I was thinking this morning about why I’ve gotten upset watching games the past few years. It’s just a game. I'm a Cubs fan and I know how to lose. Besides, a bunch of 18-19 year-olds don’t owe me anything as an alum. They only owe it to themselves to be the best they can be.
Rather, I'm upset about the way these kids and their coaches have been treated in the media during the past 5 years . They’ve relentlessly attacked UM. Were they doing so because related parties would benefit, directly or indirectly, from their own self-promotion or from UM’s decline? Maybe so. But as I read the following passage, a more destructive force is reared its ugly head:
“while we may enjoy elevating some people [/coaches/players/institutions/programs] to great prominence, we love to tear them down even more. If someone has the audacity to rise above the 'average American', an army of journalists will search out and broadcast every fault or misstep to our sadistic delight. In America more than any other place, the nail that sticks up out of the floor is the one that get hammered down the hardest.
If this attitude was confined to the degenerates of Hollywood it wouldn't be so detrimental to our culture and society. But it is more than an insatiable desire for gossip that is behind this mentality. It is a deep seated sense of envy and insecurity that drives us to such behavior. Because of this, it is not just immoral actors and sleazy politicians who are the targets of our ire. After all, many of them don't deserve the adulation they receive and should be knocked down a few pegs. This malicious attitude, however, is directed against anyone we perceive as being 'above' us. “
In 2004, after the UM FB program acquired indisputably, the highest all-time winning percentage in NCAA football, it became once more a huge nail sticking up out of the floor. To the media, it was just begging to be hammered.
If not, then why did announcers trumpet UM’s loss to App State, even though it was not even in the top 10---no, not even in the top 100 upsets, probably, in terms of the point spread?
Why did they endlesslessly and falsely repeat that last year was the worse in UM history (yet not mention that is was far from that in terms of win pct or that teams like Fla not long ago went 0-11 twice in two years, that MSU, OSU, and ND not long ago all had 3 or 4 win seasons, sometimes multiple ones)?
Why did the media falsely insinuate in a vacuous, four-part expose that UM was guilty of academic violations? Why did they falsely accuse RR of destroying sensitive records? Why did they publicized accusations that he stole recruits, with little or no mention of the legalities and practices of other coaches? And now, they say he overworked his players and God forbid, did not catch clerical errors that do not involve NCAA regulations? Why is this all about UM and RR, when we all know that the problems of being student-athletes are nearly universal?
The media defend themselves, saying that, just because everybody else is acting wrongly does not excuse it. Moral absolutism from the media! Give me a break! If only this spate of media self-righteousness were occasionally focused in the mirror, it would reveal the misleading, hateful innuendos, the partial truths, the editorial malpractice in allowing people with public grudges to lead investigations of those they have sworn to destroy. It would show the abuse of trust—no, even the lies and false pretenses--in the interviews of naive freshman just arrived on campus. It would strip the cloak of anonymity from the grinning faces of accusers who will not face the accused or reveal their transparent grudges
If only the media would direct their unique moral expertise at the name-calling: calling RR a snake oil salesman (Tiller); or saying he’s like Hitler (Holtz). I applaud one brave soul, Craig James who was barely noticed calling this absurd theatrical fiction what it is: a “witch hunt”—a term once reserved for the hunt for uppity women in Salem but now a hunt for uppity …well….I can only guess what..enough said).
Right now, I just can’t wait for the next shoe to drop. Read all about it: RR forms a family corporation and, in a power struggle for control of the company, sends his grandmother to jail. Yes, it’s getting that insane.
Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way. So, if you’re a journalist and want to negbang the post into oblivion behind a cloak of anonymity, perhaps you won't get fight from anyone. As for me, I’ve said my piece and have more important things to do. Right now, I’ve got to turn on ESPN to hear the breaking news from Herbstreit about the next Michigan coach. Also, I’ve got a piece of fish wrapped in the Free Press and I’m afraid it will spoil if I don’t eat it.