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things go poorly
A little background on Michigan and Demar Dorsey from a reliable source: Dorsey started seriously looking around after Urban Meyer had his momentary retirement and both Charlie Strong, his future defensive coordinator, and Vance Bedford, his primary recruiter and future position coach, left for Louisville. Bedford, of course, had two stints as Michigan's defensive backs coach under Lloyd Carr.
Michigan got involved with Dorsey when Bedford called up Rich Rodriguez and told him to look at the kid; Bedford personally vouched for his character.
In my years writing this thing, the red mist has descended and I've lit up an unsuspecting dullard quite a lot. Here's a tempo-free aerial of various college football blogs measuring crankiness versus verbosity:
As you can see in this highly scientific study, the combination of crankiness and verbosity here is virtually unmatched. If you write something dumb about Michigan sports, chances are I've called you horseface or fitted you for a Darth Vader mask or stated my surprise no one has tazed you, bro. This is either an asset or a detriment to the site, depending on who you are and the topic at hand. I'm not sure which myself.
But one guy I've mostly ignored has been Drew Sharp. Other than one incident where Sharp suggested that the Big Ten had totally caved in their Comcast negotiations because Comcast could switch the channel to a digital sports tier when his own paper was reporting that this was complete bunk, he's only drawn mention in UVs when his book reviews are hilariously negative or he doesn't understand the First Amendment. This is because criticizing Sharp for being an incompetent bomb-thrower is like criticizing Kim Jong-Il for creating a backwards nation of racist dwarves: yeah, you're right, but that's the goal. Drew Sharp is North Korea on paper. What's new?
But a man must draw a line somewhere. Here's my line: when Drew Sharp uses Demar Dorsey as a piece of meat for his own personal gain.
A selection of things Sharp said yesterday while pushing his contention that Michigan shouldn't have signed Dorsey:
MATT SHEPARD: "He was timed with a 4.4—"
SHARP: "Avoiding police."
SHEPARD: "That happened when he was 16 and he was acquitted.
SHARP: "I wonder if that was because he was a high profile recruit. Hmm. I wonder. … OJ got acquitted. Being acquitted doesn't mean you're innocent."
"If this was any other 16 year old facing charges on buglary [ed: of an unoccupied building; dropped], armed robbery, and assault [ed: fictional charge], that kid might be serving probation. He probably thought 'I have to go to trial so I can get this off my record.'"
"I'm done with second chances. I have a hard time believing this kid Dorsey's learned one damn thing through his close calls with the criminal justice system."
SHEPARD: "It's been a couple years… has he gotten into any trouble since?"
SHARP: "Not that we know of! … It's naive for for people to automatically assume that you have to give these guys another chance."
SHEPARD: "Why take a chance?"
SHARP: "It's desperation."
He's also got a column but since it starts "It's not National Signing Day. It's National Sighing Day," I refuse to expose anyone else to its toxic brain-killing funk. It's basically the same premise, except on paper and written by a third grader.
Drew Sharp doesn't know anything about Demar Dorsey except that when you search for his name in a Broward County database it comes up with a traffic violation and two felony charges, one of which was dropped and the other he was acquitted on. He only knows that because someone on the internet did it for him. The amount of research he has done to make these statements is exactly zero.
This is not enough information to make sweeping assertions that Dorsey probably wasn't innocent, doesn't deserve a "second chance"—in this case a first chance, but whateva—, that it's desperation to take a kid Florida*, USC, and Florida State were after, and that you have to be naive to think Dorsey hasn't gotten in trouble since. He defamed the character of a high school kid he's never met, and the point is that it's a "risk" for Rodriguez and Michigan.
A risk of what? A risk Dorsey does something dumb in college and doesn't make it? That's a risk for Dorsey wherever he goes, and since one of the reasons Dorsey cited for leaving Florida is that being farther from home will help him "concentrate on football" coming to Michigan makes it less likely that happens. And dumb stuff is a risk for Michigan no matter who they sign.
The risk appears to be that Sharp and his fellow hard-hitting journalists will follow up with articles when and if Dorsey messes up. Articles like this:
There's more drama down the road at the other school, but Michigan State doesn't mind the boredom.
Rich Rodriguez dismisses a wannabe drug dealer from Michigan and immediately there are suspicions regarding the tautness of his program -- procedural questions that were once mostly asked of Michigan State head coaches.
Yet on the same day, Mark Dantonio welcomed back a running back freshly released from a four-month jail term for hospitalizing a hockey player during a campus fight last fall. Dantonio placed unspecified restrictions on the player's return, reminiscent of Lloyd Carr's private penal policy at Michigan, and the actions barely raised a public ripple.
Roles are reversing. Perceptions are changing.
How did that work out again?
As I wrote at the time:
I'm not even mad. I'm impressed. Here Sharp acknowledges the double standard—at his own newspaper, in his own column—and uses it to criticize Rodriguez and praise Dantonio. He sits at A, takes a good hard look at B, and then leaps to Q. I hope he donates his brain to science.
So because twits like Sharp will misrepresent hypothetical Dorsey misbehavior it represents a risk that Rodriguez shouldn't take no matter how long Vance Bedford has known the kid—over a year—and how flimsy the sketchy past angle is.
For this he spends two days dragging an innocent—literally—kid's name through the mud. So he can have attention.
Here's the thing: Rich Rodriguez cares about his players. When he left West Virginia, they were the only people in the state to defend him. When the NCAA stuff came down and Rich Rodriguez had his press conference about it, he hit his shakiest, teariest point when he was talking about the effects this had on his players. When you listen to Mike Barwis talk about Pacman Jones, the pain is evident—they just couldn't straighten him out enough. He has a good track record. He was right about Pat Lazear, and his disciplinary record over the past five years is considerably above average. Every time he picks up a guy with a rough past and puts him in college he's trying to make the kid's life better.
And yet he gets painted as a bad guy by people who don't care about anything but themselves. Drew Sharp is a selfish, cynical bastard. He's made a career out of making people angry with his half-assed, research-free opinions. He's a disgrace to journalism. If the Free Press had any scruples whatsoever, rampantly bashing a kid with no evidence, or even an effort to collect any, would be so far beyond the journalistic pale that no combination of weasel words could save him.
As part of the segment, Sharp read an email from a current Michigan student than finished "You are a classless, insignificant human being. I am glad that regional newspapers like the one you work for have become obsolete." In response, Sharp said if the kid read the regional newspapers he'd have a better idea of what's being reported—something Sharp could work on himself—and about how blinkered fans were.
I'll let Sharp condemn himself:
Until you get your heads out of your back pockets and look at everything, don't stand up and pass judgment. Because you make yourself look like an ass.
Indeed. In four years, Demar Dorsey is likely to be in the NFL or graduating from Michigan. Drew Sharp is likely to be unemployed.
*(The story that Florida dropped the kid because of his quote-unquote "checkered legal past" is obviously crap. Dorsey had been a Florida commit for over a year. If Florida dropped him it's because he was wishy-washy about his commit and they didn't want to get ditched by him at the last second when they could go out and get an nearly equal recruit who wouldn't jet.)
A final note on Dave Birkett. The AnnArbor.com reporter was also part of the stir by repeatedly pounding Rodriguez on the Dorsey "point." He didn't make any criminally insane and cynical assertions afterwards, so there's that. It is a valid question to ask.
Note the plurality, or lack thereof, of "question." Rodriguez provided the nothing answer he was going to, and when the followup met a nothing answer it's clear that's all you're going to get. Not like that's a surprise, anyway. Birkett would not let it go, though, and dragged it out until Rodriguez got slightly steamed and Dave Ablauf had to step in. This did nothing except waste time. You're not Woodward and Bernstein, you're a freaking entertainment reporter. It's disrespectful to the rest of the room and everyone trying to find out information that Rodriguez would actually communicate if asked about to harp on one topic.
Not even convicted? Next question, coach--we don't even want to finish this one, since clearly Demar Dorsey has no problems whatsoever and will be a fine addition to the football team. That, Michigan fans, is what it would be like if you were anywhere else in the nation and had a recruit with a couple of nasty juvenile arrests, but the Freep is on the scene for this extremely overblown story like the WITI TV 6 news crew. DURR HURR WHY DOES RICH ROD RECRUIT THUGZ OUTRAGE HURR. Because some of them are fast, can play football, and can be kept out of trouble for four years while they win football games? The Michigan press is the polar opposite of SEC press corps, and we mean that in the good and bad way: not fawning, but also convinced there's a potential Watergate beneath that Gatorade bucket over there.
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I suggest someone run one of those cheap internet criminal background checks on Mr. Sharp. I wonder if he has any arrests or convictions on the public record that he would like plastered across the interwebs. [Not it.]
Yep, another excellent route to protest is via the advertisers. But his bosses at the Free Press need to know. Also the producers and owners of the radio show/station need to know. Has anyone contacted the radio host? How about UM since Matt does a lot of shows for UM.
Michigan students have a huge history of protest. Anti Vietnam War (the Admin Building was taken over for days). Anti South Africa, anti Shah of Iran which became anti Islamic Revolution. I have no idea what is being protested these days. If Sharp had said those things via this blog, he would have been neg banged to hell and back and then to hell again. But only he and us would see this.
While the dolphin punch signs are entertaining, they don't have the impact. There must be a collective someone smarter than me out there who could put together a non-emotional protest letter to the advertisers, publishers, owners and producers along with the addresses to send them. The letter must emphasize Sharp's negative impact on the organization and ask for something specific, censure or firing.
All in for Michigan? I think this counts. Go Blue!
EXACTLY! Does he realize how hypocritical he looks? He gets mad at fans for "judging" him guilty of being harsh, but he's completely innocent of being judgmental himself?
He's doing EXACTLY the same thing, except he's accusing someone of a crime without proof and he is doing it to an 18 year old kid!
I don't know what's more shocking, Sharp's douchebaggery or his stupidity.
To get Sharp to publicly apologize to Demar Dorsey. This is not about Michigan. This is about Sharp defaming someone's character with no knowledge of their situation whatsoever.
Your heart is in the right place, but Sharp is the kind of demon you can't fight head-to-head
Like your screaming moron brother on a road trip, next to whom you are condemned to sit, the only way to get the bastard to stop is provide no reaction.
A petition to get Sharp ousted would be like saying to the Freep: "Look how many of us read your paper and were interested in what was in it."
The Freep obviously doesn't care about long-term financial viability --- they are just trying to generate quick cash before the bitter end. If they cared about long-term growth and success, they would focus on quality content and support the community that is the source of their revenue. They're fine with negative attention, that's why Sharp, Rosenberg, etc. work for them.
I loved this piece Brian. Thank you.
Two minor comments, neither of which I've seen.
1) The race issue seems to be involved again. I think this is part of an mgopost, but no way does a white columnist get away with this nonsense.
2) RR could learn a thing or two from Carr in dealing with the media. Let me be clear: I love RR, he is the coach, and I'm glad Carr retired. But in press conferences, if nowhere else, I think that RR could take a page from Lloyd's book and follow his example. When Lloyd was in this kind of situation, he would give an annoyed, withering, "what kind of an idiot are you?" stare, and then turn to the rest of the room and say, "next question," refusing to take any more from the individual at hand. I loved that game where just before halftime, he said, more or less, "What kind of stupid question is that?"
Sharp, as already noted, like Mariotti, is a clown looking to provoke and agitate to get a reaction. The best way to deal with this is just to ignore it as not worthy of attention. This was Brian's general response to Sharp, and I think it is the best thing RR can do with the whole tribe at the Freep.
I don't read the free press (mainly because of comments from this blog), but I do listen to press conferences and while most of you are upset about Drew Sharp, I was completely appalled by Dave Birkett (thank you for pointing out who it was being the total ass in the press conference). My initial reaction was the reporter was an ass but Coach Rod needs to handle this better, but the more I thought about it, I realized I was wrong. I thought Lloyd was cute when he acted like a jerk to media because I thought they deserved it. That said, I like Coach Rod better. You know what he is thinking, he's honest, he's genuine, and he cares. All great traits in a person. It's a shame there is a contingent of people around the program that don't appreciate what a great person UM has leading it's football program. Whoever can't appreciate this needs to take the stick out of their ass.
Throw the Drew down the well! (throw the Drew down the well)!! So our sports teams can be free!!! (so our sports teams can be free)!!!
by the Drew gold that hangs around his neck
In newspaper there is problem
And the problem is Drew Sharp
All his standards they are double
And his writings they are bad.
It's so nice to see that the Freep has the resources to investigate an 18 year old kid from 1,500 miles away to back up their slanderous piece of **** columnist.
I have no idea what Florida privacy laws are like but a lot of stuff like this ought to be non-public. There's a reason that juveniles are handled in a separate system - they deserve privacy and chances that the adult population doesn't.
Is it possible next year not to have Birkett on the CIL? Just when you thought there was hope for a neutral stance toward U-M football with the online annarbornews.com, Sparty reporter is hired to cover Michigan athletics. I don't want fawning, but can ther at least be even-handedness?
If Rodriguez wins this fall, all of this goes away.
comment at WLA:
Investigatory Journalism says:
Drew Sharp and Michael Rosenberg raped me
This would make a nice billboard ad.
There was a day in the not so distant past when we had writers who didn't need to create hogwash. Joe and Jerry were talented writers, but more important, they were gentlemen. These are obviously not titles Drew Sharp aspires to reach. I have not purchased either DFP or DN in a very long time. At the point in your life when your job is gone pull an article from the archives.
Read Joe Falls hit yourself on the forehead and say, so that's how its done.
What would he say about all this shit?
Both Detroit papers enjoy taking potshots at U-M. I'm sure they think it's fun to poke the big arrogant giant, and it goes over big with people across the state. But it does the state a disservice.
Michigan has a pretty low college attainment rate--in large part because, for a couple of generations, you could make pretty good money working in the automobile industry without a degree. Lots of families had little familiarity with (or personal use for) higher education, and that has helped reinforce this idea of U-M being full of out-of-touch, liberal, overpaid professors and entitled rich kids (a suspicious number of which aren't even from Michigan).
Obviously things have changed in industry and MI has to move in other directions. We need more people going to college--and that means we need less of the distrust and alienation between John Q, Public and U-M. I don't see the Detroit papers showing much leadership in that area--they're content to feed into the stereotypes, to go for the easy story that makes U-M look bad.
Awesome post on this one Brian. I don't always agree with your opinions on the media, but this one is spot on.
I don't think anything we say or do can get Drew to realize what a douche he is though. I seriously want to get a dozen people and just follow him around all day with camera, etc. give him the whole paparazzi treatment. I don't really know what that has to do with anything, but it seems like a good way to annoy someone and hopefully make him snap.
Excellent article Brian. Drew Sharp is the reason I no longer read the Freep.
At least there is somebody out there who will take it to those guys that just want the headline to be about them. I'm afraid we will never see the end of Drew Sharp unless people stop going to the freep or listening to whatever he wants to say to get a rise out of people.
Be ready for his next positive article so he can qualify his arguments with his next 10 articles that are negative..................to tell us he does have positive things to write about UM. Sure Drew.......................
Someone, fire Drew Sharp.
Journalism will thank you
if he goes away.
I call this one "Alternatives:"
Drew Sharp keeps his job.
but loses his computer,
printer, notebook, pen.
Drew Sharp, foot in mouth
will offer his opinions.
How's them toes taste, Drew?
A wise man once said,
"Absence makes the heart grow fond."
Let's find out with Drew.
Let's beat people up.
If we went to MSU,
Drew Sharp wouldn't care.
I think it could work
if Drew Sharp got a transfer
to the Guam Free Press.
Not just maize and blue
Drew Sharp thinks the Pistons might
move to Pittsburgh soon.
And lastly, I offer you "Calming Waves of Meditation:"
Fuck that fucking fuck,
that fucking fucking fucker.
Talkin' 'bout Drew Sharp.
Thanks, Brian, for providing a thinking-man's response to the latest malfeasance from Freep "journalists" and "editors." How sad is it, though, that we have to continue addressing the antics of people who regularly insult the intelligence of their readers, and who clearly have opted for provocation over thoughtful news coverage.
Guess what, Freep? Most of us -- particularly those in the MGoBlog community -- are capable of holding more than one thought in our heads at the same time. We actually recognize the occasional tension between recruiting 5-star football talent and bringing in young student-athletes who can succeed in all aspects of a Michigan education. In your world, however, every decision Rodriguez makes is either one or the other -- he's either "winning at all costs" or upholding some pure "Michigan ideal" that you claim us "arrogant" Michigan folks insist upon. And, of course, you can't be bothered to wait and see what the record actually will show as to the body of Rodriguez's decisions -- nope, you can already tell, based on his recruitment of a kid with prior involvement with the criminal justice system, that Rodriguez has already cast his lot with the "winning is everything" crowd. Never mind that the guy's got a lengthy track record that one could review if he were truly interested in learning about Rodriguez's recruiting and coaching philosophy. And, God forbid that we watch to see how it actually works out -- both as to Demar Dorsey and, more generally, as to Rodriguez's tenure at Michigan. Nope, as someone astutely pointed out earlier, it's all about setting yourselves up for an "I told you so" -- while, of course, never holding yourselves accountable if the "I told you so" moment never comes.
Honestly, I don't know why a guy who loves coaching college football and seems to be reasonably good at it (including, based on track record, recruiting and seeing that his kids succeed in all aspects of college life) would want to expose himself to these constant attacks -- not just on his x-and-o skills but on his character. Sure, the pay is great, but he could get close to the same amount somewhere else without nearly this much grief. Hopefully we don't find out that, in fact, no self-respecting good college football coach would/will put up with this sort of death-by-1000-cuts.
/end of rant. Sorry for taking the time of the MGoBlog community for this.
While I share the inclination to respond to the inanity of writers who have to try to make (or make up) news to sell papers or generate web traffic, and to defend our University/coach/program, it frustrates me that we do it. All children seek is attention. They don't care how they get it and they don't whether it's 'good' attention or 'bad' attention. Same with reporters or columnists or whatever the hell they call themselves.
I don't show my disdain for the F***p by going on its website and making pro-Michigan comments or responding to the yahoos who keep piling on. I just don't visit the site or click on a Freep link--period. The key isn't hate, it's indifference. These a-holes aren't worth our time.
I emailed drew sharp to tell him how aweful of a human being he was and to tell him what I thought about his Demar Dorsey article and he actually emailed me back and this is what he said..
You're no better than your Michigan State fan brethren -- pathetic little wretches with no lives whatsoever.
That's why I'm enjoying rubbing your little noses in the dirt on this one.
We knew what the story was on this thug Wednesday. How he wasn't the innocent bystander that you idiots thought. How that the only reason he got spared a stricter sentence was because the prosecutors awarded him special privileges because he was an excellent high school football player.
You hate the Free Press for doing its job -- reporting the facts when we get them and can prove them.
Did you know Dorsey spent time in jail?
You guys got your own Glenn Winston now and it's going to be hilarious watching him screw up this "fourth chance" that's he gotten because enablers like you and every fan that wears Blue and Green and worship at the alter of giving athletes breaks as long as they can win games.
So spare me the righteousness about forgiveness and giving another opportunity. Dorsey's only value to you and ilk of fandom is that of a football player who might help your precious team win a game -- provided of course he bail on time.
MGoBlog needs to fill his email box daily with threats and demeaning statements. Eventually it will get under his skin.
Brian: I suggest a direct link to his email on the MGoBlog home page, as well as a daily reminder?
I'm not a psychologist but there is something deeply disturbing poor Drew. Dorsey is the object but Drew is the real subject of his own rage.
Drew is impotent, his industry is dying, we need not pay him much attention, let him rant and rave. Drew's rants don't carry much more weight than a Tom Hagan or King of Belch rant, let him cry out in the wilderness we've got spring ball to prepare for!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! It's great to see bloggers and reporters sticking up for Dorsey! Rich Rod can handle Sharp's stupid BS, but it's not fair to do this to a kid! I've started a "Stop Drew Sharp and the Detroit Free Press" fan page on facebook. You should be able to follow this link to become a fan. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Drew-Sharp-and-the-Detroit-Free-Press...
My vote would be for Terri Schiavo, who I'm sure would do a much better job despite the lack of brain activity. Yes, I'm aware she is no longer alive. Yes, she would still be an upgrade. Such is the human sewer that is Drew Sharp.