Human beings to do not like being rebuked. I’m not talking about sitting around, blabbering on and on about matters of opinion. If you and your friends are arguing about who was supposed to win the game this weekend, then rebuke, no matter how wrong you think your friend, roommate, or barstool neighbor is, should not enter into the equation. However, sometimes a human being or an organization does something wrong; flat out, unanimously guilty, infinitely, inescapably, wrong.
Over the course of the summer, beginning with mumbled rumors in spring, we got to see an arch-rival, the hated Ohio State Buckeyes implode on a most incredibly entertaining level. Now, my point in this diary is not to discuss what the NCAA will do, or not do, not to shed light on Gee and Smith, not even to debate whether what they did was wrong. All of this has been covered. I’d like to look at the Ohio fan base response and ask, why?
We all have several stories of buckeye pals (if you’re willing to put them at “pal” status) who have responded to their beloved team’s recent moral short comings in outstandingly irrational ways. Hands down, the most frustrating conversation I’ve ever gotten into over the matter, which inspired this little written piece, occurred last Friday, at a local sports bar.
I was choking down buffalo wing after buffalo wing, chasing them with tall Coors originals, when I got into a conversation with the gentleman sitting next to me. You know how this goes:
Me: Yeah, I’ve been a Michigan fan since I was born.
My Neighbor: Oh, well that sucks.
(ENGAGE BATTLE MODE)
It turns out that the dude in the Tap-Out hat, with the beard that was longer at the goatee portion than his cheeks, with the gigantic metal bulb earrings was an Ohio State fan. I immediately went for the jugular, (rude, I know) and asked him if the Bucks were going to make a bowl game this year. As I’m sure you already know, things turned ugly…fast. What the conversation boiled down to was a debate of the violations that had been reported against that school down south. After I listed off only half of them (I hadn’t made it to the Pryor fiasco, yet) he stopped me and said, “You know, the way I see it, is that everybody does that stuff.” All I could hear in my mind were the words “You know, everybody murders people”, but I kept smiling and nodding. I asked him why hadn’t everybody been caught, or at least been the subject of a major scandal that snagged more ESPN headlines than the New York Yankees post-season departure. His response?
“That stuff doesn’t matter.”
I’ll make this clear, if any of you and I are ever in a conversation in which you tell me that not only the law, court decisions and well-backed investigative journalism, let alone pure founded logic “doesn’t matter”, our chat will probably end there, too.
I finished my wings, drank my beer, and spent the rest of the weekend wondering.
In reality, friends, human beings will do everything within their power to simply, not be wrong. Most Ohio fans didn’t even attend the school, or play for the team, but they still hold fast, denying any wrong doing, or referencing other unfounded cases of corruption in (not just) college sports. As a living being in a human body, we can force ourselves to accept our circumstances: being lied to, losing our job, being accused of a crime…but not being wrong.
And this is why, until the day I die, until the day my future children’s children die, the Ohio administration and fan base will always respond to accusations of corruption during that ten year stretch of domination thanks to Clarett, Smith and Pryor, with the following statement:
“You know it happens everywhere.”
When clearly, it doesn’t.