAA to find flaws in their rules whereas incoming players are concerned and the communication to them on what is mandatory and what is not.
Then, as the Wolverines are kicking the snot out of the rest of the Big Ten and are perpetually in the national Top 5, that the national perception will remain that our program is the best partly because players work the hardest.
But best of all, this BS will serve as the agent necessary to truly bring the team together, since there is NO better way than to solidify comraderie than to create and Us vs. Them mentality, especially when it involves all the work and effort they put in. In a good way, it gives an OBJECT for all that work and practice.
The following is a notably famous quote....
"Any greatness that has not attracted envy, jealousy, accolades and praises from all corners has not yet attained enviable standard."
It should not be a shock, of the current attack on our coach and program, nor should it be going forward. And our program sooner than later, in this transition, will arrive at that enviable standard of its past, and in the meanntime will bear the brunt of envy.
Having read the article and the response, I'm pretty comfortable in knowing that the NCAA is not going to drop the hammer on Michigan. There will likely be no probation or scholarship reduction. All this is a distraction. One that will blow over soon. So why are we so upset? Why can't I get excited about the season again?
The fact is, the story is out there, and herher everyone laugh at scUM (uh .. we still went 3-9 last year). Also, everyone laugh at Tennessee, USC, PSU, and Iowa, etc., schools whose issues are, in my epinion, far more serious and pervasive than Michigan's. In fact, almost all schools have some experience with this level of "distraction". The deeper question is, why are we, as well as the national media, so concerned?
Is it because we run a squeaky clean program? Or because we never get in trouble? For those that think the issue stems from the fact that Michigan never, ever dreamed of skirting a rule prior to Rodriguez, I submit David Terrell's "3.3" GPA. Anyone that is familiar with DT knows that he was not the "bomba$$student". Something always stunk about that to me. Love it or hate it, but the puppet show that is Michigan football shows strings when you look close enough. Maybe DT was like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting. Or, maybe something fishy was going on.
So, is it that we never get in trouble? There's no doubt that we haven't been in trouble, especially in football. But, we aren't immune to bad press. I'm a biased observer, but it seems like the press can't wait to pile on Michigan. Likely caused by years of excellence and large fanbases of our three rivals, but when Michigan does bad, for a lot of the country, the news is good. Lest anyone forget, we are not the only historical powerhouse (or the first) to lose to a D-IAA team. Just the most publicized.
IMHO, what's happening here is a boiling over of frustration. It's easy to deal with the negative when we own the Big Ten, save OSU. Things are much more personal when we're losing. However, it is important to note that, perhaps other than Notre Dame, we are the school that people love bad news about. Bad news about Michigan and ND sells.
With that backdrop, I think Bo/Gary/Lloyd is what Michigan needs. A headman that treats everyone outside of the program as a liability. An insular program that defends those inside aggressively, and keeps outsiders at bay. Also, we as a fan base, need to take a similar stance. Are we perfect? Nope. But, with the good and the bad, Michigan football is ours. As a fanbase, we need to understand that others love to tear our institution down. And we need to move on. So what that there are some silly accusations being leveled (it's not like we're paying off players, having player's get arrested, or cursing in practice). We need to be confident enough to blow it all off and move on. Stay excited for the season, and hopefully not feed the machine that will chase off RRod. To the extent that he isn't a homegrown "Michigan Man", the guy cares ... about the team, about his players, and about the institution.
Go Blue! Let's beat the Bronco's on Saturday!
After all of the events over the past few days it is crucial we show the team they have our support. There have been a number of great ideas passed around the board and one stuck out in my head. A chant. It would be a great way to show the entire program our support in one unanimous voice.
So what to cheer?
We need to keep this simple, classy, and meaningful. Why not take the very slogan the team has been telling us over the past couple of months?
When should we do this?
The best time would be right before kickoff. Let the team take the field, hear our fight song, and touch the banner. When all of that dies down we start. A slow chant would be best to ensure it doesn't come out as too jumbled.
How can we do this?
This NEEDS to start with the student section.That is the heart, soul, and voice of the Big House. I imagine we need one group (at least 15) the start the initial chant. Any volunteers? If enough people have exposure to this idea they will jump in too. Having a queue crew is key though!
How to spread the word:
- Spread this to rivals, scout, and any other site you visit to get your Michigan fix.
- Email your friends that will be at the game
- Tell the Daily (maybe they would be willing to help out)
- Tweedle-dee (twitter) it
- Mention it in your Facebook status
- Whatever you can do to get the word out
Maybe it's just me, but I feel like this would be really well received and could help jump start the season.
Here is the sad part, as much as I want this to happen I won't be there to see it fail or succeed. I don't live in Ann Arbor anymore (wooo class of '07), but this is now a goal of mine and hopefully yours. Our present to a team that has worked it's butt off over the past 8 months (voluntarily).
Are you all in?