Get A Life Comment Count

Brian November 19th, 2008 at 11:36 AM

The last couple days have seen a minor internet hubbub about Rich Rodriguez's statement that Michigan fans should "get a life," or something like that. That's all 95% of the people who have seen this story have comprehended. In their minds, Rich Rodriguez sat down at a press conference and said "everyone who's upset about 3-8 needs to get a life."

He did not.

On Saturday someone posted this on Rivals:

"Way to tough it out McGuffie. Maybe his little fingers were cold?"

Someone else posted this on Scout:

"I've never been more excited for senior day

goodbye and good riddance."

No links, as both are locked behind paywalls (and the Rivals one is probably lost in the ether by now) but it's not like anyone familiar with the depravity you can find on any message board more confrontational than Hello Kitty Forever is surprised by this genre of comment. You could dig them up on most message boards after a horrific loss. I do it on a weekly basis

The men who said these things are in need of anger management or a kitten or something to do after a loss other than get so angry steam comes out their ears and they post stuff about amateurs their mother would slap them for. You might describe this something as a "life."

Rich Rodriguez was asked about them because all years of struggle must be followed by stock question #49: "Do you read the horrible things written about you on the internet?" Rodriguez responds:

This is a public position. It's not like a politician, I'm not running for office. I mean, God bless them. They choose to have that public scrutiny. As coaches, we know it's part of the job, but we don't choose to have it. Most of us would rather not.

But the biggest thing that is disappointing is when somebody, not necessarily the media, but when a fan or somebody would make it personal to your coach or to your players. Especially to the players, because those guys are amateurs. When they would make a personal comment or say something that's not related to coaching or not related to playing.

I don't get on message boards. I don't think anybody, any of our players or family should. But it's amazing some of the things that people would say or amazing things people will yell at you of a personal nature. You almost want to tell them get a life. I mean, there's a whole lot bigger problems. You lose a ballgame, and then you look at the economy or after every game I usually get to meet one of our veterans or somebody. You know, to take it personal on a coach or player to me, I don't think it's ever right.

But I'm glad fans have passion, but it's still kind of  I guess a lot more bolder. You all would know. It's a lot more bolder what people would say and write. Not you all, but bloggers or whatever, than it used to be. We've seen it coming for a few years.

Absolutely, right? The saddest thing about the internet is this sort of anonymous hatred. I love the internet. It gave me a writing outlet and a job and online scrabble. But, man, trawling through message boards after a loss in search of some scrap of useful news and/or analysis is depressing. It kills my productivity. It makes me want to do something else. And it's because of these little hate factories that just lose their head and spew.*

Here Rodriguez talks about this, gives a reasonable answer across four paragraphs, and even manages to conclude it with "but I'm glad fans have passion."  He is obviously talking about that small segment of the fanbase that runs to post bile on the internet and almost seems happier when the team loses. Guess which part of this four-paragraph response got put in an AP story?

“It’s amazing some of the things that people would say (on a message board) or yell at you of a personal nature,” Rodriguez said Monday. “You almost want to tell them, `Get a life.’

“There’s a whole lot bigger problems. Look at the economy.”

Cue sarcastic responses from around the internet. Here's one from increasingly retarded Deadspin:

He's right. The economy is dreadful in the Great Lakes State right now. That's probably why your fans don't like paying $60 a pop to watch your comically inept offense destroy everything they hold dear. Or that their school had to pay $2.5 million to West Virginia University just to get you out of the contract you bailed on. Or that you're earning another $2.5M to deliver the most losses in school history. (And they have a lot of history.) One fan even has to sell his allegiance to pay the rent.

That guy's a Michigan State fan, so fine. I get that I have to think Mark Dantonio is a ridiculous insecure hothead who is just so perfectly Sparty No(!)* and this guy has to think Rich Rodriguez is a heartless mercenary cheerleader-nailing guy.

Then there's this from Kevin Donahue (emphasis mine):

I have just four letters for Coach Rod: STFU.

Is it unthinkable to this college football fan that the one guy who cashed in more than anyone else in this sport in the last twelve months would dare question the passion of fans. Hey d-face, you are where you are today BECAUSE fans care about this game.

I'm not even a Michigan fan... and this pisses me off BIG TIME.

Rich Rodriguez takes some time to talk about the internet's depressing tendency towards mocking and anger in some depth. The media takes the three sentences sure to generate the most outrage and create the dumbest image of Rodriguez, and the internet responds with mocking and anger.

I mean… what can you even say here? The way information spreads is messed up. Thanks to the restrictions of newshole the AP writer has to snip out 90% of what Rodriguez says. He picks the lines sure to cause commotion when taken out of context. Thanks to the epic fail of the newspaper industry, everyone with the story headlines it as sensationally as possible in order to get their OMG hits. Given the opportunity to whack the piñata, the internet does so. The whole thing is depressing from stem to stern.

You know, the media complained for 13 years about how gruff and inaccessible Lloyd Carr was. Then they get a guy like Rodriguez who's far more open and they heap crap on him. The net impact of this will be to make Rodriguez gruff and inaccessible.

I don't understand. Unless you assume that the people running newspapers cannot model the future beyond tomorrow's newspaper, it makes no sense. Oh. Ohhhhh. It appears I do understand.


*(The comments here can be vicious at times because there is a cabal of people committed to relentlessly policing stupidity. Sometimes I wish it didn't have to be like that, but when I go read comments other places I am swiftly disabused of that notion. The cost in lack of civility to people outside the tribe is far outweighed by the maintenance of a coherent identity. No regular here would dare post the things that lead off this post and if they did they would be ridiculed by a dozen people before I had the opportunity to deploy the banhammer. This has happened multiple times. Everything I delete already has several responses asking the poster to FOAD.)

**(Okay, seriously: seriously. No, seriously: if Michigan wins on Saturday Michigan State plays Penn State for a trip to the Rose Bowl. Which is THE ROSE BOWL. Dantonio's response to the question "are you rooting for Michigan?"

"I'm not rooting for Michigan… I have too many good friends and too many people that wouldn't let me back into their house to let me do that. So Go Bucks."

Seriously. Sparty, man. Sparty.)


El Trotsky

November 19th, 2008 at 11:50 AM ^

God I'm glad you posted the whole text of what he said, as I hadn't read it in any of the mainstream outlets. I went from agreeing with him, but wishing he didn't say it publicly to absolutely agreeing with him and glad that he said it after reading the whole thing. The way this has been portrayed is just garbage.


November 19th, 2008 at 11:53 AM ^

Besides grammar ("more bolder"), that is probably the best answer that Rodriguez could've given that's still honest. In fact, it sounds like that is extremely honest which gives him bonus points in my book but is apparently a poor strategy to employ when speaking with the media.

Since I've only been a rabid superfan for the last 5 years or so (now with a Brian Cook endorsed black belt for staying through the whole Northwestern game... while sick... and needing to work on my senior project) I don't know how much Lloyd attitude towards the media changed over time. I love the "What kind of stupid question is that?" but I don't know if he became more prickley towards the media over time as the head coach. Anyone have any insight into this?

It will be interesting to see if after this year, Rodriguez does get a little bit more clammed up and Lloyd like (as Brian suggests).

Oh, and there's a small typo. Your second asterisk point in the article needs a second asterisk, right now they both have only 1.

Michigan Arrogance

November 19th, 2008 at 12:07 PM ^

just STOP IT!. yea, you heard right. STOP reading it, STOP buying it, STOP listening to it. it's all garbage. their purpose isn't to accurately report the news. it's to make money. they do this NOT by accurately reporting the news, but by creating news out of nothing. by reporting excerpts out of context b/c they only have 30sec or 11 inch segments or whatever.

that said, most of the problem is idiots reading those articles and not realizing any of this.


November 19th, 2008 at 12:10 PM ^

What a chodeface. Somehow I get the impression he HATES any person even remotely associated with the University of Michigan. The more I read about this guy (and the things he says), the more I think he is a PERFECT match for Sparty: unfailingly paranoid with a massive inferiority complex. I have no doubt in my heart that this guy would vote against UM going to the Rose Bowl if a scenario like what happened in 1973 played out again.

I think Mark Dantonio is the guy who needs to get a life. I honestly cannot believe he would rather root for tO$U to beat us this weekend, thus eliminating his team from going to the GRANDDADDY OF THEM ALL because his head is so far up his ass about hating Michigan. What a dick.

Edit: Unless his words were taken out of context somehow.


November 19th, 2008 at 12:27 PM ^

I mean, I doubt they were taken out of context. I run a college football board on another website and the resident MSU fan said something very similar. To be fair, he actually said he was torn on who to root for in the MSU-PSU game (~!) because he hated OSU so much. I said I was sorry but I was solidly behind Penn Sshtate on that one. He said it was fine because beating Michigan makes everything OK.

So yeah, Beating Michigan > Rose Bowl. Weird.

Sgt. Wolverine

November 19th, 2008 at 12:34 PM ^

A (levelheaded) Spartan fan friend of mine played a round of golf with Dantonio a while back, and he said Dantonio does have a seething, irrational hatred of Michigan at all times. He also said he came away from that round of golf with a lower opinion of Dantonio than he had before because that seething, irrational hatred made him sort of unpleasant to be around.


November 19th, 2008 at 6:07 PM ^

Getting to the Rose Bowl would be wonderful. But if the choice is between going to the Rose Bowl and getting blown out by USC or going to, say, the Orange Bowl and destroying whichever team comes out of the ACC mess (which is a possibility if MSU wins, OSU wins, and Oregon State loses one somewhere), I might be happier with the game we actually stand a chance of winning. The Big Ten doesn't really need another year of getting hammered in the Rose Bowl, and much as I hate to say it, MSU would get hammered if they played USC. Penn State and Ohio State would at least stand a chance. (Not that it's likely to matter, as this assumes we beat Penn State on the road, which we haven't done since the 1960s.) Then again, if Oregon State wins out, that's a game that wouldn't terrify me so much.

Of course, a coach can't say that and shouldn't even be thinking it. I like that Dantonio's focused on making this into a real rivalry, but he might be a little too focused on it.


November 19th, 2008 at 12:09 PM ^

Brian, you just ripped on the media for selective quoting.

Dantonio said "I'm going to focus on our task at hand here and worry about the things we can control."

The rest was the stupid part, but he gave the real coach-speak response before jokingly saying he would be disowned if he publicly supported Michigan. The collective UM fanbase is so damn sensitive these days...

You can't passionately denounce the media and then do the same thing. If you're going to give Rodriguez a free pass on his quote, just say so.


November 19th, 2008 at 12:56 PM ^

Right on. Though Gerry DiNardo (sp?) had a good point. Dantonio doesn't necessarily believe what he is saying, the statement is simply a political maneuver to intensify the rivalry and thus give meaning to his pathetic existence


November 19th, 2008 at 12:34 PM ^

I don't get how that changes the meaning of what Dantonio said. He's still saying he's rooting for the Buckeyes even though it'd help MSU's Rose Bowl chances if Michigan won, that just adds that the usual coachspeak that he understands it's out of his control and he needs to focus on his team winning. He still rooting for OSU against his team's best interests just to spite Michigan. It's still perfectly Sparty No(!)


November 19th, 2008 at 1:26 PM ^

I did cut out that small section of coachspeak, but does that change the intended effect of the response at all? I don't think so. He was asked if he would root for Michigan since they're in a situation where Michigan winning would give them an avenue to the Rose Bowl. He, point blank, said "no."


November 19th, 2008 at 4:33 PM ^

Dantonio said he's focused on things he can control, rather than cheerleading for a rival. At the end of the day, the Michigan-OSU outcome doesn't matter if he can't beat PSU.

Unless you honestly believe his friends would not talk to him again for cheering for us, I think the rest was a joke. Non-issue in my mind.


November 19th, 2008 at 6:52 PM ^

Here's the actual tape. ~3 minutes in:…

As I said, the context is much different. You are spreading misleading information in a piece lamenting the spread of misleading info. Love your work, but I'm not afraid of pointing out your inconsistency on this issue.


November 19th, 2008 at 1:29 PM ^

Unless Dantonio had said "What I'm about to say is the exact opposite of what I mean," and then said "go Bucks" then you would have a point. But Brian's point has nothing to do with Dantonio focusing or not focusing on the PSU game, it's the fact that he said, in no other interpretable way, "I would rather trade my seniors' and whole team's opportunity to play in the ROSE BOWL just to see Michigan lose." Yeah, he's a classy guy, ain't he?


November 19th, 2008 at 12:12 PM ^

that they should all give the Seniors a hug.

Man, Rich needs a hug.

DiNardo's response to this on the Big Ten Network made me want to punch that old fucking piece of shit in the face.

Great stuff, Brian. Keep up the good fight.

Promote RichRod

November 19th, 2008 at 12:36 PM ^

in all its glory. I am a political junkie and I see how the media can latch on to stupid memes and actually ruin careers and generally fuck people over because soundbites overrule context. Sensationalism outweighs thoughtfulness and critical insight. I mean, if you were a Pennsylvania Democrat voting in the primaries, you were convinced that Obama thought you were a bitter, gun-toting Bible-thumper if you opposed him. The context showed a completely different sentiment behind the statement. But who cares, right? As long as you clip the quote just right you can make some money off it.

Promote RichRod

November 19th, 2008 at 1:07 PM ^

on here. Murtha is a fucking dumbshit any way you put it though. The point is that the media is at its worst covering electoral politics (on both sides, I'm not saying the media has a conservative slant and I won't pull a Rush and start screaming about the DAMN LIBRUL METEOR either) due to its craving for controversy and inability to provide context to anything.


November 19th, 2008 at 12:46 PM ^

In your rush to condemn Brian, you forgot to bring logic with you to the party.

The "coach speak" that your panties are all in a bunch over being omitted from Brian's quote, have ZERO effect on the statement: "Go Bucks!"

Rodriguez spent 4 paragraphs talking about the internet culture and how rotten fans can be now. He even followed the quoted comment up with: "At least they have passion." Where was that in the AP quote?

God help you if you can't see the difference. I mean you had to have thought about it, analyzed it before posting here? Maybe you should have taken a few more minutes with that analysis.

I'll tell you what, if my coach went public with something to the effect of he'd rather miss out on the Rose Bowl so long as a rival lost a game? I'd lose respect for him. Further, it really does show you how small State's aspirations are. They want to continue to define themselves by Michigan. That's sad, man.

zoltan the destroyer

November 19th, 2008 at 1:03 PM ^

Your analysis is infinitely better than everybody else's. You really captured the true essence of these media snippets. You have effectively, logically, and condescendingly elucidated the actual intent and feelings of both coaches from five main words and media-directed questioning. Amazing.

Rush N Attack

November 19th, 2008 at 1:18 PM ^

analyzing this?

"I'm not rooting for Michigan," said head coach Mark Dantonio, who has spent 11 of the last 14 years working for Michigan State or Ohio State. "I'm going to focus on our task at hand here and worry about the things we can control. I have too many good friends and too many people that wouldn't let me back into their house to let me do that.

"So Go Bucks."

so bored at work

November 19th, 2008 at 12:59 PM ^

As long as we're excoriating the media, can we give a shoutout to Pat Forde for spending nearly 400 words, more than 10% of his "column," talking about the Dead Schembeclers? Is he the only person not dressed in scarlet and gray who finds them even remotely amusing or relevant? And for those who worry he's damaging his journalistic credibility, don't worry, he included an interview with the band's leader. Seriously Forde, are you an OSU homer or just a douchebag with an awful sense of humor?*

*I realize I may be proving Brian's point about inappropriate attacks on message boards with this phrasing but c'mon, Forde is a national columnist who spends 10% of a weekly preview talking about not just a novelty band, but one whose name is patently offensive. I don't give two craps how much money they donated, Bo is still dead and the name is still tasteless as hell. I'm sure his family really appreciates the joke, guys.


November 19th, 2008 at 1:06 PM ^

My only complaint since Rodriguez came on board is that he doesn't choose his words selectively enough. Which is his option, you know, he's not into the whole brevity thing. And I respect him for his up-front honesty and all that; it shows a lot of self-confidence, among other things...

But Lloyd's evident disdain for the media was not the only reason for his brief treatment of them, scumdogs that they are. There is a pragmatic reason, as well: No matter what you are saying, the media will find a way to use it against you at their discretion; the more you say, the more ammunition you are giving them. That's all there is to it.


November 19th, 2008 at 1:07 PM ^

Booing the team at the stadium is bad enough, but the paste-eaters who send anonymous vitriolic emails to players are a special class of cockroach.

Winston Churchill had an astute if very cynical observation:

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute
conversation with the average voter."

To paraphrase:

"The best argument against the internet is a five-sentence post from the average commenter."


November 19th, 2008 at 1:11 PM ^

I agree with the early posts.

Rich Rodriguez really needs to work on the press interview skills. He can improve his skills in this area, but he needs to acknowledge this weakness (it's getting him into trouble) and get some help.

Sometimes he just comes across as a nice guy, a good ole southern boy. Other times he sounds like a dumb hick. He also tends to ramble on and get distracted away from the original question that was asked, which is what happened in this instance. Then his words will be quoted by the press and taken out of context.

I like how he handles interviews some of the time. I think his heart is in the right place - being forthright with the media about the situation and intellectually honest when discussing the upcoming competition.

RR doesn't have to be polite all the time. But his choice of words, his grammar usage, and just his strategic approach to answering press questions needs counsel. He represents the University and the football team, so interviews are very important.


November 19th, 2008 at 2:59 PM ^

That fucker better be eloquent before he should be knowledgeable about the actual game. Jesus OC, perception is reality. And if we perceive RR to be a stumbling hillbilly than obviously, he is.