Opinion: What Is Really Going on with the Free Press Accusations

Submitted by UMFootballCrazy on August 31st, 2009 at 7:32 PM

As the story broke and as reports, clarifications, comments, support, etc. has come rolling in, and as I have tried to digest all of it including your comments, I have tried to wrap my head around the motivations of the two "reporters" [and I use that term loosely] at the FP. I asked myself what is it that motivates two UM alums to do this type of "gotcha" journalism? In these types of instances, the best thing to do is to look for the "common cold," as opposed to bizarre theories. Here is my conclusion:

1. Given that both these men were opposed to Coach Rodriguez being hired and that, even giving them the benefit of the doubt about their desire to seek what is best for the program, that there article is a deliberate attempt here to take down Coach Rodriguez, to get him fired, make him resign, etc. That is the big motive.

2. Given the timing of this article, it also seems to be an attempt to put any achievements of the coach under a cloud. This is not meant as a benefit to the program, to clean it up, reform it, etc. It is not just an attack on Coach Rodriguez with the goal to get rid of him, it is also an attack on his record. Just has he is potentially on the verge of turning this program around, these two writers have planted the seed: Coach Rodriguez only wins because he is a cheat. His "work hard" mantra is well known back to WVU, and the implication here is that he has only been able to win by violating the amount of time he "requires" from his players.

It used to be standard thinking that once the program started winning, Coach Rodriguez would be embraced by all and would finally become a "Michigan Man." By trying to pin the label of "cheater" on him, these two, who shall not be named, are, in my opinion, trying to forever prevent "the Hick" from becoming "one of us." By casting these aspersions, they can dismiss, even if only in their own minds, his success as the ill-gotten gain of cheating that does nothing but taint this fine institution. Even if he wins, now, he loses.

Without this, they know that sooner or later he will win, and when he wins, he will be embraced. And if everyone else embraces him, they will be expected to as well, something they could never do. "The Hick" will never be one of "us." Thus the smear campaign. It does not matter whether or not there is any truth to the allegations. As in most Main Stream Media, all that matters is the "Seriousness of the Charge." All that will matter is that the allegations are out there and that they can keep coming back to this hinting that even if the NCAA finds nothing that there must be some violation there because, after all, no one would make a charge this serious unless there was substance to it. The cloud will remain, not because it has any basis in truth, but because of the seriousness of the charge.

If this were politics we would call it the "politics of personal destruction." It is reprehensible, even in politics, more so in something as superfluous as sports. As I watched Coach Rodriguez, obviously hurting, seemingly in complete disbelief that someone would charge that he would harm his athletes, I was furious watching a good man being systematically attacked, "destroyed," and knowing that he was completely helpless to stop this circus. Because in the end, it does not matter that the charges stick or not, all that matters is the cloud that the accusation creates. He has been tainted in their eyes and no matter what evidence is brought to counter this charge, they will hold the charge over his head in perpetuity. That cloud says: “Cheater.” It makes me sick to my stomach.


Henne for Heis…

August 31st, 2009 at 7:39 PM ^

Good comments. However, I don't think that this cloud will follow him forever. You are giving way too much credit to those two retards. RR will succeed, and when he does it will be great. The only people who will keep harping the whole "cheating" thing are Mr and Mrs Retard, who by then will have 0 credibility.

Enjoy Life

August 31st, 2009 at 7:59 PM ^

There will be no clouds if RR wins.

I do agree that these are attempts by desperate people who are scared shitless that RR will start winning and their agenda will go down in flames. They are hoping this will get rid of RR before he has a chance to win. They are wrong.


August 31st, 2009 at 8:15 PM ^

Rich Rod and the Athletic Department could have put this matter to rest very easily. They could have just released a statement saying The Free Press is entitled to their opinion, but we see no reason to react to their allegations. We have always followed the rules set forth by the NCAA and will continue to do so. We did not need to see RR get emotional and give the media any more ammunition to pile on and make a non-story into media frenzy. The less attention given to that rag of a newspaper the better.

STW P. Brabbs

August 31st, 2009 at 8:15 PM ^

I think this "Rosenberg doesn't like Rodriguez because the former is a liberal elitist" meme is bullshit. As has been pointed out, Lloyd is from Tennessee. If I had to guess, I'd say that Rosenberg decided he didn't like Rodriguez because he had a knee-jerk response to the way Rod left WVU.

I think you're projecting some other widespread (and specious )memes of popular sociology here.

STW P. Brabbs

September 1st, 2009 at 6:36 AM ^

That Rosenberg hates Rodriguez with the passion of a thousand I-Want-To-Be-Mitch-Albom-Cum-Dave-Eggers-So-Badly-It-Makes-My-Eyes-Cross-Oh-Wait-That's-Just-Genetic suns.

I just don't think it's because he thinks Rodriguez is a hick. Painting Rosenberg an elitist and Rodriguez as a Southern everyman is fitting them into a cable news script that doesn't actually apply here.

tom c

August 31st, 2009 at 8:27 PM ^

A friend that was a QB for App State wanted to know when Mich was going to get rid of the rest of its whiners and get back to dominating the Big Ten. He laughed at the idea of twenty hours a week.


August 31st, 2009 at 8:38 PM ^

We may never know the whole truth behind the agendae of those who have tried to discredit the UM football program, but Brian did make a pretty good case that there definitely is one. I really don't like it that Rosenpuke and Shyster allowed their petty, personal emnities to get in the way of their professional judgement and performance, though.

I wrote something like this in the A2 News comments about the Carty hatchet job: the press has a responsibility to their readers to give fair, balanced, and unbiased reporting. This responsibility shouldn't be taken lightly, but was trampled by Carty et al and now Rosenpuke and Shyster.

I feel that these kinds of excursions into tabloid mentality trivialize the importance of a free press (obviously not to be confused with the Free Press), and should not be tolerated by the respective editors of the papers that allowed the stories to be published.

What makes this even worse for UM fans is that the Ann Arbor/Detroit market seems to be the only one where reporters try to tear down their local teams with this kind of "journalism." I don't see any of this in Columbus or EL, for example, and the LA papers certainly aren't leading any charge to make USC pay for their violations or for Carroll to be fired.

It only happens in Michigan. To UM. And that really, really sucks.

Meeechigan Dan

August 31st, 2009 at 8:40 PM ^

Bravo. There is a silver lining in this cloud besides the fact that Western Michigan is about to be turned into a scattered neutrinos, and that is there will be a zero tolerance policy for anything remotely shady over this man's long career. Not that he would be so inclined, but that the grey areas are no longer grey, for both RR and his various and sundry staff throughout the years. We will define the squeak in squeaky clean, I'm betting.

And he is going to win so big, so sick, that gnats like the Freeptards will fade from memory.

Don't worry, UMCrazy.


August 31st, 2009 at 8:51 PM ^

Perhaps you are right. But look at the effect that steroids has had on baseball. Even those that were/are clean are tainted with the "it was the era" "everyone was doing it" theme. I am not sure the "everyone does it theme" help as well. These two clowns seem to want to do what they can to get the label "cheeter" to stick.


August 31st, 2009 at 9:21 PM ^

This is no more than self-promotion by these writers...getting their names out there. Simple model championed by Drew Sharp and Rob Parker...take the contrarian view always and/or trash your alma mater to engender a sense of objectivity. There are only two truly talented, entertaining columnists in this town (Wojnowski and Albom) that can make/keep a living in the business by being honest, objective, entertaining, and yes, unapologetically (is that a word?) biased to the home team. These guys, however, are mediocre beat writers trying to break into another genre of writing, ala Fred Girard.


August 31st, 2009 at 9:35 PM ^

is being fabricated. Is it possible there is a "mole" in the athletic department? Could there be someone who has an axe to grind over the way Rich Rodriguez "cleaned house" by firing almost all of the coaches and staff? How else would the dbs have gotten the idea of overly long workouts and to contact former players about it.

Although it is possible they interviewed every player that left disgruntled until one gave them an idea to follow up on, but after seeing these two last night on tv, I don't think they are collectively smart enough to think of an idea on their own.

Wouldn't it take someone with access to the owrkouts, Schembechler Hall and the documents proving these extra hours. If the "reporters" are making these claims, but not backing them up with documents or stats to prove their point, wouldn't they need a "source" within the AD to verify that the records are damming to the coach.

Something about this whole thing stinks. Either these guys know something and are saving it to publish later, or know there's substance to what the ex-players are saying and want the NCAA to find it. Or, they just hate RR and want him gone. These two are putting what's left of their careers on the line over this, or they have an inside source.

If all they want is the coach fired, it will only truly tarnish the reputation and permanently scar the program if Rich is fired. If RR goes, so goes Martin and then they would be looking for another AD and coach and we would look just as ridiculous as what ND has become.

I think all the accusations are crap and time will prove RichRod is clean and so is the program, but without a quick turn around on the field, the whispers of all this will linger much too long.

A good ole fashioned ass-whoopin' Saturday will be a good first step to putting all this bullshit behind the program.


August 31st, 2009 at 10:02 PM ^

The whole thing about "the seriousness of the charge" is that allows the "reporters" to wrap themselves in the "principles" and express concern over "the rules that are being broken" and all this seemingly righteous indignation keeps them from discovering how self deluded they are about their own motives. I am relatively sure these men believe they are doing the right thing and that the seriousness of what these young men were telling them just had to be reported.