Almost exactly one year ago, there was another Football Bust controversy involving Rich Rodriguez. For those with memories of less than 352 days, it was December 7, 2009, and a day or so after the Bust, after which Mark Snyder of the Free Press had tried to blow up a story that Rich Rodriguez had mentioned 'Hurricane Katrina' in his speech to the team and the guests.
The import of Snyder's column was that it had somehow been a strange reference by Rich Rodriguez, sort of inappropriate and self-pitying, perhaps. What Snyder did not say, and what was not well understood until it was reported on MGoBlog, and then picked up by Dave Birkett of AA.com (ironically, Birkett has now taken a job with the Freep), that Rodriguez's "hurricane" reference (I don't think Rich ever once said the word "Katrina") immediately followed the comments of Regent Kathryn White, an African-American attorney from Detroit and a WSU law prof, who had gone into an extended metaphorical reference to Katrina in her own address, as the representative of the Regents. And Rodriguez, having personally spent some years in New Orleans while a coach at Tulane, had just a bit of personal recollection to share on the subject ot New Orleans.
But naturally, the Mark Snyder Rich Rodriguez/Katrina story went out on about 850 linked news services and news outlets. And as is the case with the Free Press, their malevolence can never be underestimated. It is thought (Snyder has never fessed up) that Snyder himself did not hear Regent White's comments, but that he was out in the hallway doing other interviews, and came into the main ballroom just in time to hear Rodriguez. Where he got the kind of quote that he and Mike Rosenberg would have wanted.
Michigan's Athletic Department was pissed off by this; the MGoBlue.com webmasters immediately posted Regent White's video comments before Rich Rodriguez's comments. Too late; the mainstream press was running with the Freep's hyperlinked story.
Dave Birkett, who now draws a paycheck from a thoroughly disreputable garbage-heap of a paper, actually did some fine reporting for AA.com at the time. Here's his December, 2009 story: