I waste plenty of time here.
I noticed this article over at thebiglead.com, noticed it was written by tyduffy, and figured it would be a hatchet job. Good to know I wasn't disappointed.
The premise is that Birkett should not have been reprimanded for his "snarky" comment regarding Dorsey in the chat a couple of days ago. Now, without rehashing what others have said, I'll remind people that we are talking about a grown man on one side, with a captive audience and the ability to have his voice heard across a broad range of mediums, and a teenager who was just accepted to the University of Michigan to play football but with some skeletons in his closet. Those skeletons were dealt with by the legal system and his record is officially clean, but in the court of public opinion he certainly has a stained and imperfect reputation.
I think what people like tyduffy forget is that we are still talking about teenagers when we rail against recruits, and while this is not necessarily the case with Dorsey, oftentimes they come from less-than-ideal backgrounds both socially and economically. For some reason, we expect these young boys to act like professional athletes, scholars, and good citizens, completely ignoring the fact that many of their peers could barely qualify in one or two of these categories when they step onto campuses across America.
15- and 16-year-olds make mistakes all the time, breaking laws and social norms in ways that are perplexing to the 20, 30, 40, and 50-somethings that love to pass judgment on them. That doesn't mean we should condone delinquency in minors, but we should also not brand them as incurable and cast them off forever. To do so would be an unnecessary overreaction to the maturation process that everyone has gone through in their lives and needlessly imposing draconian punishment on relatively minor offenses; the proverbial "throwing out the baby with the bath water."
It is clear that Demar Dorsey was involved in some activities that, at best immature and at worst criminal. But the legal system took stock of these offenses and meted out a punishment (community service and rehabilitation) it felt was appropriate. Now if you have an issue with the punishment, take it up with the Florida legal system, but don't impugn Dorsey's character simply because he complied with their orders.
Tyduffy counters that while the legal system may be content, society at large should not be some quick to accept Dorsey back:
If someone pled down from convictions in two sexual assault cases and was acquitted at trial in a third, he doesn’t deserve to be treated as upstanding when he applies to coach the girls’ soccer team. AnnArbor.com acting as though he’s wholly innocent is laughable.
Now, beyond getting into the extremely tenuous and misguided logic applied here (comparing a potential rapist to a 17-year-old who stole some electronics), the author clearly is of the opinion that Dorsey is guilty of greater offenses than he admitted to, and that he escaped his "proper" punishment. Now, as an equal citizen under law, men like Tyduffy and Birkett is entitled to their opinions; but so is Rich Rodriguez, the UM athletic department, the admissions office, and everyone else who signed off on Dorsey being admitted to UM. Society allows you to be unhappy, but it doesn't mean everyone else has to share in your unhappiness.
But the author goes on to argue the rather obvious:
Demar Dorsey is receiving a second chance, because he’s a talented football player. As a mere student, that marred past most likely would have kept him from being admitted. Apparently, improving the football team trumps kids feeling safe with their laptops in the dorms.
Yes, Demar Dorsey received a second chance because he is good at football. And guess what - this favortism has been going on since the beginning of organized sports, and will continue well after Demar Dorsey leaves UM. Of course, if both his parents were alums, he was a valedictorian from a disadvantage region, he penned a popular or critically-lauded short story, or was a genius programmer, perhaps his transgressions would also have been overlooked. We have no idea how often such "exceptions" are made for other students because those stories aren't bandied about on talk radio, dragged out in excruciating detail by talking heads on ESPN, or haphazardly vilified by largely anonymous bloggers. They occur behind closed doors and in dusky admissions offices across America, and those individuals go on with their lives. Some surely fall into recidivism, but others learn from their mistakes and become upstanding members of society. They are given second chances because someone, somewhere decides that just because you make a mistake when you were 17 shouldn't define who you are for the rest of your life.
Now this post has gone on for far longer than I expected, so I'll be brief - Birkett's comment probably wasn't meant to be as offensive as it appeared, but it was also immature and unnecessary. This was acknowledged, and both sides would be best served to move on. But as for authors like Tyduffy who demand their pound of flesh from everyone who seems to have "beaten" the system, remember that just because you choose not to give someone the benefit of the doubt doesn't mean they shouldn't be given a second chance to prove you wrong.
I waste plenty of time here.
but the Big Lead is a good e-blog.
However, I can't stand any thing written by Duffy (for various different reasons).
I agree. It's funny - for professional sports they tend to be interesting, but when it comes to college sports, they just fall off the map (especially when it comes to teams not in the top 10-15). Ty Duffy, in particular, feels like he needs to speak for all UM fans because he attended the school, even though last time I checked UM has a significant enough e-presence that the fanbase doesn't need defending.
The problem with thebiglead is that their two main writers are mostly idiots. The editor himself never appears to have an intelligent comment on anything and tyduffy likes to use big words, criticize everything under the sun, and uses half-truths to support his own biases. In short he's the jay mariotti of sports blogs.
The guys they have/had doing the weekend posts I find to be generally pretty good. They are what the current deadspin cast strive to be but fail miserably.
TBL himself writes. It's pretty cool that TBL pops up in the comments and address criticism of his posts, etc. CRM and Sports Hernia (weekend guys) are good too.
I don't know. I've always felt that that TBL rehashes common knowledge or generally accepted thoughts and passes it off as commentary. More often than not, his "analysis" leaves me scratching my head, wondering if he really understands the intracacies of various sports (mostly football and basketball, which are the two sports I feel I know really well).
That doesn't necessarily make him an idiot, for me, it's all his non sport comments that earn him that title.
I do respect the fact that he pops his head into the comments to defend his thoughts or examine why people disagree. (For the record, I also completely understand why blogers don't do this).
The only reasons I read TBL is becasue I like the morning link dump, saves me a trip to ESPN, and I'm too lazy to find a national/all sports blog that's better (Though I like TSB).
nice zinger on Jay Mariotti
These types of remarks are unfortunate, especially being that Demar is a young individual who is trying to learn from and move on from his mistakes.
As I know some players/recruits read this blog, I hope Demar knows that all of use true fans here are MgoBlog are behind him both as a Michigan football player and as person.
The support that he will recieve from the UM football team, coaches, staff, and this fan base will be the strongest he has ever seen and will ever seen. (besides his family of course)
He and Lisa Horne should get a room.
...be bookmarking some of these articles. Then in 4 years when Demar wins the Heisman and is a 1st Round Draft pick we or the WLA can run a nice little: "The following people have no journalistic merit" piece.
I personally am looking forward to the day I can send taunting emails to Birkett about how Demar's NFL contract pays more per year than Birkett sees in a decade. I'm petty like that.
4 years to know who has journalistic integrity around these parts.
I'm hoping Demar Dorsey has a great career and becomes a great citizen and wins the Heisman and gets to the NFL and becomes a great father and husband one day.
However, this is reality. We can't expect Dorsey to be treated with kid gloves. He did some things that even he agrees were wrong. And yes, the legal system dealt with it, but when is that EVER the end of it? Getting in legal trouble tarnishes your name, sometimes it prevents you from getting a job, etc.
The legal system dealt with Kobe Bryant, but a lot of people still don't like what he did. The legal system dealt with Brian Griese, but we all know that he got caught driving drunk.
It's honorable that people are coming to his defense and want him to have a fresh start. But let's be honest here - nobody else made these choices for Dorsey but him. He's going to have to take his lumps. And in a few years, when there are (hopefully) no more incidents, a lot of people will have forgotten about those incidents from when he was in his mid-teens.
...occured when he was a minor. The legal system typically seals the records of minors and gives them a fresh slate once they turn 18. Most posters on this board did stupid shit when they were young. Underage drinking and the classic fake ID were my big ones, which of course isn't the same as theft, but still illegal.
Anyway historically kids are given a second chance upon turning 18. Their records are cleared, it doesn't haunt in life, it doesn't haunt them when getting a job, etc. You get some juvenile indiscretions and they go away.
I agree Dorsey needs to be called out, it needs to be made clear that Michigan is not say the Miami of the 1980s where people look the other way. This is a fresh start, clean slate and a chance to do right in a new enviroment.
People have gone beyond calling out Dorsey though. They're using him as an avenue to go after Richrod with the "Richrod recruits players of low moral fiber" and other crap lines. Their avenue of attack is a kid who did some stupid shit, but as far as I know he has two closed cases on his record, but no convictions.
Dorsey doesn't deserve those kind of attacks. The attack dog mentality Birkett showed at the signing press conference, the Live Blog comments etc. IMHO people like Birkett and other comments deserved to be called out when they try to use a kid as their stalking horse to attack the program or specific members of the coaching staff.
Fair enough, but we're talking about the court of public opinion here. Those juvenile things "we all did" in high school may not be broadcast over the news and the internet because nobody cares/cared about us that much.
But your friends, family members, teachers, etc. know that you got caught throwing a party. Or they know you were charged with statutory rape because that girl wasn't quite old enough, even though she consented. They know you smashed those mailboxes.
Your name was tarnished for those things, and 5 or 10 or 15 years later, most people probably forget. Or they only remember when reminded. But Dorsey being new to the scene, this is THE BIG STORY. And once he's here and a decent citizen for a few years, this will all be a distant memory.
I agree that media members shouldn't be making jokes at a kid's expense. I'm not defending that. But Dorsey's name is going to be dragged through the mud, whether we fight it or not. Jail time isn't the only crime deterrent - there's also the factor of public embarrassment, and that's what he's going through now.
Like I said, I hope he's a great citizen and wins the Jim Thorpe Award and a big success story in 3-5 years. But this is the way the world works.
If Dorsey's name is going to be dragged through the mud because that's how the world works, then Birkett is also going to get hammered over this, because that's also how the world works. And still, I don't think Dorsey *should* be dragged through the mud (presumably he has been already in Florida), and Birkett should be hammered for his Fail.
this thread does not exist. That is todays media.
If he was a Carr recruit, this thread might not exist because we weren't so involved with recruiting through the internet back then. Each year, recruiting gets more and more stalkerish because of Facebook, Google, the increase of recruiting attention, etc.
And Marshall McLuhan is proven correct once again- our technology always grows and outstrips our virtue. Not only would we have not had as much access to Mr. Dorsey, we wouldn't have access to Mr. Birkett's stream of consciousness in a forum/chat.
And now that we have more access to both we have no idea how to handle all of this new information in ways that are virtuous and strengthen lives and communities.
I'm not disagreeing with your sentiment, in fact I'm not sure that this is even in response to your post. I just happened to hit the reply button on your comment.
Kobe Bryant is one of, if not the most high profile athlete in basketball today, and was at the time of his ordeal. True, the media dragged him through the mud, but now that we are several years removed from it we almost never hear about the allegations against him. Not to mention, he was an adult when those allegations came out.
Demar Dorsey's decisions came as a high school student (regardless of whether or not he was an athlete or not, he is a hs student) years before he became an athlete at a major college football program. He's not even here yet. For a reporter to take what a kid does at 16 years old and project that to be the determinant for the rest of his life, is preposterous.
Add on top of that, these are paid "professionals" are cracking jokes at a kid's expense. They are doing this for a laugh. Did ESPN anchors crack rape jokes on the air after the Kobe Bryant ordeal came out? No. Should hack journalists crack jokes at the expense of a child? No.
Yes, Demar made some bad choices. But he's trying to remove himself from that scene and wants nothing but a fair shake at a fresh start. People like Foster and Birkett are unwilling to give him that fresh start. To make things worse, they are trying to profit off of his mistakes. That is a prime example of douchebaggery.
Sometimes I don't have time, sometime things are too emotional, strident, etc. But these are a couple of solid posts. Easy to read and contemplate.
I've had this fantasy lately ... If I had an extra wad of cash I might offer it to the programmer who could write code that - after a painful M loss or other 'crisis' - would allow all us MGoBros to post our emotional cathartic comments/diatribes/general what-have-you, but would automatically translate the comments and tone them down by about 10 or 15%.
I agree with your sentiment that Dorsey should have to take responsibility for his actions, and that fair analysis and comment on his past is acceptable. But at the same time, there is no reason why he needs to have his name continually dragged through the mud by men and women looking to land an (unfunny) joke or generate pageviews.
As for guys like Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods, those are grown men making millions of dollars a year, and while that shouldn't make a difference in how they are viewed publicly, it is a bit easier to take shots at them; they can afford to shut those voices out. Dorsey is a kid who is just trying to play football and, hopefully, make it to the NFL one day. I'll be the first to question this decision if he is guilty of some infraction while at UM, but at the same time I'd like to hope that people can learn from their mistakes and still turn out alright.
My instincts tell me if Demar was looking to continue down the path he was on he would have stayed in Florida. The fact that he has decided to come to Michigan leads me to believe he is looking to focus on making something of his self. Unfortunately the local media is making this task difficult. In the words of Lou Brown I hope he hangs around and gives the media a nice big shit burger!
I think there is truth to that thought. It would have been far easier for him to stay in Florida, still hang out with old friends and then just as easily get back into some trouble. He took an opportunity to go farther from home. He will, hopefully, have some better behaved friends/teammates that will all stay out of trouble. I hope he attends his classes and works out well for the team, in the long run his decision to go away for school may well lead to a much better life. Media needs to lay of the kid and let him just "stay on target".
bump to diary.
That shouldn't even count as a crime... I mean who hasn't done that?
Garage-beer shopping is about as common as pool hopping and/or lawn ornament "redistribution" around these parts.
As for the gist of this article, Dorsey has earned some amount of scrutiny, however nothing remotely like the douchebaggery he's received. He'll take some lumps now because some in the media and populace are immature ass-clowns who are willing to kick sand in the eye of kid...but hopefully this adversity just makes him stronger and more resolved to follow through on the positive changes that he seems committed to making.
for bring race into this. But this story seems to reek of it.
Garage hopping, underage drinking/drugs are common for white people, actually my friends love talking about these "crimes" we committed during high school. No one really cares about this at all.
But when we hear a black person has been charged with a crime (any crime) they are immediately a danger to society...
My gut tells me if demar were white, we would be hearing stories about how he heroically got his life together and found jesus...not a bunch of snide comments that paint the picture of a menace to society.
If you're looking for racism, you're bound to find it.
But to conclude that this has anything to race is a giant leap, in my opinion. It's not like anybody's making stuff up about Dorsey. He actually took part in these incidents.
Sure, it *might* be inspired by a little bit of racism, but there's really no way to tell, because Rodriguez hasn't recruited a white player with a criminal background (as far as we know). The bottom line is that Dorsey made some bad choices, and this is one of the consequences of his actions.
Also, I'd love to know if any of these authors ever drank alcohol before they were 21 or smoked pot/ingested some other illicit drug. Because those are also crimes, and depending on how much was consumed and what he/she did afterwards, the "danger "to society and the potential punishment could have been as stiff as what Dorsey did.
I'm not absolving the kid for what he did, but I do think that the wringing of hands and the gnashing of teeth over what his admission to UM represents (and the carte-blanche it apparently gives the media to take shots at him and this program) is unnecessary.
is what we used to call it. No stealing anything except alcohol and meat. A dude once stole golf clubs and we made him sneak them back in b/c thats just not cool.
In my opinion these guys are entitled to their opinion. They are welcome to write informed pieces on Dorsey's past, how they think he shouldn't have been recruited, or how they think he will be bad for the team. Any informed article with opinion mixed with fact is OK by me. No one has to agree, and they can give their opinion.
I think the reason an apology was warranted was b/c the comment was completely off topic, sarcastic, and demeaning to a young adult for no apparent reason. I believe that, more than anything is why an apology was necessary.
I'm really not understanding the obsession these guys have with Dorsey. Let a kid live, I mean he's still in high school. Why is everyone casting judgment?
What kind of society do we live in that people get paid to criticize and attack the character of teenagers they don't even know?
This kid is like the anti-Tebow in the eyes of Media. I hope they eat their words.
you just made me like Dorsey even more.
These guys (sports media in general) need to find a way to attract and retain customers - us. The best way to do that is to be "edgy" or controversial.
It is unfortunate that a young athlete needs to be the target of this, but they also get the accolades when they do something well.
If Dorsey was not a great athlete, but just another incoming freshman, we would never hear about this.
Chalk one up to the sports media machine. Quotas need to be made. Stories need to be written. Someone has to be the story.
I don't think the authors even buy into their own crap - but that's really not the point - is it?
Sports media has become its own industry, and Dorsey is just the raw materials needed to make money.
on the big lead's site - but great take by the OP.
IME Duffy needs to step down from the soapbox.
with the soap
Here's a link and an excerpt about adolescent brain development. The link only goes to the search because the complete link isn't copyable.
The link is a .gov link titled "adolescent brain development." The search was "teen moral brain development."
"Amygdala and nucleus acumbens (limbic system within the prefrontal cortex) tend to dominate the prefrontal cortex functions– this results in a decrease in reasoned thinking and an increase in impulsiveness.
Because of immature brains, adolescents do not handle social pressure, instinctual urges, and other stresses the way adults do.
A major part of adolescence is learning how to assess risk and consequences — adolescents are not yet skilled at these tasks..."
That is why teens are seldom tried as adults, and why juvy records are sealed if the teen grows into a responsible adult. The adolescent brain isn't sufficiently developed to enable a person to make the best decisions on his or her own.
Basically, a teen's environment is very important in making decisions. It's not like Dorsey hung out with a great "crowd" when he was younger. As someone already posted, his decision to attend UM indicates that he doesn't want to hang out with that "crowd" anymore.
I think he deserves tabla rasa. If he makes bad decisions in a great enviroment at eighteen, it's all on him and he should suffer the consequences. But we really have no right to hold him responsible for something when the legal system says he has fulfilled his obligations to it.
Your comments about the environment remind me of the Eddie Murphy Dan Akroyd movie, Trading Places. Eddie is a street beggar who pretends to be paralyzed. Dan is a Harvard-educated Wall Street Commodities broker. Two rich guys make a bet that if the Eddie and Dan traded their places in society, then they would change accordingly. when they do trade places--sure enough--Eddie becomes a highly principled and astute investor, while Dan ends up selling drugs, living with a hooker, and getting arrested.
If DD went to MSU and had peer pressure to join the ski-masked mob, then he might be at risk. Sure, he will ultimately be responsible for his own choices. But now, he may benefit from an environment very different from places like MSU or his home town.
That's not a given, however, It's also up to the UM team to provide a good environment for him and everybody else. I hope some of the upper classmen step up and provide not only leadership but good role models. That will be important not just to DD but to avoid the attrition that often weakens teams.
+1 just a very good read
Demar is going to be a f'in star at U of M. He's going to hear worse when we go to play at OSU or MSU. I'm sure he'll get over it.
Great post. But are admissions offices really "dusky"?
Actually, I worked in UM admissions for 4 years in the basement. It is quite dusky. Also, the part about how all the other people get second chances without anyone making a stink about it is very, very true. Sometimes, they'll get 3rd, 4th, or even 5th chances if mommy and daddy have enough dough to ease the concerns of admissions. The fact that these kids in athletics get a second chance is really less of an issue of equality and meritocracy than it is with the group of students admitted because of legacy/wealth.
Unfortunately, the reality is that Dorsey will have to keep his nose pretty clean, because people, including these journalists, will be watching to see if he falls.
I have consistently been in favor of Dorsey coming to Michigan. Immature kids do stupid things, and need second chances.
I am annoyed with the practice of some in the MSM to obsess about Demar, UM recruiting, and slander Dorsey's name.
My only remaining issue is with those who want Dorsey to get a second chance, but won't give it to idiot reporters (or posters) who say/write something stupid. It is inconsistent and unfair to say that Dorsey should be given a second chance, but to write off reporters (cf Birkett) who make a dumb mistake.
It also is the case that we should be charitable with young recruits having a checkered past who go elsewhere.
It also makes me think that Carr and Bo and other old school coaches were wise to keep player infractions quiet and impose severe internal punishment to those who made stupid decisions while students at UM. I'm guessing they have given many more athletes second chances than we'll ever know.
Holding grudges, refusing to bury the hatchet, not letting bygones be bygones . . . seldom if ever bears good fruit.
Regardless, I loved the OP, and thought it addressed the issue at hand exceedingly well.
The only hatchet job I read was this post. Generally, when you spend three times as long arguing someone's point as the person made making it, you made a mess of it. Here are the two things I said.
1. The title of my post was "Dorsey deserves second chance..." Give him a second chance, but he has to earn a clean slate. Breaking into homes with specialized tools and stealing TVs and computers is a serious crime. We all did stupid things as teenagers. None of us broke into someone's home with specialized equipment and stole things worth thousands of dollars. Your equation of the two is painfully, painfully stupid.
2. If you're going to censor Birkett, censor him for making a joke. Don't act as though the joke had no basis in truth.
I wasn't "uninformed." You disagreed with me. You did a poor job arguing it, and thanks to the Internet will bask in the adulation of those with like-minded sentiment. Congrats.
This is generally one of the best sites to go to for Michigan information. I'm sorry to see Brian's standards have slipped.
I had always wondered if you read MGoBlog or, at least, if you commented. Although I am often not a fan of your work on TBL, I must appreciate the fact that you came here to defend yourself, and wish you would comment more, if for no other reason than it gives people a chance to debate with you/probe your opinions in this forum, as opposed to your "home" forum of TBL.
But...throwing in a jab at Brian at the end- ?? Come on. This place isn't like TBL or other blogs insofar as the system in place for allowing people to create content. Saying Brian has "let the standards slip" is incorrect, really, unless you think allowing user-created content amounts to letting the standards slip, because Brian generally won't ban someone unless they aren't adding anything to the discourse or are advocating violence toward student-athletes or exhibiting troll-like behavior.
Also, re: Birkett, are we discussing "censoring" him, which would be, obviously, filtering his comments on the liveblog where the comment originally ocurred? Or do we mean "censure," as in to publicly reprimand him? I do not think he was censored in this case- the comment got through, obviously, and he had editorial control over the liveblog. He was, however, censured by AA.com in the statement they released.
He earned one when he was acquitted...
He doesn't owe you...