Football: Lemming Defends Self... Sorta
And now a followup to the Bruce Feldman/Myron Rolle/Tom Lemming hootenanny from a bit back. Teddy Greenstein has an article in the Chicago Tribune today about the Lemminator that makes two things really clear: he drives a lot and he inappropriately advocates certain schools over others.
Lemming has taken a bunch [of flak] since the July 4 edition of ESPN the Magazine, in which Myron Rolle, a top cornerback recruit from New Jersey, said, "Tom Lemming is a huge Notre Dame guy. He kept saying to me, 'You know they have a great coaching staff. You know Charlie Weis is Mr. NFL. You're an academic guy. That place is for you.' Then he killed Florida State. He said, 'You're stupid if you go there.' Um, OK. Thanks."
Lemming has a different recollection of his conversation with Rolle, which occurred during a high school scouting combine.
"I never said he'd be stupid to go to Florida State," Lemming says. "He's a 4.0 student and wants to be a doctor. I said, 'Do yourself a favor: Look at how many kids have gone on from there to become doctors.' I do that with all kids. I ask them questions that make them think.
"I say, 'Forget football. Go to a school where you can get a worthwhile degree.' People might think that means I'm pushing kids to go to schools like Duke, Notre Dame, Northwestern and Vanderbilt. I can see where some schools could get upset by that, and I have to watch myself. I'm very careful about mentioning names of schools now."
I guess this qualifies as an attempt to defend himself. He's gotten in trouble in the past for pushing certain schools for academic reasons. His big fix for this problem is apparently implying things instead of stating them directly, which fools exactly no 4.0 students who want to be doctors.
And then there's this gem about the ESPN/Lemming breakup:
Lemming, meanwhile, was miffed that people had to pay a premium to read his rankings and on-line chats on ESPN.com.
Because it's all for charity, kids! Bleah. That sentence, accepted uncritically, lowered the credibility of the story significantly in my eyes, coloring everything around it with the aura of a buddy-buddy quid pro quo thing going on. The story is a puff piece designed to make Lemming look good, but in it he basically confirms the allegations leveled at him.