An Open Letter to Drew Sharp

Submitted by Seth9 on February 4th, 2010 at 1:43 AM

I wrote this open letter to Drew Sharp after listening to Sharp's podcast provided by BlockM. Should he reply, his reply will appear in the comments. Anyway, here it goes:

Mr. Sharp,

I am going to preface my email by telling you that I am a Michigan student and a lifelong Michigan fan, as I feel that it is only fair that you are aware of this before I address the subject of your comments about Demar Dorsey. Furthermore, I will also say that I have no problem with your asking questions about Dorsey’s history to Coach Rodriguez, as that is justifiably part of your job as a reporter. However, I do take issue some of your comments made on your 1130 radio show, having listened to the released podcast.* Also, it is only fair that I inform you that this is an open letter and I will make public your the entirety of your response, if you are so kind as to provide one.

First of all, I question your stance on accepting athletes who have been charged with a crime, but not convicted. As I understand it, Demar Dorsey was acquitted of an armed robbery charge and had charges of burglary against him dismissed. Based on your comments, I assume that you do not believe that athletes who are charged with a crime (or at least, charged with a crime and brought to court), should be allowed to play for the University of Michigan. I take issue with this because it means that any teenager incorrectly charged with a crime is automatically precluded from playing football at Michigan through no fault of his own. As Dorsey was acquitted, and Coach Rodriguez says that he has investigated the matter and believes that he did not commit any crime, I cannot see any moral justification for denying him the opportunity to play football at the University of Michigan. According to your view on how Michigan should conduct itself, Michigan should not accept any player accused of a crime, even if the university believes the player to be innocent, on the basis of upholding a high moral standard. Forgive me, but that seems to be rather disingenuous.

Second of all, I question the journalistic ethics that you have applied when commenting about Demar Dorsey. You compared Dorsey’s acquittal to OJ Simpson’s acquittal without giving any link between the two cases other than the fact that both of them involve football players. Furthermore, you heavily suggested the possibility, and seemed to insinuate that you believe it is likely, that Demar Dorsey was not found guilty because he is a high profile football player. I take issue with this because you did not justify this suspicion with any evidence. You did not discuss any specifics of the Dorsey case, including the evidence that the prosecutors presented in his jury trial. You did not provide any quotes about Dorsey by anyone who knew him. In fact, the only thing that you provided as reason to distrust the Dorsey verdict was a sweeping generalization of football players in the court system, claiming that football players often receive favorable treatment in the justice system. And the only evidence that you provided to back up this generalization was the OJ Simpson case, a heavily publicized trial involving one of the most famous NFL players of all time. Forgive me, but that does not seem to be a fair parallel to a trial involving a high school football player in Fort Lauderdale.

As you consider yourself to be a legitimate journalist, I feel that it is your obligation to provide specific details and a body of evidence to support your view that there is reason to doubt that Dorsey actually committed any crime. If you do not do so, as a journalist it would be unethical to do anything but recant your previous statements and offer an apology to Demar Dorsey.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

*Here is the link to the podcast I listened too, should you wish to hear the entirety of the comments that I am writing to you about:

http://a1135.g.akamai.net/f/1135/18227/1h/cchannel.download.akamai.com/18227/podcast/DETROIT-MI/WDFN-AM/2-3%20demar%20dorsey.mp3?CPROG=PCAST&MARKET=DETROIT-MI&NG_FORMAT=sports&SITE_ID=1128&STATION_ID=WDFN-AM&PCAST_AUTHOR=Detroit_Sports_Talk_1130_AM&PCAST_CAT=Sports&PCAST_TITLE=Shep_%26_Sharp_Podcast

Comments

bklein09

February 4th, 2010 at 3:25 AM ^

I am assuming you emailed this letter to him? I hope so...

I also hope that you continue to email it to him 3 times daily until he responds.

You should also try to fax and leave messages on his work voicemail.

Seriously though, nice work on this.

bjk

February 4th, 2010 at 3:49 AM ^

I feel that it is your obligation to provide specific details and a body of evidence to support your view that there is reason to doubt suspect that Dorsey actually committed any crime.

BigWeb17

February 4th, 2010 at 6:32 AM ^

Now, send it in increments to his facebook profile and/or the wall. He (Drew Sharp)should have just made MSU references while he was at it...but I think he is a State homer, right?

Well done.

GOBLUE4EVR

February 4th, 2010 at 9:57 AM ^

the part that pisses of michigan fans off the most... i remember when my dad told me he was a UofM grad i didn't believe him... the only time i have ever heard him be some what positive about michigan was the day BO died and that was for obvious reasons... but as you said he is a dick to EVERY sports team in michigan that is worth worrying about... the guy got kicked off the air waves of 97.1 because the lions brass made a phone call and said they were tired of the constant lions bashing... on 1130 he can get away with it now because 1130 is basically nothing in metro detroit. they don't carry any of the pro sports or college teams anymore so he can bash away...

bacon

February 4th, 2010 at 7:15 AM ^

This is a great letter. You should send it to the editor. The freep is such a crappy paper, do they have an editor? Anyway, very well done.

Also, I think if the Mgoblog community really wants to send a message to the freep, the freep boycott should be extended to companies that advertise in the freep.

Ernis

February 4th, 2010 at 7:45 AM ^

You are a fan. You have no ability to see things objectively. This letter is just proof, brah.

But seriously, well done. Rational and even-tempered. Hopefully he reads it.

bbop1322

February 4th, 2010 at 7:44 AM ^

I'm a life-long fan as well. I was born in MI but raised in FL all of my life. Is the Free Press really out to get UM? I always get the feeling that they don't really care for big blue?

jblaze

February 4th, 2010 at 8:03 AM ^

with sending it, but the best option is to ignore and encourage your friends/ family to ignore that paper.

It's a business and Sharp is a business man who is (now) doing his job very well. He's getting readers to listen to his podcast, read his paper, link to articles...

That is what he is supposed to do. That brings their business Gannett (symbol: GCI) who is a public corporation more money. Until he does something to decrease revenue, the paper won't care, and if they do care, the larger corporation will not and should not (they have a responsibility to maximize the stock price to the shareholder).

pullin4blue

February 4th, 2010 at 8:03 AM ^

Nice letter. You were much calmer than I would have been. You also showed great restraint in not mentioning the multitude of criminal convictions in East Lansing that did not receive the same level of scrutiny.

AC1997

February 4th, 2010 at 8:13 AM ^

Kudos to you for keeping the letter professional. That's probably the only way you can get through to him - even though that is the EXACT OPPOSITE of how he practices journalism. The only way he thinks he can get through to readers/listeners is to over-react to something and take a stance that he knows is going to piss everyone off. Glad you took the high road, even if I don't think it will even register on his radar.

I personally would have been tempted to brint up the Feagin and MSU situations in the letter. Why not cite Rodriguez's reaction to the Feagin situation? I'm sure that if Dorsey gets in trouble he will be booted instantly.

Contrast that with MSU and the numerous football players who were given second or third chances despite pleading guilty to crimes. Or with the MSU hockey team who lets Troop stay because he's a good player despite hacking another kid with a stick while he was down on the ice.

It would have been hard for me not to mention that in a similar letter. As I don't read the Freep anymore this Sharp situation didn't even register with me.

E.H.

February 4th, 2010 at 8:21 AM ^

Sharp adds very little value as a columnist and I have been disappointed with the Freep for some time now, but it absolutely blows me away when I see the extent to which some Michigan fans have the blinders on with regards to Rich Rodriguez. Why should he get the benefit of the doubt? His roster was littered with thugs and criminals at West Virginia (see Henry, Chris; and Jones, Pacman) and we've already been through the Justin Feagin cocaine-trafficking at Michigan. Rodriguez is scum, this was the worst possible hire and fit imaginable given Michigan's history, culture and values and I'm totally BLOWN AWAY by how so many people still fail to see it. He has done nothing short of CRATER this program in two years and hopefully it will be over in 10 months after another embarrassment of a season. Two separate incidents a month apart in which he was charged with a felony, and you write Drew Sharp a letter chastising him? Just step back for a minute and think about how ludicrous that is. Congratulations. We are now fans of FLORIDA STATE NORTH, where thugs and low-lifes are the rule not the exception, and where 7-5 is the high water mark! Yay! Go Blue!!!

Michigasling

February 4th, 2010 at 4:30 PM ^

Was it Greg Skrepenak who just pled guilty of corruption? Okay, maybe he was still a good boy while under the old regime and only got corrupted himself from those bad boys in the NFL. There are bad apples. Some because they have seriously bad apples around them when they're young and impressionable and can be saved getting away from the scum and getting help wiping the scum off of themselves, and maybe some just sour in their own way when they're old enough to know better. But the apple-barrel thing seems applicable.

Baldbill

February 4th, 2010 at 8:40 AM ^

The fact that Michigan has extended an offer to a young man that has not exactly been an angel in life to date does not bother me too much. What Dorsey has is an opportunity to go to college, play football for a major college team and a shot at the NFL. I think the staff and the other players at Michigan should try to help make sure he doesn't put himself in any more trouble but lets be honest he was a kid, give him a chance to put it behind himself.
The real issue here is how Mr. Sharp can ignore the huge issue of the MSU players that have been committing crimes while they are in college on the football team. How is it that it is ok for them to do it or at least not get a grilling in the press by such an astute reporter is beyond comprehension. If Mr. Dorsey behaves in such a fashion as the afore mentioned MSU players I would expect him to be kicked off the team. I don't think it is fair or correct to 'put the kid on trial' again for something that is in his past.
I am a Michigan supporter and I support RR and his team. They are my team and I welcome the new recruits. They must and should be held to the standards of the University but you have to give them the chance.

EdLed

February 4th, 2010 at 9:53 AM ^

It is clear that you are not a Michigan grad. You have no class, and take journalism well below the level of Drew Sharp. You are uninformed on the issue, emotional, biased and generally crass and rude. I hold three degrees from UM and have been a supporter for over thirty years. I believe the RR hire was a very good one and applaud Bill Martin. I'm glad RR went into depth to investigate this and gave Dorsey the benefit of any doubt that may or may not exist. A competent executive such as Dave Brandon is not going to fire RR until he has four complete recruiting classes and has played them. So we will see three more seasons of play before RR is seriously at risk of losing his job, unless he does not gradually improve his record. RR is going to be fine, and will soon make M a winner again. As this occurs, weak individuals such as you will disappear, to the benefit of all.

Mountaineers Fanatic

February 10th, 2010 at 4:38 PM ^

As a WVU fan, I know first hand when it comes to WVU and RR. I just wanted to make sure you know that neither Chris Henry nor Pacman Jones were ever in trouble while attending WVU. What a person does after leaving college is not a reflection on the college coach. As far as Feagin goes, nobody, including his HS coach knew about his drug problems. And for the record, he was never charged with any type of trafficing while at UM.

Maybe you should get your facts straight before you come on a board and look like a total tool.

Elno Lewis

February 4th, 2010 at 8:30 AM ^

Not sure about the wisdom of posting your real name on this site, but the letter is well written. If Sharp does answer, he will most definitely apply so much spin that Glenn Beck would be proud.

I have put you in for the Legion of Lenin award, Seth, with two clusters and a hammer. Should you be given the opportunity to further annihilate the capitolist dog,Sharp, the sickle with be added.

Long live the Revolution!

Viva Seth!

Hemlock Philosopher

February 4th, 2010 at 9:04 AM ^

Good job, Seth. I am not doubting your tact here, but part of me feels that if we just ignore the likes of Sharp and Rosenberg they may just go away or turn their vitriol towards other things. I have a mental image of Sharp hoarding a box of Michigan fan hate mail and sniffing it like a pedophile sniffing children's underwear.

Tater

February 4th, 2010 at 9:17 AM ^

1. Seth, you are a serious MVP candidate for NSD. Your posts were spot on and entertaining for the entire day. I enjoyed your posts as much as those of anyone here.

2. If anyone is interested in pulling a Rosenpuke on Sharp by reviewing his book at Amazon, here is the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Razor-Sharp-Drew/dp/0937247413/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8…

Since his book is already a 1-1/4 star, we probably won't affect much of a change, but it may be interesting to see if we can put him solidly at the minimum. Too bad they don't have a zero-star score.

Anyway, it's a great place to vent about what an idiot he is.

Wolverine 73

February 4th, 2010 at 9:23 AM ^

the podcast, but if you have described it accurately, Sharp's comments are borderline libelous of Dorsey. You can't slyly imply that someone who has had charges against him dropped or been acquitted of those charges is in fact guilty a la OJ Simpson when you know nothing about the situation--and there can be little doubt that Sharp did not spend yesterday afternoon investigating the charges against Dorsey before writing and speaking about them. Look, if the kid is a bad actor, then he shouldn't have gotten an offer; but Sharp doesn't know that, and the only people who likely have a good idea are the coaches who checked him out. They were satisfied with his character, as were the SC and FSU and likely Florida recruiters. You have to give someone who was charged and not convicted the benefit of the doubt. That is just fundamental fairness.

Tater

February 4th, 2010 at 9:27 AM ^

I left a review for Sharp's book:

Some writers combine wit, intellect, and comedic timing to create entertaining reads. Unfortunately, Drew Sharp is not one of them. Sharp appears to fancy himself a modern-day Lenny Bruce. Unfortunately, the only Lenny Bruce with which he has anything in common is the one whose bitterness consumed his talent at the end of his career.

Sharp is one of the most negative writers I have ever seen. He seems to feel that his writing is inadequite, so he chooses to create bilious output, hoping to evoke "knee-jerk" reactions from his readers so that they forget just how much of a hack he really is.

I'm sure Sharp's book has some use, but other than potty-training a puppy, I can't really find one.

mendrygal

February 4th, 2010 at 9:31 AM ^

I just got his article in the freep linked to me by family in Michigan. I'm on a campaign now to make sure none of them read anymore freep articles. As soon as I read it (mostly for ammo against the paper) I checked this site, and found one of our members had the situation well in hand. Good work.

stmccoy

February 4th, 2010 at 9:34 AM ^

I hope he learns the difference between accused and convicted. I think it’s pretty much the same as not guilty or guilty. What happened to a presumption of innocence that is a cornerstone of American justice system? I guess it doesn't apply to Michigan football recruits.

schmakj

February 4th, 2010 at 9:53 AM ^

"Until you get your heads out of your back pockets and look at EVERYTHING. Don't stand up there and pass judgement on the media on stuff like this because you make yourself look like an ass... This is why the newspapers are dying, because, if you actually read the newspapers instead of getting your information out of little bloggers, maybe you would get a little more depth of whats going on, not just on stupid stuff like sports, but the rest of the world." ~Drew Sharp, from that podcast

So says a man who is basing his entire judgement of a kid and a coach from the facts that a 16 year old was charged and acquitted on felony charges and Mr. Sharp correlates this with the kid being an athlete.

Perhaps he needs to be careful and get his head out of his back pocket and look at EVERYTHING before he makes himself look like an ass. Perhaps it is too late. Even if the kid steps out of line in the coming years, it still does not vindicate Sharp's premature judgement of player or coach.

(I posted this quote on an mgoboard thread that may be buried now, but the quote is too ironic and intriguing to not post it on this great diary entry.)

Dr Sardonicus

February 4th, 2010 at 10:14 AM ^

I've never bothered to e-mail Sharp because he's generally not worth taking seriously, but the OJ comparison really put this one over the top.

Based on others' exchanges with Sharp, he'll probably just accuse you of being a U-M homer who is blind to any faults at U-M. He loves to tear down straw men and hold himself out as the only truly honest man.

It's clear from his column that Rodriguez did talk to him privately after the presser, likely off the record, about Dorsey's situation. I suspect the column would have been worse if that hadn't happened.