this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Incredible Used To Mean Literally Unbelievable
A couple emailers have passed this along but they didn't need to, since the Big Ten actually sent me this email they blasted out to apparently everyone from actual newspapers to two-bit bloggers:
DELANY CALLS ON COMCAST TO APOLOGIZE
STATEMENT BY BIG TEN COMMISSIONER JAMES E. DELANY
REGARDING THE CHARACTERIZATION OF BIG TEN CONTESTS AS 'SECOND AND THIRD TIER'
"Comcast recently has characterized events that will be on the Big Ten Network as 'second and third tier.' I believe Comcast owes every Big Ten university an apology. The comments are an insult to Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin: To the universities, their students, their fans and alumni and their communities. There are no second-rate contests in the Big Ten."
I... what do you do with that? Comcast has a tough-talking guy who correctly characterizes most of the sports on the Big Ten network as uncompelling, so the Big Ten throws a public hissyfit and demands an apology? Is Jim Delaney a fifteen-year-old girl? Is he having a super sweet sixteen party later? Why does he remind me of Satan confronted with his Acura cake?
Whoever decided to release this instead of burying it deep down the memory hole should be fired, re-hired, fired again, and then tracked down at his new job and fired. This is worse than the SEC email, which was only the stupidest public relations move in years. And the thing is... it gets even worse. The milquetoasty passive-aggression on display -- you won't carry our channel because you're big meanies -- was couched in the basest Save the Women sentiment according to the Daily:
Delany spent a good portion of time during the teleconference addressing a New York Times article, which came out this past Monday. In it, Delany claimed a Comcast official downplayed the importance and demand of the network.
He showed displeasure with a statement made by a Comcast official in the article, which he thought insulted the Iowa women's volleyball team. The official called the team and the type of programming it would offer as "second-tier".
Later on in the teleconference, the author of the New York Times article said that those comments were not made in his writing. Delany said he had heard them somewhere, though. [this is my favorite bit. "These comments never appeared in our newspaper" ... well I heard them! I did, I say!]
"Their comments bothered me," Delany said. "Quite honestly, I don't know how those comments go on the east coast (where Comcast is headquartered), but in the Midwest, when you are talking about a women's sports teams, you talk about them with respect."
Not only is this wantonly false -- here in the Midwest we scoff at womens sports and Title IX more than on the East Coast because it's gutting the wrestling programs of the world -- but it's a distraction from the real issues at hand. It sounds like the Big Ten knows it's going to lose so it's preemptively conjuring reasons other than "we are idiots" for the public to consume: Comcast doesn't care about women. Comcast is mean. Comcast came up with the way the Sopranos ended. Hey, we all hate Comcast. But we aren't stupid enough to blame them for everything when your brilliant scheme backfires.
Jim Delaney's breathtaking arrogance and stupidity deserve the round of mocking it will get, but the Big Ten is a great conference, one of America's great sports institutions. It deserves better than a fool who can't shut his mouth as commissioner.
PS: Tom Deinhart thinks the BTN is just brilliant. This is what we call a kiss of death.