Not My Crowd: What? Comment Count

Brian July 17th, 2009 at 12:39 PM

So ESPN spent the first five or ten minutes of College Football Live yesterday talking about how screwed Michigan was because "another player(!!!)" was leaving Michigan, never mind that Wermers' departure was officially announced two months ago. But you get a couple of quotes from a kid transferring into the MAC and the universe is ending.

I don't think it matters much in the grand scheme of things because only one thing—winning—matters much in the grand scheme of things. That does not mean it's not annoying as hell. The part that's still lodged in the ol' craw at the moment is  that "not my crowd" statement. What crowd? By the time Wermers announced he'd transfer, the only Rodriguez recruits that had made it to campus were the guys he filled out Carr's last class with and the early-enrollers.

Those players are as follows.

2008: Ricky Barnum, Justin Feagin, Martavious Odoms, Patrick Omameh, Terrence Robinson, Mike Shaw, Roy Roundtree, and Taylor Hill. (I'm not including Brandon Smith and JT Floyd, who were technically uncommitted when the switch happened but were more Carr recruits than Rodriguez recruits.)

2009: Vlad Emilien, Tate Forcier, Anthony LaLota, Will Campbell, Vincent Smith, Brandin Hawthorne, Mike Jones.

Who constitutes the infamous crowd here? We're looking for players that don't fit the profile of a typical Michigan recruit. So not these folks: Hill transferred after about two seconds, Omameh is an engineer, Shaw was a Penn State commit who Carr had offered, Roundtree was a Purdue commit,—both were teammates of Carr commit Brandon Moore—Campbell was basically a Carr recruit, Emilien is an honors student, and so are LaLota and Jones. Both of LaLota and Jones were picking between ND and Michigan.* And Forcier is the younger brother of a Carr recruit.

I really doubt there was any culture shock from the arrival of guys from Ohio and guys who strongly considered Notre Dame. That's been the pattern of the program for years.

The remainder: the Pahokee guys, Feagin, Barnum. And I guess Terrence Robinson. It's hard to interpret Wermers' "crowd" in a way that doesn't mean poor black kids from Florida, and I guess Terrence Robinson.

Which is all the long way of saying that 19 year olds should offer pat, positive answers and shut up, lest they say something that gives the wrong impression.

*(FWIW, Jones' decision was easy since ND did not offer.)


Moe Greene

July 17th, 2009 at 12:48 PM ^

....How little there is to talk about in CFB until the games are played. You'd think Wermers was a four year starter by how much attention this has gotten....

Dear Michigan Hating God: Give us 5-0 and you can have my firstborn son.


July 17th, 2009 at 12:55 PM ^

I think you're reading too far into the "type of crowd" comment. I doubt very much that he has enough venom or intelligence to criticize kids based on social or location background.

More likely, he was making excuses for not enjoying his time there. The end.


July 17th, 2009 at 1:01 PM ^

I don't think Brian meant that Wermers undoubtedly thinks that, just that there is no other logical conclusion to draw from it. Sure, he very well may have been making an excuse, but what He is saying (I think) is that Wermers should either STFU or, if he has to make up a bullshit excuse, make one without racial undertones.


July 17th, 2009 at 1:05 PM ^

While it's true that it does little good to pull out sociological theories to uncover any true meaning behind the words, I think they speak for themselves. While I wouldn't at all do him the discredit of saying it was a racial comment, I think we are on entirely solid ground to interpret it as a culture issue. And kids constantly make comments based on "social or location" background, or you've got a way different life experience than I do.


July 17th, 2009 at 12:53 PM ^

Best to remain quiet and take the chance that they think your're a fool, then to speak and remove all doubt.

Didn't see the college football live, but I can only imagine the hand-wringing with a smerk that's par for the course for the msm...


July 17th, 2009 at 12:56 PM ^

It was not the smartest thing for him to say, and I was a tad miffed when I heard it - far more disturbing than any comments about the 'family atmosphere' given that that is now such a buzzword. But, I'm willing to give this guy the benefit of the doubt - it could have just been some throwaway comment without any racial, or otherwise prejudicial, intentions behind it. Best of luck to Kurt.

Big Boutros

July 17th, 2009 at 1:04 PM ^

I don't lose any respect for guys who transfer out of Michigan; they are simply doing what they and their family thinks is best for them and their future. Anyone who calls these young men quitters or losers or turncoats or pussies is pretty cowardly. But this Wermers comment is annoying me. goblueLA, you might be right; I hope you're right. But someone, even a teenager, needs to know better than to say something publicly like this. Objectively, "not my kind of crowd" sounds prejudicial. And that is not cool. Like I said, I don't begrudge anyone who leaves, but if you leave and fling some vague, shitty, personalized detraction towards your now ex-teammates on your way out, I'm not so sure I will be rooting for you in your new digs.


July 17th, 2009 at 1:13 PM ^

I agree with this. O'Neill, Boren, etc - I had no issue with. They didn't want to be at Michigan, end of story, I don't care. They shouldn't stay if they aren't going to enjoy being on the team here.

This comment disturbs me. I understand he's young, but that wasn't exactly a subtle dig at his teammates. Hopefully he didn't mean it the way it's been portrayed, but it's still weird.


July 17th, 2009 at 5:14 PM ^

You didn't have an issue with Boren, and the comment he made?

Edit: To clarify; I did not have a problem with him going to OSU per se, but it's the shit-talking on the way out the door.
I mean, it gets to me that he went south, but that wasn't my real gripe.


July 17th, 2009 at 1:15 PM ^

I doubt his comment had anything to do with race. Because if Wermer's really doesn't want to be on a team with poor black kids, then I guess he's going to have to find a different sport.

I think it's more likely that he just didn't get along with some of the new recruits. Maybe some of them are just assholes. Being an engineer or an honor student doesn't mean that you can't be an asshole.

So yeah, I agree with Brian; dude should have kept his mouth shut.


July 17th, 2009 at 1:16 PM ^

Everyone acts like he never met the new guys but wouldn't he have met them during offical visits? Sure, it was a stupid comment and not well thought out but then again he's still a kid. It just seems as though there's something there or we wouldn't be hearing things like this from players as they're leaving.


July 17th, 2009 at 1:20 PM ^

What gets lost in all of these transfers is where these kids are transfering to. If a guy transfers to the MAC and cries "family values" or " I didn't fit the system" I equate that to I wasn't going to play and didn't want to put in the work and ride the bench. Guys like Threet/Clemons/Mallet who transfer to other BCS schools I don't have a problem with because they clearly have the talent to play at top level schools, they just didn't fit in with the new philosophy.

Boren is different for obviously reasons. But I think in each case you need to look at the player and look at the school he is going to to. McGuffie is a great example. He was homesick so he transfered to a school closer to home. I have no beef with that. But if you are clearly transfering to a lower level school, it's not hard to see the real reason.

Yinka Double Dare

July 17th, 2009 at 4:33 PM ^

It was especially easy to be OK with Guff -- we knew it wasn't because of not putting in the work or anything like that, the guy started the opener as a true freshman. Obviously the coaches were impressed with his talent and his work in practice. The guy took a royal beating on the field for our team too. I hope he recovers well and rips things up for Rice. As long as we don't play them, of course.

Can't blame Threet either, he played hurt repeatedly and did the best he could. Selfishly I think we all would have liked him to stay because of our QB depth, but I don't blame him at all, he saw the writing on the wall and I imagine he feels ASU's system gives him a better chance to succeed. He doesn't owe us anything after playing with his injuries and trying to play the end of the Purdue game with a concussion. I hope he gets to start and that he burns USC one of these next few years.

It really isn't that hard to just say "it didn't work out/the system wasn't for me/(insert other non-descript reason for leaving)" instead of taking shots on the way out.


July 17th, 2009 at 1:26 PM ^

The whole thing boils down to a kid who was trying to cover up the fact that he quit something, just like Boren. Sure, they can argue that it wasn't about "couldn't hack it', it was about 'didn't fit in the new system', but the reality is: 'not fitting in' still falls under 'couldn't hack it'.

At their core, every competitive athlete knows it, "You walk away, you quit" no matter what the playing field is. You may prove yourself again somewhere else, but on that day, you failed/lost/quit... It is a hard thing to live with, and a harder thing to answer questions about. So Wermers decides to weasel out by questioning the program... so that people will stop questioning him.


July 17th, 2009 at 1:46 PM ^

I agree with you and I have personal experience to back up my opinion. I played college football and after 3 years I walked away...I quit. It was really hard but eventually I accepted the fact I wasn't quite good enough to play at that level and was happy I at least gave it a shot. I wish more players would just man up when they leave.


July 17th, 2009 at 5:23 PM ^

But it's pretty subjective. You cannot say with certainty that in his own mind, it wasn't the new players. Regarding his other comments about it being a business, and a different ballgame under Carr etc.. I sort of agree.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending him at all. My whole point would be for him to keep his mouth shut, and have some goddamn self-respect/honor/Integrity/whatever.

Edit: I didn't dock you that point either, it was like that I swear. Srsly. ;)


July 17th, 2009 at 1:27 PM ^

I hate the whole "he's just a kid" excuse when talking about players. Sure if the kid is under 18 or still in high school I feel it's premature to talk about them good or bad. But if you are legally able to vote and serve in the military then I feel you should be held to a higher standard and should not be free of critism or public scrutiny.

Wermers "different crowd" comment was wrong and as such he should be criticized for it and should not be given a free pass because "he is just a kid". IMO he is an adult and should know better.


July 17th, 2009 at 1:49 PM ^

That's a serious question: are people being unnecessarily abusive to Wermers? I don't see it.

Just because people are being critical of Wermers personally doesn't automatically mean that it's "abusive and insulting." I don't think you understand that e-fact.


July 17th, 2009 at 1:54 PM ^

I would say making posts that implied Wermers didn't work hard, was fat & out of shape or was lazy would constitute insulting comments with little evidence to back up such claims. These types of posts can be found on several different Michigan message boards on the interwebs.


July 17th, 2009 at 2:55 PM ^

I'll give you the "fat" comments. But for the other examples, "not my kind of crowd" almost implies the same thing, Jay. Unless he's a racist (doubtful), then the "not my kind of crowd" was just a statement that said "I don't want to work for my spot on the team" or "I'm not motivated enough" or whatever.

Can that be interpreted any other way? Wermers himself opened the door on this criticism, so I'm not sure I see how it's unfair to turn his own words around on him.


July 17th, 2009 at 3:11 PM ^

Okay, I fail to see how "not my kind of crowd" = "I don't want to work for my spot on the team." Personally, I believe the kid transferred because he:

1) Didn't like/get along with the coaching staff. (This doesn't have to be anybody's fault, either. It happens.)

2) Wasn't enjoying his time at Michigan and thought he would be better off somewhere else.


July 17th, 2009 at 3:34 PM ^

His "not my kind of crowd" comment was explicitly directed to his teammates, NOT the coaching staff. So...what do you think he meant by that?

There really isn't a good way to explain the "not my kind of crowd" comment. If there is, I'd love to hear it.

It would be one thing if he had just said something vague like "it wasn't a good fit and it didn't work out for either me or the team." But, again, that's not what he said, and we shouldn't pretend otherwise.


July 17th, 2009 at 3:48 PM ^

...we could construe it to mean, "people that care waaaaaaaaaaaaay more about football than school." Problem is, when you heave that out there, it looks pretty bad on its own. Other problem is that there's no evidence that any of those guys are blowing off school.


July 17th, 2009 at 6:55 PM ^

Unless he's a racist (doubtful),

Out of curiosity, why do you that would be doubtful? I think most people (regardless of skin color) are racist to some degree - although most of us are at least able to suppress/compartmentalize our racist instincts when in the presence of people of other backgrounds.

Meeechigan Dan

July 17th, 2009 at 7:16 PM ^

I disagree. Racist means you feel another race is inferior. I think you are confusing racism with noticing race. We all notice race. Sometimes I feel guilty if I notice race to readily, but I have never thought for a second that person of another race is inferior. And I don't think most people on this board do either.


July 20th, 2009 at 9:49 AM ^

It's possible that Wermers is a racist, just like it's possible that you and I are also racists. But I doubt that Wermers is racist simply because the sport of football is, from the peewee level on up, very diverse. So if Wermers was uncomfortable around non-whites, he would have exited and found another sport a long time ago.


July 17th, 2009 at 1:28 PM ^

This is my take on the statement "Not My Kind of Crowd":
He is under-competitive/not cut out for a top tier program and didn't want to compete with very talented linemen that want to work really hard and be really good at football. Makes him sound like an entitled whiny rich kid from a wealthy white suburb to me.

Meeechigan Dan

July 17th, 2009 at 1:29 PM ^

Well said, Brian. I still think it all boils down to kids who don't want to rip out their spleens to win. Might that not encompass the great majority of transfers to date?

The merit of spleen-ripping dedication as a prerequisite to playing collegiate athletics is another debate. Even if we could marshall an argument in favor of a Chariots of Fire flavor to the collegiate althletics, I think we'll be damn happy down the road when we see Buckeyes buried under a mountain of spleens.


July 17th, 2009 at 1:39 PM ^


If you have something you only want to share with Brian, fine. Clearly you did, so you emailed him. Do you really have to remind him to check his email?

If you have something you want to share with everybody, then share it. Don't play the stupid, "Oh my goodness guys don't ask me about my day because it was absolutely awful and I don't want to talk about it but I guess if you're going to push I can give you a hint as to what happened ok you convinced me this is why my life sucks" game.


July 17th, 2009 at 1:40 PM ^

Yes, your "explanation" yesterday was an oblique reference to the idea that some teammates regularly steal stuff from other guys, and that's the crowd that Wermers didn't like.

So if by "explaining" you mean "vaguely slander M kids' character," then yes, you did that. Good job.


July 17th, 2009 at 2:00 PM ^

I hadn't come across the insinuation that some new players on the team are thieves. Wonderful. Once this notion gets established in the blogosphere, it'll be virtually impossible to erase, like allegations of wife-beating. The insidious thing is that it can very easily create a kernel of doubt in people, esp. if it involves poor minority kids from another part of the country.