EDIT: By popular demand, "SIAP" removed from subject
DetNews with a Surprisingly Balanced Fab5 Article
SIAP is the stupidest thing on mgoblog in my opinion.
The reason it's surprisingly balanced is because John Bacon is the author.
Also, the Detroit News in general doesn't seem to go for sensationalistic Michigan-bashing pieces.
that's because it's written by john u. bacon.
And while I have nothing in particular against the Detroit News, the paper gets almost zero credit for this. It was written as one of John's radio commentaries. It just happened to be so good, that the News (rightly) printed it, with the copyright acknowlegment.
I might take issue with John's harsh judgment on Fisher. John really ought to ask why, after practically living with the Fab Five, and essentially being Chris Webber's Boswell, Mitch Albom didn't pick up on what the federal investigation later determined? As to what reporters like Bacon determined within 24 hours after the M-14 rollover, that was well after the Fab Five. It is assuredly fair to ask about that with Fisher; but I am not sure the answer is as clear as john presumes.
One other bothersome line was this:
I started writing stories about them after they left Michigan, and quickly discovered they'd known all along what they were doing, and did a lot of it merely to gain a competitive advantage.
Just because Mitch Albom's an idiot, doesn't excuse Fisher. Albom's not the investigative journalist type. He'd rather write mushy pieces about MSU basketball players attending a final four that...forget it.
Re: your other bothersome quote. Just my opinion, but I thought that he was talking about their tactics, such as the bald heads, baggy shorts, black socks/shoes, and trash talk. The look was more than just a fashion statement, they used the look and the antics as ways to intimidate and rent space in their opponents' heads. I think that's what he was getting at when he says that "they knew what they were doing all along.".
And it's just nice to all gather 'round the campfire, hold hands and recall together what a putz Mitch Albom is.
We might add, that "Michael Rosenberg is not the investigative journalist type" either, eh?
For the last line you quoted, I believe Bacon is refering to the acts of the Fab Five on the court, i.e. the trash talk, the stare downs, the general swagger.
That's exactly what I thought, too, and I was fumbling with blockquote prompts in the plain-text editor when you posted, which ended my editing effort.
Because apart from what Jalen himself said about the art and science of trashtalking, I'm not aware of any "competitive advantage."
But that paragraph by Bacon was a bit confusing, especially when "competitive advantage" might be read as one of the NCAA's many terms of art.
I don't understand all of the excuse-making for Steve Fisher.
Every account of Ed Martin makes it clear that he was very out front about giving money to Webber and dozens of other athletes. He had a particularly close connection to athletes at Southwestern, where Jalen Rose attended and Perry Watson coached. It's also clear that it was widely known that Ed Martin ran a numbers operation in Detroit-area auto plants.
There's evidence that Fisher knew that Ed Martin was important to his players. That's why he gave Martin such extensive access to the program, including hotel rooms in the Michigan block of rooms at the Final Four. Indeed, Fisher can't plausibly claim he was ignorant about Martin's relationships with Rose and Webber.
There's also evidence that Fisher knew that there was something shady about Ed Martin and that he deliberately distanced himself from Martin. Why else would Fisher forge Perry Watson's signature on authorizations for ticket requests for Ed Martin?
Fisher was in a position to know about Ed Martin's role, with both Rose and Webber and with post-Fab-Five players like Taylor and Bullock. But there's nothing to suggest that Fisher ever did anything to try to separate his players or program from Ed Martin. If anything, the connection between Martin and the program got closer over time.
The evidence is overwhelming that Fisher either knew about Martin or he was wilfully blind to what Martin was doing because such blindness gave him an advantage in getting players. I think Bacon was quite restrained in his judgment about Steve Fisher. Probaby more than Fisher deserves.
And another thing . . .
Your description of Albom as "essentially being Chris Webber's Boswell" is spectacularly inapt, even if you said it with tongue in cheek. First, it's bad taste to compare Mitch Albom with Thomas Boswell, or Chris Webber with Samuel Johnson, or the kind of crap that Mitch Albom churns out with Life of Johnson. Second, as another poster has noted, Mitch Albom writes pretty stories that tug at heartstrings. He's not particularly interested in facts or in anything that detracts from his ready-made sentiments. As with Fisher, it was against Albom's interest to recognize what was going on with Ed Martin. So he looked the other way or pretended that he did not see what was going on in front of him. Guys like Ed Martin don't fit into the pretty stories that Mitch Albom gets paid for telling. So he doesn't see them.
There are of course many, many journalistic offenses to lay at the doorstep of Albom and the Freep. The reason for my choice of language was Albom's deliberate choice in Fab Five to play on the theme of Chris Webber with no pizza money, standing outside of a store that was selling #4 jersyes for $40. Which in hindsight is really ironic.
a Western Dolphins type press conference. "There goes Happy heading to the cash machine."
I think to say that Fisher has not "paid" for his mistakes at Michigan is not entirely accurate. He was relegated to the college basketball fringe and has coached a team for over a decade that just one their first tournament game. Fisher has kept his mouth shut and earned back respect that he lost. He has never made excuses for what happened at Michigan and has never proclaimed himself to be an entirely innocent man.
Fisher did not know anything? Come on! You are the head coach of a major basketball program and you do not know that who this Ed Martin is or that your players are driving around in $35,000 vehicles. It is his job to know. He hired Perry Watson and everything that came along with him. This is not about kids getting in trouble at a bar some night, this about players taking thousands of dollars illegally.
Watch the movie "Blue Chips" and will see that Nick Nolte's character is Steve Fisher. A coach under tremendous pressure to win and he just steps back and says "I do not care how the players get, just let them come." Bacon's article is right on and Fisher has never been a man to set up to admit what he did.