How sane are we?

Submitted by Gameboy on January 19th, 2013 at 11:14 AM

While we are bathing in the sweet, sweet milk of ND schadenfreude, perhaps we should reflect on exactly what we would do in the same situation. Are we better than these pathetic ND fans who believe everything Te'o is spewing? Would we have condemned Bo if he did the same thing as JoePa?

In a great all Te'o mailbag, Bill Simmons laid out following levels Indefensively Defending Sports Figure;

Level 1: Reserved for harmless stuff — like Boston fans defending Kevin Garnett every time he acts like a bully or an a-hole (just because he's on our team and we love him and that's what you do when it's your guy), or Cowboys fans blindly defending Tony Romo's litany of choke jobs just because they love Tony Romo, or Miami fans refusing to admit that Dwyane Wade is an occasionally dirty player, or Utah fans arguing that Karl Malone really DID have some clutch moments. All benevolent fan-defending goes here.

Level 2: A blown-out version of the first level — the stakes are a little higher only because there's a little more of that hits-too-close-to-home sensitivity. Like how Ravens fans fly off the handle every time someone jokes about Ray Lewis's incident from 2000. Yes, you could throw Kobe and the Lakers fans in here. As well as Red Sox fans post-2004 right after any steroids joke about Manny or Papi.

Level 3: Any longtime O.J. Simpson fan now making the "If we're going to make excuses for Junior Seau, why can't we make the same excuses for everything that happened to O.J. after he retired? What if he has CTE, too?" defense. This gets its own level. By the way, I'm all-in on the CTE O.J. defense. He should start pushing it right now.

Level 4: Any Notre Dame fan pushing the whole "Look, Manti is the one who's a victim here!" scenario. If you play the catfishing/naive angle hard enough, the "victim" door is juuuuuuuuuuuuuust open enough that they don't sound completely insane. Just marginally insane.

Level 5: Anyone defending baseball cheaters (Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, etc.) with the always hilarious "We don't know for sure" defense or the equally hilarious "Come on, everyone was cheating, any competitive person would have done what they did" defense. All PED defenses go here. So does everyone defending Lance Armstrong's last two decades of lying/cheating/bullying/threatening/intimidating because "he did some real good, too."

Level 6: Anyone who wanted the Paterno statue to stay up; anyone who thinks that Paterno and/or Penn State's administration didn't have an inkling that something was at the very least a little off with Jerry Sandusky; anyone who rushed out a mostly flattering post-scandal biography about Paterno without waiting for the entire investigation to play out; and anyone who said the words, "Well, this may have complicated Joe's legacy, but it didn't change all the great things he did." Welcome to the highest level of Indefensibly Defending Sports Figures.

Looking at the list, even in the depths of Fab Five scandal, Michigan fans were never more than guilty of level 2 violation. Or have we committed worse offense in the past?


San Diego Mick

January 19th, 2013 at 11:27 AM ^

about posting a similar thread about how we would act if it was our school.

Bo would have never done what JoePa did and prolly lynched Sandusky himself and certainly would've sent him out the door as soon as he heard rumors. That being said, had he let it slide, I would have been embarrassed and not forgiven him for something like that, especially as a U-M coach, no apologist here.

It's like what I tell ohio fans, if Tressel had done that as Mich coach, I would hate his guts for hurting the program, don't care how many wins he had or how many times he beta ohio, especially not exult him!

If Manti had played for us, I'd be really skeptical, but I would be concerned for him being so gullible in his future. Something is still amiss about that whole episode.


January 19th, 2013 at 1:10 PM ^

I agree here, but I wonder if it would make something of a difference if Both had remained head coach until this year and had died just as the early details were telling us that he was at even more fault than we had initially been led to believe. I think that part of PSU's response was trying to return blind devotion to someone who, for over 40 years, sacrificed far more than he ever should have for the benefit of the university as well as a somewhat misguided belief that you should always respect the dead, even if they are horrible people.

snarling wolverine

January 19th, 2013 at 1:14 PM ^

But it also says something about JoePa's character that he refused to step down for years and years when people around him were suggesting it was time to go.  Bo retired at age 60.  Yes, he'd had some health issues but they weren't immediately pressing (he'd had his second heart attack two years earlier).  He simply recognized that it was time to call it a career.  JoePa  didn't do that.  I wouldn't say he "sacrificed" - PSU had tried to convince him to retire and he literally told the university president to get off his lawn.


January 19th, 2013 at 11:44 AM ^

Teo sounds like he was embellishing the story and kept it alive, but he could indeed have been a victim. There was even a girl pretending to be Lennay on te phone, and reportedly she tried to keep a relationship going as herself this December.

So why do we assume ND fans are delusional. Its like the Tatgate episode when we UM fans thought the scandle would grow exponentially into cheap rent, free sex for recruits etc. That never came to pass. We sat here this week thinking ND fans were in denial, when maybe we Um fans were just hopeful for a larger trainereck in what actually is a minor derailment.


January 19th, 2013 at 12:00 PM ^

When someone uses the death of someone else to boost their publicity, I have little sympathy for you. Whether Teo was duped or not, he clearly has lied and embellished his way to sympathy, and over something as sensitive and tragic as death from leukimia? the way he talked about this girl like he knew her closely and all that, it's just sickening to me. Duped or not, Teo made this story about himself. 

And I still find it very hard to believe that Teo was duped. He knew, he knew at some point before December, and he kept riding that publicity donkey all the way to the championship game. And the media ate it all up.

I hate everything about this story.

Maximinus Thrax

January 19th, 2013 at 12:13 PM ^

Tatgate most likely included all of those things, the investigators most likely either stopped when they had a scalp, or ran into roadblocks producing witnesses who could provide credible testimony.


As a teenager, I was a hanger on in a group that frequented the dwelling of a parolee.  We frequently drank there on his dime and did many other things.  Needless to say, at one point the place was raided by the police and we were all shitting our pants.  The following things were going on there on a daily basis:

-Underage drinking

-The said parolee and his friends, who had to be in their late twenties at the time, had NUMEROUS underage "girlfriends"

-Drug dealing and manufacture

-Welfare fraud

-Illegal weapons.  I say this now, but at the time it did not occur to me that convicted felons should not be in possession of handguns.



THe end result of the police investigation was that the individual in question was charged with parole violations in connection with providing alcohol to minors.  THis was a great relief to me, because had my mother caught wind of all that was going on, I would have never left the house again.  Needless to say, the results of the investigation were not indicative of the level of wrongdoing going on there.


January 19th, 2013 at 11:44 AM ^

our fine board who lose their sanity with a few topics.  As an example:

- Hoke managing the roster to "encourage" non-contributors to exit

- Borges' play calling (good or bad)

- Anything pro or con about "end of Carr and whole RichRod saga"

- Recruiting in general and oversigning in particular by the SEC

- Staff missing on key recruits

- Any acknowledgement of Urban's success


January 19th, 2013 at 12:50 PM ^

I didn't neg you (and actually agree with you about the inability of the board to credit Urban and typical overreactions to Borges), but when you imply that the staff misses on a ton of key recruits when we're working on back to back top 6 recruiting classes, you sound silly. Additionally, when you make unsubstantiated claims like Hoke tries to force players out who aren't contributing (thereby implying he's being shady), you're going to get a negative response to that.  Additionally, this board does not lose its "sanity" about oversigning, it's a real advantage that combined with other factors is a reason for the SEC's dominance of late.


January 19th, 2013 at 11:46 AM ^

Being from Toledo and now living in the heart of SEC country and being a Michigan fan,my sanity is tested every football season.I stay strong though.I think this board helps keep me in check.


January 19th, 2013 at 11:46 AM ^

He forgot level seven: Writers who never actually played the game, but who relentlessly look for excuses to tear down those who do.  I miss the days when writers reported the news instead of creating it.


January 19th, 2013 at 11:50 AM ^

None of us know all the facts on any of this stuff, but at some point it becomes okay to assume the apparently-obvious is true. The whole story isn't out yet on T'eo, but right now, if he were a Michigan guy, I'd be saying what I'm about to say about Manti, assuming it's true and there aren't more facts out there that affect the analysis. He lied, and that's not good. At the same time, we should look at the level of culpability on those lies:

1) Lying about how you met your g/f. I've met women online, had it turn into a relationship, and told someone "We met at the grocery store" or some such. I can give a pass.

2) Lying to your parents and media that you have actually met someone in person. Okay, this is significant. At the same time, if he isn't the star of ND football, no one would probably care. Saying this to the media after you believe she "died" is at a very high level of stupid. Culpability--3 or 4 out of 10.

3) Maintaining your story after you know it's a hoax: Stupidity through the roof. (A little bit of a pass because of religious guilt, need to maintain image, sheer embarrassment factor, but still.) Culpability: medium high. Lower than assault, for sure. Higher than cheating on your wife. With her sister. Criminal--probably not. Total ass-hole move--absolutely.


January 19th, 2013 at 11:51 AM ^

To me, the question isn't "are we sane?" it's "are we intellectually honest?"  The answer, quite often, is "NO."

we say Bo never would have let Sandusky slide, but the same was thought of Paterno, which is why people defend him to this day.  "The Joe I know would have never let Sandusky get away with that kind of thing if he knew about it!"  That's what we think of Bo.  Bo had the fortune of never having to face a sitution like this... so far as we know... so we really don't know with certainty what he would have done if something similar involving one of his most trusted assistants, say Moeller, or McCartney, or Hanlon, had occurred.  He was a straight arrow, but he was also absolutely loyal.

Human beings are horribly flawed when it comes to logic and reason.  Even now those who hate ND or just love to celebrate someone's downfall are digging in their heels about the fact that Te'o was in on the hoax from the get go.  But if you look at the evidence that's coming out, it really is starting to look like Te'o was duped.  Even my theories, that he was duped but played up the relationship way too much, seem to be off the mark.. and I'll admit that.  Based upon what's coming out from Tuiasosopo, his acquaintances, and from Te'o himself, it does sound like Te'o thought she was real, cared deeply for her, embellished some things to cover up the "on line" nature of the relationship but, overall, really did get played.  Never-the-less, those that hate "all things ND" will never give him the benefit of the doubt; just like Domers were behind him 100% even when the whole thing was looking very bad for him.  



January 19th, 2013 at 12:08 PM ^

Watching the Bucks hoist Tressel up on their shoulders a few months ago, all I could think was "this would never happen at Michigan."  Our culture is VASTLY different than theirs.  We love winners, but we loathe embarrassment more.  

Ohio State doesn't really seem to feel shame as keenly as we do.  Just the way we reacted to stretch gate is evidence of that.  OSU was defiant, and to this day cleary doesn't think that getting free services for memorabelia, or the head coach keeping mum about it, is that big of a deal.  They merely point to Penn State and say "see!  now THAT'S an issue.  Our thing?  Pft.  That was nothing."  Michigan could have done the same thing with the Freep Jihad.  The athletic dept. could have gone all Allen Iverson and been like "We're talking about STRETCHING here guys!"  But instead they immediately went to "a rule is a rule, we screwed up, we'll pay the price and learn from it."  Two very different ways of doing things.  

Now, I'm not making a judgement as to which position is "more correct" but there is certainly a difference.  I mean, Gary Moeller had a few too many and got belligerant with the cops and we couldn't run him out of town fast enough; three straight Big Ten titles, a Heisman Trophy winner and a Rose Bowl win be damned.  He was persona non grata for the better part of 15 years.  Tressel was being HONORED AT HALF TIME within a year and a half.


January 19th, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

I call it stretchgate because that's a generally accepted term for that incident.  OSU's scandal is "Tattoo gate" and PSU's scandal is "The Jerry Sandusky thing."  It's not a means of trivializing it, but, at least on this board, that's become one of the generally accepted monkers for it.  I guess I could have said Freep Jihad, or "that thing where we got busted for practicing too much and not keeping very good records..." but I think "stretchgate" does the job.

Further, even the MSM thought that "stretchgate" was pretty trivial, and many thought that the OSU players exchanging trinkets for tattoos was "eh"... it was the Tressel lies that really caught everyone's attention.  The point was that, in the world of "major college sports scandals" our incident was pretty tame by any objective standard, and yet the administration still expressed significant remorse and regret.  OSU, in what was without a doubt a much bigger deal, stayed largely defiant until the criticizm was too much to overcome.  Only THEN did they display any real contrition.  ...and then, while the matter is still fresh on everyone's minds, Tressel gets invited back as a hero.  

L'Carpetron Do…

January 19th, 2013 at 9:28 PM ^

Also, supposedly he said that he hoped Tuiasasopo 'learned from the experience' and that he felt no ill will towards him?  Are you kidding me?  The dude who supposedly duped the hell out of you for 3 years and then made you an internet laughingstock and national symbol of idiocy?  You feel no ill will towards that guy?  I would have issued a 1980s WWF-style fatwa against that punk.

Schapp got played.   I think the interview only raises more questions... 


January 19th, 2013 at 1:09 PM ^

Anything is possible, but you have some fair amount of talking to do before I get close to buying that.

As far as an imaginary girlfriend that played out the same way - I'd be worried the player had been hit once too often. 


January 19th, 2013 at 12:06 PM ^

As much as I can't stand ND or its fans, I don't think the Te'o situation should be so high on the scale in light of the revelation that the guy who may have perpetrated the hoax had pulled it before on other unsuspecting people. We can't really pass final judgment on Te'o just yet since the situation is still developing. It's not totally out of the realm of possibilities that he really wasn't in on it. And I hate ND more than anyone on this board, so I have no reason to defend Te'o. What should rank that high is ND fans defending the character of Brian Kelly and the integrity of ND after they indirectly caused two deaths and took no action against two accused rapists on the team.

PSU fans who still defend Paterno, on the other hand, should rank much higher than level 6. That shit is just off the charts deluded and insane.


January 19th, 2013 at 12:18 PM ^

Is anybody else just tired of Bill Simmons? It seems like every article of his ends up the same. Either talking about "The Nobody Believes in Us Factor", "He's in full EFF-You Performance Mode", some other "Levels of..." list.

Also, I don't care that Lance cheated. Unlike baseball, there is definite proof that everybody was using in cycling. It's the bullying and holier-than-thou attitude he had while doing it that pissed me (and everyone else off)


January 19th, 2013 at 12:42 PM ^

I think Simmons has been in the self-caricature phase (or something like that) of his career for a few years.

I've never read any of his Boston Sports Guy (AOL, I think) work, so I could only guess at when he peaked. I really enjoyed his "Ramblings" columns of the early aughts when he skipped from topic to topic and made lots of funny observations. Even then, though, I found him unbearable when he provided blow-by-blow coverage of his outings in Vegas or dispensed advice on women, etc.

Still, even at 20-30% of his peak, he's still more funny and interesting than most mainstream journalists.

User -not THAT user

January 19th, 2013 at 2:39 PM ^

he's reached the "Billy Hicks" (Robe Lowe's character in "St. Elmo's Fire", a movie with which Simmons remains obsessed after almost 30 years) stage of his career, where he can't accept the fact that he's too old to be the frat boy king he was when he was younger and hipper, and he keeps recycling the same old pop culture references that only people MY age would really appreciate.

Kind of like the guy in his early-to-mid 30's who still plays minor league sports in the bus leagues (you may know this guy) or the guy in his early-to-mid 40's who still plays in shitty bar bands (until my wife got pregnant a couple years back I WAS this guy)...Simmons needs to figure out a new angle, 'cause his act is TIRED.

Having said all that, I would appreciate him so much more if he didn't limit most of his contributions to the NBA and podcasts.  I don't dig pro basketball at all and I prefer to get my news/blog content in written form.  He's forgotten mostly how to write a good column and lets his readers do most of the work for him to that end with the "mailbag" posts.