Hello: Enormous Retraction Comment Count

Brian May 10th, 2010 at 11:28 PM



So, right. Angelique talked to the people in question when it came to the weekend's Morgan Trent brouhaha:

Carr disputed the representation of the meeting during a phone interview on Monday with The News.

"That paragraph is completely a distortion of my conversation with Morgan," Carr said. "That is a complete distortion, and it is not accurate. I have never spoken with the author. I have never met him. I have never had a conversation with him to the best of my knowledge."

Trent on Monday told The News he initiated the conversation with Carr about what he had heard from NFL scouts regarding comments attributed to Rodriguez.

"Lloyd didn't bring any of this to my attention," Trent said. "When we spoke, I brought it up to him, and he said he had heard some of the same things."

This makes virtually everything I said about Carr wildly inaccurate and amongst the stupidest things I have to leave up, mocking me, for the rest of time. It has the added bonus of being not just factually inaccurate—see "we're totally going to a bowl in 2008!"—but mean-spirited and completely wrongheaded about someone who has given far more the university than I, and probably anyone reading this, has.

I mean… shit. Seriously. From time to time I am forced to look in the mirror and consider myself an asshole. This is one of those times. I don't know, man. The last few years have been wearing on me and at this point you would not believe the kinds of totally unverifiable but plausible-seeming stuff that hits my inbox and sometimes, like when you feel compelled to address the same damn thing that doesn't mean anything at all for the tenth time in the last few months the dike breaks and you publish something you regret. There is a lesson about the value of editors and a news cycle that has some time for reflection, consideration, and actually talking to the people involved. Sometimes it's unfortunate that this enterprise basically couldn't exist with the former and sometimes—still, even after five years—fails to apply the lessons learned over that timespan when it comes to the latter. And by this enterprise I mean "I". I know better by now, but apparently sometimes I don't. I absolutely should have applied Occam's Razor to "Lloyd Carr sells out university OR [CENSORED] who writes for Rivals' Rutgers site writes a book that vastly misrepresents something." I didn't.

All I can ask for is understanding. Mea culpa.

(At least I didn't buy the latest Big Ten rumors, amirite?)



May 10th, 2010 at 11:39 PM ^

Shit Happens. We were all taken for a ride, regardless of what Brian or anyone else had to say.

I hate to place blame on other people, but the author in question who published this should also be grilled for the mud-slinging he and many others have done towards RichRod.

It seems like every direction you look, someone is trying to bring him down with any method available and that includes bringing in Uncle Lloyd.


May 11th, 2010 at 12:10 AM ^

Thank you, Brian. I was really, really, really saddened that you wrote what you did earlier. This post is to your enormous credit.

Also, a lightly-researched, heavily opinionate hitjob? Would you like to write at the WLA?


May 10th, 2010 at 11:42 PM ^

The ability to be critical and reevaluate your thinking is what makes mgoblog so great. This same reevaluation and subsequent improvement has been made with UFR, the weekly recruiting posts, and the (fairly) new site layout which allowed for user-generated diaries from mispogon and the like. 

I too have grown tired of the Jihad.

I just want Michigan to play some football.

Keep up the good work Brian.


May 10th, 2010 at 11:43 PM ^

Harry Truman had a simple but effective way to deal with his own volatile and foul-mouthed temper. He would write a letter in angry response to someone who he thought had wronged him, but he would then seal the letter and put it in a drawer instead of mailing it right away. If he still felt secure in expressing his anger in a few days, he'd mail the letter, but it seems as though he thought better of doing so much more often than not, since he apparently accumulated a crapload of these unsent letters. I wonder if that would have worked for him in the era of email.

Huntington Wolverine

May 10th, 2010 at 11:50 PM ^

I've heard a similar practice referred to as "Lincoln Letters".  Abraham Lincoln's practice with his inept union generals during the Civil War was to write angry letters calling them out.  After setting the letters off to the side to never be sent, he would write a reasonable response that wouldn't unduly embarass his commander.  


And yes, it works beautifully with e-mails, blogs, etc.  "Will this help clarify or add to the conversation in a meaningful way." It takes longer but it's far more productive and effective.  I highly recommend it as a practice.


May 11th, 2010 at 12:03 PM ^

He should have done this with his historic Penthouse Lincoln Letters.

"Dear Penthouse,

I am a pretty straight laced guy from Illinois, and I don't normally do things like this but i just had to tell someone.  One night when i walked into the log cabin there was Mary Todd and, well, I'll just say that night, I scored more than four..."


May 11th, 2010 at 12:55 AM ^

because you can leave the "To:" part blank and make sure you don't send it in a fit of emotion. I had to learn to do that a couple of jobs ago after I developed a habit of sending nastygrams that were invariably inaccurate.

Of course it was easier for me than for someone like Brian because I didn't have thousands of people eagerly waiting to read, well, anything I had to say. (And I did get fired eventually, although not because of my temper. I'm glad I don't work there any more.)


May 10th, 2010 at 11:43 PM ^

The difference between Brian Cook and Drew Sharp, Mitch Albom, Terry Foster, Jeff Defran, and on and on is having the courage to say "I fucked up. Please forgive me."

Huntington Wolverine

May 10th, 2010 at 11:46 PM ^

No worries Brian. This is one of the setbacks of fast technology and a potential trap of message boards, blogs, etc.  Sometimes our fingers are a little too quick...

And Lloyd spoke out in the way that only Lloyd could and reset our MGoConstellations that guide our fandom. At least now we know that the athletic department is all on the same page in wanting what's best for Michigan football and how to get there.


May 10th, 2010 at 11:48 PM ^

Brian, I greatly appreciate what you wrote in this retraction. I was irked by Trent, and shrugged my shoulders at the smear job (that's what sells books, after all.) But I was really non-plussed and concerned about your comments on Carr. It seemed pointless to even wander into the comment thread. I love RR, and am so fond of Carr, and it didn't seem like there was anything positive to add. In fact, I after the first 50 or so comments, I shut down . . . no point in reading more.

So then, however, tell us, Brian:  could you have contacted Carr and asked him, face to face? If so, can you tell us why you didn't?

This whole debacle also illustrates how good Angelique is. We (in the mgoblogosphere) are quick to castigate the Freep, and withhold any clicks. This article from Angelique almost demands a bravo and applause for what she has done.

Lastly, I really understand more and more the bunker mentality among some coaches.

Thanks again, for your honesty and transparency.


May 11th, 2010 at 12:47 PM ^

All yesterday morning WTKA was hashing this over and over and I wondered  "If you are calling yourselves the Michigan Insider, why don't you pick up the phone and give Lloyd a call.  If it is untrue, he might just be itching to tell someone what he didn't or didn't say."

This whole situation kind of reminded me of the movie Absence of Malice.  In the end, everyone gets thier come-uppance for acting on what they thought was happening instead of what was really the truth.


May 11th, 2010 at 9:03 PM ^

Angelique and Carr are friends.  You don't think is't possible Lloyd called her and asked her to help him clarify this?  Or Angelique called Carr and let him know that he may want to make a comment to clear the air? Angelique is a highly regarded and excellent journalist and this was a win for both of them.

Brian is inside this program and knows a considerable amount of information.  Much more than he can share because of all the whispers and the ability to source information he receives.  My GUESS is that he originally responded to this the way he did because he is as frustrated as the rest of us. 

We are all tired of accusation after accusation against RR and the Michigan program.  It is almost a weekly event.  If you don't think that there factions inside the program feeding this information to the papers, you are blind.  Just about everything that has happened, happens everywhere and is kept within the program. 

Was RR the right hire?  Remains to be seen, but he was the right hire at the time.  Michigan needed a high profile coach and got the best one out there.  Unfortunately, he has faced unbelievable obsticles from every direction, making it almost impossible for him to succeed, and certainly lengthening the process.

Zone Left

May 11th, 2010 at 12:08 AM ^

Everything turned around when Michigan beat Miami to make the finals of the CCHA tourney.  The cloud lifted and everything is better.

I refuse to believe any differently.

Think about Cam Gordon (shown here destroying family values by teaching children how to catch footballs):


May 11th, 2010 at 12:02 AM ^

As I noted earlier, I do give you lots of credit for owning up to this.

Out of curiousity:

Frequently, you've castigated MSM journalists who have merely passes opinion or unverified innuendo without contacting a source, or researching the item when BLOGS has frequently blown up their story by simply picking up a phone.

I noticed that in the piece on Bengals.com, neither Carr nor RR were ever asked for comment, which struck me as notable.

At what point, in your opinion, do you think YOU pick up the phone before writing the angry screed?


May 11th, 2010 at 1:20 AM ^

But I wonder if this site could get Lloyd Carr on the record.  The Det News and Angelique, for now, still have a lot more clout with Lloyd "I despise the media" Carr than Brian from MGoBlog.  It doesn't excuse the immediacy and visceral attack, but it does show you where this site - and most of new media - still has room to grow.

This isn't the end of the world.  Brian ran with the story as it had been reported in several media locations and offered his opinion.  This wasn't a case of breaking an erroneous story via a few Inbox tips.  That said, I respect the sincerity and forthrightness of the mea culpa.

Voltron Blue

May 11th, 2010 at 12:03 AM ^

I don't think you're 100% off base.  Trent still said this:

"I brought it up to him, and he said he had heard some of the same things."

So.....you can't trust the words coming out of Trent's mouth, yada, yada...but Carr may still have a shadow of culpability.  Note that Lique didn't press him on "Which part is a distortion?  What exactly did you tell Morgan?"  I don't say this to point fingers, or further the sad divide that has befallen our program, but merely to say...your mea culpa, while 1000% honorable, might have swung even too far the other direction.  Which isn't to criticize, but merely to say, maybe you don't have to be so hard on yourself.



May 11th, 2010 at 6:21 AM ^

dis·sem·bling \-b(ə-)liŋ\

Etymology: Middle English dissymblen, alteration of dissimulen, from Middle French dissimuler, from Latin dissimulare — more at dissimulate
Date: 15th century

transitive verb 1 : to hide under a false appearance
2 : to put on the appearance of : simulateintransitive verb : to put on a false appearance : conceal facts, intentions, or feelings under some pretense


I'm sure LC knows this definition already


May 11th, 2010 at 7:41 AM ^

It did appear that Carr side steps the hard questions about what was said by saying it's a distortion. He doesn't deny the conversation and he doesn't refute the conversation as having been the opposite. 

He  says that he's heard the same things Trent has.  It doesn't directly say that Carr told Trent not to tear into RR. Neither does it tell him to bash the program. Carr's statement about the conversation are without significant substance. 

It's fairly nebulous and doesn't indicate one way or the other that Carr did anything to either support or attack RR. It would have been nice to have a quote from Carr saying to Trent "Go to RR and find out what the story is. Don't just rely on hearsay from the scouts." or something along the lines of "I support RR." That would be even better. 


May 11th, 2010 at 3:46 PM ^

The whole point is, Lloyd didn't go running to Trent to say "hey, you hear what Rich is saying about you?"  Trent brought it up to him, and obviously scouts were telling them both the same thing...that SOMEONE was saying negative things about Trent.  Now whether it was Rich, and whether how he said it qualifies as honest assessment or backstab, I don't know (and don't particularly much care, going with the idea that Rich and Trent...not friends.  It happens).  So, if the NEW quotes are to be believed, yes, it does put a whole new light not it.


May 11th, 2010 at 12:17 AM ^

Much respect for being able to admit a mistake. 

Interesting question to ponder: Did Brian's rant inspire Angelique to push for this interview with Lloyd? If so, although the rant was mostly off base, it still was very effective.

Edit: Seems like this question has already been answered below.


May 11th, 2010 at 12:08 AM ^

When you have to look in the mirror, we all do. I was right there with you, and the post absolutely got me all pumped up, maybe because I was looking for that sort of thing. I loved seeing it at the time, and now I feel rather silly, and like an asshole, because I hated when people called for Lloyd's firing; I loved him as a coach, and as a person except for a span of a few hours this afternoon. We all make mistakes.


May 11th, 2010 at 12:12 AM ^

double post? Come on. First one ever :'(. I told you we all make mistakes


EDIT: might as well make this useful. Brian, I know that that last post will be a marker of shame of sorts for you, and probably one of everybody's least favorite posts. But this is one of my favorite posts, and should be held up as an example of the integrity of MGoBlog.


May 11th, 2010 at 12:09 AM ^

It's alright Brian. I grew up down the street from Lloyd. I trick or treated at his house. Even I was extremely frustrated and disappointed when Lloyd had not come out and squashed the rumors about what he said. I think that I was thinking/feeling the same thing about this situation the entire time.

That being said, if I were in your situation, I would have just pulled the post and had a section in the next UV about how I was wrong. That's why you run the most successful sports blog and I don't. I have built an enormous amount of respect for what you have to say and this post is now at the top of the reasons why.

Bando Calrissian

May 11th, 2010 at 12:15 AM ^

Honestly, I was troubled by how quickly Brian went out on a limb today to attack Lloyd Carr on the basis of this rather flimsy story, and good on you for realizing it was incredibly premature. 

Lloyd Carr deserved better on this blog today.  Period.  His reputation and his years of service to this University merit a lot more respect than most here are willing to give.  And I hope all who were posting drivel about how he wouldn't speak up, negbanging the living hell out of anything that defended him, etc. etc. realize that you reached for the torches and pitchforks just a tad too soon. 

Section 1

May 11th, 2010 at 12:22 AM ^

Coach Carr stepped up.  And denied the substance of the story.

The funny thing is that at some time this afternoon, I was writing something, on one of the other threads where you were a particiapant, about how all of this might have been avoided if Carr had called someone like Angelique Chengelis, and said, "meet me this afternoon at Schembechler Hall for an interview."  And that is almost exactly what happened.

Section 1

May 11th, 2010 at 1:04 AM ^

And to the extent that Bobby Deren did this story that so defamed Rich Rodriguez without interviewing RR, and without sourcing the NFL scout(s) and without talking to Coach Carr, it's pretty despicable.

The same despicable charge goes to the Freep too.

I had to laugh;  I looked up what I wrote and when I wrote it.  At 3:04 pm today, as I was writing this, I suspect that that is about the time that Angelique Chengelis was on her way to talk to Coach Carr: 

"Yes, there is a way that this thread could have been avoided; indeed, obliterated and obviated.

That would have been for Lloyd Carr to call up Mark Snyder (or, much better, Angelique Chengelis) and say, "Meet me at Schembechler Hall for an interview this afternoon.  I will refute the story."

Carr's inaction is his culpability."


May 11th, 2010 at 1:12 AM ^

on this blog haven't been based in rationality and intelligent analysis in a long time.  I don't think the lesson is "Lloyd deserved better because of his years of service."  I think the lesson is "Don't run with a half-cooked story without all the facts", a lesson we should all know well after last summer.  This sequence is the Freep story all over again, only with Brian playing the role of your average MSM journalist, eating up a story that presents one side of a slanted piece and taking it as gospel.  Whereas if you take a VERY minimal amount of time and effort to fact check things, it will show the truth is very different from the headline grabbing allegations.

The difference unfortunately, is that while Lloyd's name got dragged in the dirt in a very compartmentalized space that is largely correctable (the comments of this here blog), Rodriguez's got dragged in the dirt all over ESPN, SI and every other major news outlet, without the curtesy of a retraction that Lloyd received.


May 11th, 2010 at 12:18 AM ^

The Freep, on the other hand, is closing in on one year of silence for their faux pas.  Not one word of apology or retraction.

Brian, you are THE man.  No problem, bro.


May 11th, 2010 at 12:19 AM ^

Good work, Brian.

I still have to ask this question, because I have yet to get an answer. What is the real issue with Rodriguez saying these things to scouts, if he actually did? I feel it is necessary for the head coach to give appropriate reviews of the talent they have, because, in my opinion, if you don't, and just say, "Morgan was great, worked hard, he'll do well for you." And then say, "Brandon Graham is amazing. Hardest worker ever. Amazing talent." There isn't enough disparity there. It needs to be fair for all the athletes.

Those who work hard, deserve to be highly touted. Those who lack do not. Simple as that.

biakabutuka ex…

May 11th, 2010 at 12:19 AM ^

This is just about the only conclusion that lets me preserve my feelings about RichRod and Carr (assuming they are both telling the truth). I assumed yesterday I was going to have to pick a side. As for Trent, should this really affect his reputation either way? He heard rumors and believed them. I don't think the book on him needs to include this non-story.

Meanwhile Tiger Woods' marriage and Andrew Bogut's arm are laughing at the stability of Michigan Football right now.