Breaking In, Breaking Out

Submitted by Brian on February 5th, 2010 at 1:34 PM

This was going to be a bit in UV but kept going. More Dorsey!

The Free Press got its FOIA muscles going again and found out that Dorsey confessed to a couple 2007 robberies as part of a group of five kids. He was placed in a diversionary program. The crime he was acquitted from was a 3 AM incident where he was in a car with four other kids and one of them hopped out to rob some guy; the kids all blamed each other and the cases were dismissed. So… 20% chance he actually did it if you don't believe the clean years after that mean anything. Considerably less if you do. 100% chance Dorsey needed to get far away from some folk.

You'll note that this makes one of Drew Sharp's statements from Signing Day accurate and leaves the rest in the realm of the reprehensible. Dorsey clearly had a rough past and hung with the proverbial wrong crowd, but amongst the many reasons this is the wrong crowd is it seems very bad at not getting arrested. His two years on the right side of the law and his very decision to GTFO are indications he's made a break.

I'm torn about the fairness of the article. On the one hand, it seems to think this is "acknowledgement" that Dorsey got breaks other kids wouldn't…

“All cases are individuals. We are dealing with kids,” [assistant state attorney Maria Schneider] said. “The vast majority of kids stop offending. I hope this is one of them. But if he’s not, we’ll find out soon enough.”

…when he was placed in a diversionary program while three others went to trial. Those three others were 17 and 18 and were already on probation. Dorsey was 16 and not. A second 16-year-old was also involved but what happened to him is unknown, which means he was—drumroll—almost certainly placed in a juvenile diversion program. (Except his records got sealed like they should.) The guy who Dorsey robbed was told that the kid might have a future so can we go easy, and Schneider didn't dispute it, so there's that. Still, the article spends a lot of time arguing—yes, arguing—that Dorsey's potential as a football player isn't a decent reason to keep him out of the criminal justice system.

On the other, it runs a quote from Dorsey front and center:

“My goal right now is to show everybody I’m not that person who I was a couple years back then, hanging with the wrong crowd and stuff like that, showing that I’m more focused,” Dorsey said Thursday in an exclusive interview with the Free Press. “I’m focused. I’m ready to move on with my life to bigger and better things.”

And Ann Arbor, he says, is the place to do it.

“I feel like that is a great place for me, where I can start all over and make something out of nothing, make nothing into something,” he said.

That's the point. Maybe Dorsey won't make it, but he's been clean for two years and deserves a shot. If he caught a break because he had a shot at going to college, that was a good bet by Broward County. He did, and now he's going to Michigan. It's up to Rodriguez and Dorsey to make it pay off.

The worst thing about all this pressure is that a Dorsey MIP is now a big deal in a way that Kevin Grady getting frighteningly drunk and falling asleep in his car is not. If Dorsey doesn't keep his nose clean at Michigan, the rest of the team can have a spotless record and the storyline will be Dorsey this and Dorsey that. That's a hell of a burden, one that few players with "checkered legal pasts" have to deal with. When Roderick Jenrette came to Michigan State, he was carrying two burglary arrests with him—about which more later—and no one knew. His troubles were explained away by Mark Dantonio and people either respected his privacy as a juvenile offender or were lazy or were just stunned by how magnificent Dantonio's jaw was, and he was left alone.

For whatever reason, Demar Dorsey wasn't afforded that luxury. I have my theories as to why.

Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe that will help him walk the line.

The larger context. So this article is basically fine, if too insistent on making a case against the local state's attorney for not treating a 16-year-old kid harshly. But compare this seven-page story that flags down everyone on all sides with the Free Press's pathetically credulous story on Michigan State's Posse Roundup & Engineer/Woman Beatdown— or "fight" or "altercation" or "pillow hugs" if you're the Free Press.

Remember this?

Dell Sr. said his son did not participate in violence at Rather Hall. He, however, did say his son initially lied to coach Mark Dantonio about his presence there.

"I said, 'Man, why didn't you just tell the truth and say you were there and didn't participate in any of the physical stuff?' " Dell Sr. said. "He said: 'I don't know. I should have just told the truth.' "

That was it as far as quoted sources went: parents of Michigan State players.


Cunningham and Dell each pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor assault and battery in East Lansing district court Wednesday.

How about the pathetically credulous article titled "Legal strategy at issue in Michigan State altercation" that asserted the criminal charges filed against nine Spartans were probably just crap to get "the truth"—about which see "bzzt" link above and the additional charges levied to Oren Wilson and Myles White? Or the pathetically credulous acceptance of Mark Dantonio's bald-faced lie about Roderick Jenrette, who had been arrested for robbery mere days before he arrived on Michigan State's campus?

It wasn't until Jenrette was booted for the team for hugging a unicorn at Rather Hall that anyone bothered to look into his double-robbery past, and this was a 2008 recruit who was arrested August 1st of… 2008! Dantonio took the bizarre step of sending Jenrette home to "work on family issues" and no one bothered to see if maybe there was something up with this kid. These are the same crimes, same state, hell even the same position, except one kid was two years past his trouble and was treated to a front page column questioning him and the other was two days past it and ignored. I'm sure I don't have to draw a picture.

I got a zinger in my inbox that's a good summary:

When did Demar Dorsey become Kwame Kilpatrick in the eyes of the Detroit Free Press?


Anyway, just throw this on the ever-growing pile of evidence that the Free Press has a double standard. Soon we'll  be able to put a ski lift on it.



February 5th, 2010 at 4:07 PM ^

I'll confess up front: the comment I'm about to make is motivated by my "Michigan exceptionalism" (as some have discussed above, Michigan is "different," "better," etc.) Simply being good at football should not be enough to play for Michigan. Simply wanting to change your life should not be enough to play for Michigan. Simply having gone 2 years without having gotten in legal trouble should not be enough to play for Michigan. I give him credit for making changes and don't think he should wear a scarlet letter for the rest of life. But there are consequences for making bad decisions... even when you're 16 yrs old. One of those consequences SHOULD be (in my opinion) that you do not get a full scholarship to play football at the University of Michigan.

A related point is that Demar Dorsey is not a charity case. RR is not giving him a scholarship to get his life together (though that may be a secondary factor). RR gave him a scholarship because Demar Dorsey is a stud on the football field and RR thinks Dorsey can help him win games. RR weighed the costs and benefits (hopefully) and determined that signing Dorsey was a better decision for Michigan that not signing him. I think we can all agree this decision was about W's for M... nothing more.


February 5th, 2010 at 4:41 PM ^

Honestly, I don't know. I'm not sure a line can be drawn. Does any criminal conduct automatically preclude you from playing for Michigan? Hmm... I would say no. If you were booked for "simple battery" because of a schoolyard fight that got out of hand, I don't think you're per se S.O.L. A little marijuana possession at your buddy's house? A bit more troubling than the fight (because everybody knows that's illegal) but probably not something to bar you from Schembechler Hall. When you start getting into felony-type stuff though I get leery... and when there are multiple occurrences, I get even more leery. We know that Demar admitted to home invasion, actually came face to face with the homeowner (a scary scene for the owner, I'd imagine) and took off running (which was better than a Sean Taylor-like alternative, obviously... but still, not good). I just think that what we know of his actions puts him beyond the pale...

which isn't to say he should do life w/o parole... i just don't think he should be suiting up for the maize n' blue...

aand that said, I wish him all the best and will be rooting for him like crazy. Not sure if that makes me a hypocrite but I definitely don't want him to fail... so... I guess that means I want him to succeed!


February 5th, 2010 at 4:45 PM ^

Home invasion is serious business, and luck is the only thing that kept violence from taking place. I'm more worried about his conduct in Ann Arbor I guess, but I'm concerned and hopeful that Dorsey really takes advantage of this. If this had happened in say, August, I would agree with you that he shouldn't be here.


February 5th, 2010 at 4:39 PM ^

But there are consequences for making bad decisions... even when you're 16 yrs old. One of those consequences SHOULD be (in my opinion) that you do not get a full scholarship to play football at the University of Michigan.

This line of thinking can quickly lead to a terrible "one and done" policy. If you mess up, ever, then you're not worthy of playing for Michigan. Brian Griese would have been kicked off the team. Anyone who had been charged of anything would get kicked off the team. And so on. Its a flattly shortsighted and dim notion.

As to the second point, all players are offered scholarships based on the head coaches' desire to accumulate wins for Michigan. I suppose Troy Woolfolk and Braylon Edwards had nothing to offer the team other than being legacies huh?

This whole "story" is absolutely and ridiculously absurd.


February 5th, 2010 at 5:49 PM ^

All I said was that it's a slippery slope. I agree that a line should be drawn somewhere but it's the head coach's, athletic director, and president of the University's responsibility to draw that line. They drew it at dropped charges and clean subsequent record. I've got no problem with that. He should be on a tight leash...just like all of our other players. Also jumping to rape and murder is just whacky. That said, everybody murders...didn't you know?


February 5th, 2010 at 7:02 PM ^

Don't you draw your own line when comes to some issues though? Home invasion is despicable, like any crime that allows deadly force in self-defense. Rape and murder are indeed wacky examples, I just wanted to use the extreme for my example. I admit I did forget how common murder is in this day and age.


February 5th, 2010 at 8:20 PM ^

I also remember doing some really uncool things when I was that age. Why? To this day, I have no idea. I knew better, wasn't raised that way, all that other stuff yet I did them anyway. Once I realized what I was risking, like, you know, my future, my decisions got markedly better. People grow up and I think they should be given that chance. It seems like it took Dorsey a little longer than I might have liked but based on his statements I think he gets it now and has gotten past that period in his life.

As for my personal line it really depends on a lot of things as I'm sure it does for Coach Rodriguez. I'm not go pretend that I can sit here and dream up some scenarios that are boarder line enough to be able to detect "the line."

Rich Rod had the opportunity to talk to the guy, and his parents, and his mentors and he believes that Demar is done being an idiot. Again, I've got no problem with that. Now, if Demar starts being a knucklehead again, that's a different story. But, based upon how Rich Rod handled the Feagin and Cissoko situation, I don't doubt his ability to discipline or judge the character of his guys.


February 5th, 2010 at 1:52 PM ^

*All* of Drew Sharp's signing day comments were reprehensible, as he had absolutely no basis in fact when making his comments. That one of them may have been proven true ex post does not in any way justify the slanderous comments he made out of pure ignorance at the time.

Dan Man

February 5th, 2010 at 3:38 PM ^

@ Brian - if you want to make arguments about double standards or that kids deserve a second chance, etc., that's all well and good. But it's unfair to start by arguing that there was only a "20%" chance or less that Dorsey did it. He confessed to committing two crimes. Even if he didn't have a weapon himself, he was an accomplice. I don't think you need to make those kinds of reaching arguments to make your point.


February 5th, 2010 at 4:07 PM ^

It doesn't matter to me if he was just in the car, close enough for me. Usually (99.9% to be exact) when 5 dudes are in a car in the middle of the night, they are on the same page. He did bad stuff, but not so bad that he doesn't deserve a chance to succeed here. He won't get a second chance at UM.

Big Boutros

February 5th, 2010 at 1:56 PM ^

I'm not a local, so I don't know what the general reception is of "Doug and the Gator," but they were stressing this afternoon that Dorsey's past, regardless of the accuracy or legality of the stories that revealed it to the public, should not concern anyone to the degree that it has, and I agree.

A free press (generic term) is one of the checks and balances of a democratic system. The vigorous pursuit of information that some people might want covered up is often the centerpiece of journalism's most prized investigations. However, that pursuit does not, for any reason, include the behavior of a 16-year-old boy with a technically spotless criminal record.

In the eyes of the law, Demar Dorsey is an innocent high school senior. Is that enough to put every Starbucks Lexus-driving Michigan fan at ease? Probably not. But there are some pretty vague and appalling assertions being tossed around, and they make me uncomfortable.

Ted Spencer is the director of admissions at Michigan. He decides who gets to come here and who doesn't. Ted Spencer is an intimidating man. If he says Dorsey is welcome here, that's more than good enough for me.


February 5th, 2010 at 2:29 PM ^

Word, brother.

Although for me, this ensuing investigative piece alleviates any worries I may have had. Imaginations run wild. The piece doesnt portray anyone who was really even a menace two years ago, let alone now.

Michigan Football, the school and the community have turned plenty of kdis around over the last 130 years, many who had more "baggage" than Demar carries.


February 5th, 2010 at 2:09 PM ^

Brian, you sound like the same guy who was still talking up RR at the beginning of year 2, not the guy who said year 3 is make or break.

I stand by what I said -- and for which I got negbomed to oblivion. This is Michigan. We shouldn't be recruiting kids like this.

BUT -- since he is here and does have a full ride scholarship I hope he does us all proud and more, does his life proud.

Those who stay will be champions.

The Other Brian

February 5th, 2010 at 2:23 PM ^

This is not some new trend. Michigan - along with every other school - takes bad apples every now and then. This isn't new, and it certainly isn't exclusive to our current coach. The list of players who had some pretty deviant run-ins with the law before (and during) their time at Michigan under previous coaches isn't exactly short.

The point is, many of them got the chance to redeem themselves, and they got that chance without having a seven-page background check run on them by a vindictive newspaper that glosses over similar incidents at a school up the road.

None of us know Demar Dorsey the person. We know what's put in front of us. He's been clean for two years, and he's coming to Michigan because he wants to stay that way.


February 5th, 2010 at 2:31 PM ^

On second thought, maybe brianshall is testing a hypothesis: if I endlessly repeat the same asinine yet brief remarks, while carefully avoiding an extended profanity-laced rant, can I continue my gradual slide toward negative infinity without incurring the ultimate banhammer judgment? In the name of MGoBlog science, carry on, sir.


February 5th, 2010 at 3:09 PM ^

now I realize it's a dumbass.

Brian REVIEWED, RECONSIDERED and REPEATED yesterday's Dorsey post and, as a commenter, I followed up with a comment.

Rather than being so focused on my comments, I suggest you review yours: notice how you can never actually refute anything I say. Being a homer is fine. Being a homer who shifts his values based on who does the thing is the mark of a supreme dumbass.

oriental andrew

February 5th, 2010 at 3:14 PM ^

I am a smart, well-raised, obedient Asian kid from the suburbs who shoplifted a couple CDs back in the day; drank underage in high school; was in a car with a kid who drove drunk; and got into a skirmish with a classmate at school. What makes Demar Dorsey different from someone like me? That he got caught making a bad choice?

He got caught, recognized the error of his ways, and has been striving to separate himself from his prior indiscretions. If anything, Michigan should recruit MORE kids with that sort of character.


February 5th, 2010 at 2:13 PM ^

I don't like the Freep, but I think that the problem with expecting them to treat Michigan and MSU the same is that they're not. Ironically it's somewhat a sign of respect. No one cares about MSU outside of Michigan.

People care about Michigan.

I wish that the Freep would stop this vendetta against RR, but like or not the focus is more closely on Michigan because people respect UM and care about UM. If there's a riot in EL, ha ha, those old Sparties at it again. At UM, everything is a much bigger deal. Now, I think that the reporting is very biased and clearly reeks of an agenda, but there's no way I expect the media to treat MSU and Michigan as equals.


February 5th, 2010 at 2:41 PM ^

By no means am I trying to give the Free Press a pass, but there is a reason for this double standard: everyone agrees that UM is a "better" school that takes "better" students and produces "better" professionals. This in-state hierarchy is validated by Spartans and supported by Wolverines. We (Wolverines) hold ourselves to a higher standard and let Spartans know it. This "arrogance" is well known and is the root of antagonism that we see many places, including the DFP.

So, you have a university held, universally, to higher standards. Whats at issue here is not that Dorsey deserves a chance to attend college, its if he deserves a chance to attend the University of Michigan, one of the finest schools in all the land, as we're happy to tell you - where we strive to be more than just another state school with athletes who are students in name only. We produce warrior-poet-CEOs and that includes our athletes.

The truth is secondary to the image. We participate in the hierarchy and we have to bear the responsibility of higher standards and expectations as well as benefiting from them.

Everyone believes in 2nd chances as well as accountability. Many people want Dorsey to go to college, but they also don't want him to get off without some punishment. It seem that to many, attending an inferior school (like say MSU) would be punishment enough, but if he's at UofM he's benefiting from a broken system of inverted priorities. This is unfair, obviously, as its unfair for me to look down on the barbarians at OSU and the bros at MSU.

I have no problem with Dorsey at Michigan. But the heightened scrutiny is a major risk, not only for the young man, but for the University and the program. We know there is a double standard and we are partially to blame for it. To spit into the face of that is risky.

I hope RR knows what he is doing. And generally, I suspect he does. But part of me wonders if he knows the risks he's taking or if he just stubbornly assumes that the SE Michigan media will "stay positive" regardless of the circumstances and culture of the region.

This is not necessarily to say we "deserve" to be held to a higher standard, but that if we don't anticipate being treated differently we're ignoring reality.


February 5th, 2010 at 3:52 PM ^

that it's well argued. And i think there is something to the idea that we participate in the perception of our school as better, with different standards than other schools. Which will invite more and different scrutiny than another school will get. But of course that higher scrutiny should come without violating basic standards of objectivity and fairness, which is where the Freep failed.


February 5th, 2010 at 2:14 PM ^

Boyd Anderson was in my district in high school so I'm very familiar with it. It's an awful school and definitely looked upon as one of the least desirable schools to be at in the county. There's no doubt Dorsey grew up dealing with that environment and always having friends that would make sure he was always around trouble.

That said, the statement that he can get away from that atmosphere at Michigan is very real, not just a cliche. Chances are if he tried to get away from that lifestyle in high school, he'd be seen as a sell out. Being at UM now, hopefully he'll find a new crowd where being a "thug" isn't the norm.

I look forward to see how he grows and adapts to UM and really hope he gets his life straightened out proves all the doubters wrong.

matty blue

February 5th, 2010 at 2:17 PM ^

i think the responses / fisking of the freep / etc. make more of this than is actually there. i'm not saying we stick our head in the sand, by any means, but the more we talk about it, the more it gets talked about.

let's let it rest on our part unless something happens.

Kilgore Trout

February 5th, 2010 at 2:23 PM ^

Rodgriguez did characterize the incidents as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That implies it was beyond his control and he got unlucky. After reading the article from last night / this morning, that clearly wasn't true. Add on to that the whole team GPA issue, and it's hard to argue that Rodriguez hasn't ever told untruths in his press conferences. It may be a stretch to say that he willfully and maliciously lied, but there's some history of untruths.

Blue In NC

February 5th, 2010 at 2:53 PM ^

Yes, and head coaches lie when naming starting QBs in press conferences or discussing game strategy. Not that the two are the same but remember RR was basically backed into a corner when Sharp decided to press the issue on signing day. And the GPA thing was pretty laughable b/c he was told something but not really given the whole story (at least that's how I remember it). It's not surprising that he painted the story as "he's been in trouble in the past but we believe he is not a bad kid" given the context.


February 5th, 2010 at 2:58 PM ^

RR said Dorsey was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This was in no way inaccurate. Dorsey was in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, RR never said it wasnt dorsey's own decision to be there.

The fact is that Dorsey comes from a world that is far different than any of us grew up in. He comes from very poor area where crime rates are much higher. While this does not excuse his behavior it does point to a change of scenery being more beneficial for him.

Kilgore Trout

February 5th, 2010 at 3:27 PM ^

There were two incidents, not just the one you reference where he was acquitted. He admitted to being involved in the other, which included burglary. I will reference this to the comment above yours too. If you truly believe that Rodriguez was only referring to the incident in which Dorsey was acquitted and not both, then you are right, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think that's a stretch.


February 5th, 2010 at 3:24 PM ^

I'm on dial-up and the search command is taking over 15 minutes already, so I'll let someone else dig up the original threads on how the paper we all love to hate spun a phenomenal effort by RR and staff to set historical new marks in scolastic achievement by the football team into another story about RR's lack of Michigan-man-ness. I don't think RR is the real villain of that piece, but like I said, let someone with higher-speed internet than I dig up the threads for reference.

What interests me is how you seize on that example in order to create the two data points you need in order to insinuate that RR is a liar.

It may be a stretch to say that he willfully and maliciously lied, but there's some history of untruths.

With all due respect, I don't get the idea that it would be a stretch for you at all. Is it unfair of me to ask, Sparty troll or RR-hating troll?


February 5th, 2010 at 4:05 PM ^

RR's integrity and concern for the kids are an embellishment to the program, and that when wins start coming in, his hire will be considered a no-brainer.

Not so sure about RAWK, but you can't win them all.

Blue boy johnson

February 5th, 2010 at 2:28 PM ^

Even if Dorsey commits another criminal act and gets kicked out of M, it doesn't mean he did not deserve the opportunity. Some people learn from their mistakes some don't. Time will tell with Dorsey.
Young Dorsey went thru the process, Florida offered him as did Michigan. If Dorsey is admitted let us hope he makes the most of his fantastic opportunity. Blue in Yarmouth always alludes to his checkered past and how grateful he is for chances to redeem himself.
RR believes in the kid, I'm cool with that, let us hope Young
Dorsey believes in himself and can make the tough transition from HS to college. I will be rooting for the kid.

Kilgore Trout

February 5th, 2010 at 2:42 PM ^

That's a great point I think. The outcome doesn't necessarily dictate whether the decision was right or not. There are way too many variables that will go on in the next 3-5 years that will determine whether or not Dorsey works out on and off the field. The question is whether or not, given the circumstances of the past and the character evaluation of the present, Rodriguez thinks he has a good chance of having success. That is Rodriguez's job, and I trust him to do it. If he determines that there's a 75% chance that everything will work out, he should take the risk on him. There's still a one in four chance that it doesn't, but to help the team, help Rodriguez's career, and to give a young man a shot at a future, it's a risk worth taking. And if Mark Dantonio honestly thought the same thing when Winston was allowed back on the team, that was his decision to make and the fact that Winston screwed it up doesn't necessarily mean it was the wrong decision.


February 5th, 2010 at 2:54 PM ^

Jenrettes "youthful indescretions" were about 300 times closer and two years further into the development of a full adult orbitalfrontal cortex than those of Dorsey. Winston's occurred after he was already on the team, and then, after being detained in prison from team activities for breaking someone's head and putting them in the hospital, he was allowed to walk directly from his jail cell onto the practice field. I think there is about zero comparison here.