Lynn Henning tries to defend his fisking by Brian, others

Submitted by M-Wolverine on June 2nd, 2010 at 2:53 PM

So, after Brian dressed him down here -… 

And there was much teeth gnashing here-…

He comes out with this winner-…

The part that gets me? In response to people saying MSU is having problems too -

I disagree. They're two different realms, each requiring serious response, and one shouldn't be used against the other to heighten or lessen the areas of responsibility at each university.

Completely ignoring the fact that I doubt there was anyone saying anything like it's ok Michigan is going on probation, because MSU has had problems too. It was all in response to his original article that said MSU was the bastion of doing things right, whereas Michigan was the MSU of old. HE was making a direct comparison. And I can't see anyone (outside of maybe Tater...I KEED) saying that what Michigan does is alright because MSU is worse. When clearly he made the comparison between the two, and people were just refuting it.

I'm rapidly moving my view of Lynn from intellectually dishonest to just monumentally stupid. As polite as he may be.


James Burrill Angell

June 2nd, 2010 at 3:08 PM ^

There is a HUGE difference between what happened at MSU and the issues with the NCAA. The fools at State violated the law and assaulted other human beings. All involved at UofM violated self-created administrative guidelines that, in the end, even if it had given the team some kind of competitive advantage, would have had the effect of changing the outcome of football games.

Do not ever compare the gravity of people having their heads suddenly stoved in for no apparent reason to the effect of aiding in winning or losing football games. No comparison at all.

James Burrill Angell

June 2nd, 2010 at 3:12 PM ^

...I'd be a hypocrite to not acknowledge there have been no shortage of Michigan players throughout the years who have had  run ins with the law. Perhaps what I see as different is Brian's significant point that this is two years in a row with large groups of the MSU football team going gangland on unsuspecting members of the MSU community. Once is an anomaly, repetitive similar behavior in a short period of time is a big freaking problem and needs to be addressed accordingly.


June 2nd, 2010 at 3:40 PM ^

But again, the point wasn't that "MSU bad, Michigan good"; but that his previous article, to the complete opposite effect, was equally ridiculous.  Don't say everything is right with MSU when there's glowing exceptions.  That's all. Anyone we've had get into a fight isn't a better person than a Spartan that's gotten into a fight.  Well, other than being smart enough to choose Michigan.  And Marlin Jackson.  It just seems like that guy deserved it.


June 2nd, 2010 at 3:17 PM ^

While I've done my fair share of defending various press outlets, I find the lack of coverage of the MSU criminality to be outrageous.  I think the Freep did a complete hit job on Dorsey (especially since they had nearly completed the investigative piece BEFORE his commitment to UofM).  Anyway, rant commenceth...

What's the deal with Henning.  He calls the potluck attack a "dormitory incident".  An "incident"?  You don't go to jail for "an incident".  Then he notes Dorsey's "felony" arrests, without mentioning that an arrest is different from a charge and/or conviction (or that Winston faced felony "arrests").  He omits any mention of Jenrette who had multiple chances after the same charges as Dorsey (in the same state as Dorsey).  He omits any mention of Dantonio covering up Jenrette's plea deal.  What does any of this continual violent criminal activity under the eye of Dantonio have to do with relatively minor practice supervision violations in A2???? 

Then, he compares Scott Skiles' DUI (seriously) to Winston's violent attacks.  Really?  Those are similar?  He fails to note that Winston went directly from prison to practice...Ok...I'll stop my rant but stop with the thought that the entire "second chances" line is bullshit.  It's not about a "second chance"; it's about properly correcting wrongdoing.  Dantonio actively paved the way for continued wrongs.  Michigan has routinely taken action to correct any wrongs.  Huge difference.


June 2nd, 2010 at 3:34 PM ^

I agree with the following statement:

I disagree. They're two different realms, each requiring serious response, and one shouldn't be used against the other to heighten or lessen the areas of responsibility at each university.

Which is why it's so ridiculous that he did exactly that in his original article.

The FannMan

June 2nd, 2010 at 4:28 PM ^

That is the whole point.  Media peolpe do this all the damn time.  They say/write something stupid.  They get called out.  They then write/say something the next day that aopts the calling out they recieved without ever acknowleding that they were wrong in the first instance.  Most politicians would blush at this kind of double-talk.  Being a media member means never having to say you're sorry.


June 2nd, 2010 at 4:09 PM ^

It works really well as long as it's only used very sparingly... like a maximum of once an article, if that. I prefer articles to sound like the author is talking to me directly, and every once in a while someone will pause, emphasize something, and continue.

Sports writers, and reporters in general, always want what they're talking about to sound more important than it is, so they'll do it constantly. Which is ridiculous. Maybe it also has something to do with the fact that they thrive on getting quoted by other websites or news sources, so they give short, choppy statements that can be easily injected into someone else's writing.

Whatever the reason, I agree with you. Anyone can write down a few disjointed sentences about what they think. If you're getting paid to write, you should be able to do better than that.

Sgt. Wolverine

June 2nd, 2010 at 4:17 PM ^

Sports writers, and reporters in general, always want what they're talking about to sound more important than it is, so they'll do it constantly.

Which is ridiculous.

Maybe it also has something to do with the fact that they thrive on getting quoted by other websites or news sources, so they give short, choppy statements that can be easily injected into someone else's writing.


June 2nd, 2010 at 7:30 PM ^

I remember reading his columns in the waning days of my U-M studies. His style was kind of cool with a dash of Everyman.

In the beginning.

Then he jumped the shark and became a radio personality on WJR. Which was okay for a while, too, because Rachel Nevada had a voice to match the rest of her very attractive features. Kenny had that "former engineer for Ford" thing going; and they'd have pretty good, local bands as guests. 

But that was then.


June 2nd, 2010 at 3:44 PM ^

I tried to read Henning's trash, but had to stop after the threat of severe vomiting.  I wish he would stick to baseball and leave the shilling for MSU to the freep and mlive.  MSU will fail anyway, I wish the instate MSM would reaize that and just report the news accurately.


June 2nd, 2010 at 4:11 PM ^

There is no guarantee that MSU will fail this year, especially with the relatively easy schedule that they have. Face it, papers and others will pretty much do what they want. And besides, all papers are capable of printing bad pieces just as often as good ones. Just accept it and move on.


June 2nd, 2010 at 5:04 PM ^

Here's the letter I wrote to him after the first one:

Mr. Henning:
Your column "Michigan's athletic woes similar to MSU's of earlier era" makes awful assumptions, drawing conclusions from bad comparisons.
Your theory is that because "bad news" is emanating from Ann Arbor, MSU has taken Michigan's place, but you do nothing to show that MSU has elevated itself. You made passing mention of the "dormitory fracas," under Dantonio, but did not assign any negative value to it, while having the reader assume that there is negative value to the over-practicing allegations.
To the first, the "fracas" should be a huge black mark against Dantonio. It was a violent act committed by many of his players, of whom several were repeat offenders for similar crimes. The "fracas" was a direct result of Dantonio's policy, practiced at Cincy and MSU, of "one mistake you get a warning, two mistakes you are gone." Through the process of criminal investigations of the incident, Dantonio has maintained a policy of secrets-stay-within-the-program, pressuring those indicted to use group counsel rather than to seek their own defense, and allegedly using threats of playing time and benching against those who would testify against their teammates.
And this has hardly been the only mark against Dantonio, whose teams have underperformed academically, and seen a big jump in transfers and players not graduating, and who has given trollish public statements against individual players at Michigan that no A.D. should tolerate. The school under Dantonio has threatened in-state high school athletic directors to retain favorable coaches even after clearly fireable offenses, promised or withheld institutional support to high school programs based on their players' recruiting decisions, and used the influence of boosters to interefere with the ability of Michigan high school players to fairly assess their scholastic options. Dantonio is an embarrassment to the State of Michigan. He is running a rogue, unsuccessful program that mocks the importance of education that our institutions BOTH have traditionally held dear.
To the second, now that we know exactly what occurred, the "bad news," as it turns out, really was just that: bad journalism by the Detroit Free Press in framing what amounted to a speeding ticket as a "major" incident. Michigan's response, meanwhile, was exactly what we would hope for from our great public universities: owning up to the overages, providing a detailed, public accounting of a thorough joint investigation, and proposing a more-than-proportional response. Would that Dantonio's handling of his players' violent assaults on MSU students had the same integrity.
One coach removed a player from his team the moment it was discovered that player had been involved in drug dealings. Another coach reinstated a player who was jailed over the summer for assaulting a fellow student, in time for fall practices. One of your colleagues at the Free Press gave the latter kudos while in the same sentence criticising the former for recruiting that player, and you called him out on it, remember?
Rich Rodriguez is by far a more exemplary coach for what the State of Michigan should expect from its programs. And, by the way, so is John Beilein, a man respected throughout the college game as the epitome of a hoops "good guy," a rock of integrity.
Hollis does not deserve any credit for keeping Izzo, a decision any 5-year-old could have made. And he certainly doesn't deserve to be lauded for the mistake of hiring Dantonio.
As a fellow journalist, I find your obvious bias and mischaracterization of facts in covering Michigan's top universities as detrimental to my constant attempts to describe the inherent integrity of our industry to rational people. Rather than criticizing Michigan's current and former athletic directors for the tenor of news coming from Ann Arbor, you should first take a close look at the justification for that tenor, and finding it lacking, demonstrate why Michigan's laudable approach to NCAA compliance -- dealing with even tenuous accusations seriously, immediately, and publicly -- is a far more preferable model for our state universities than Michigan State's secretive, in-house, and demonstratively ineffectual example.
Troy, MI


Here's the letter I wrote to him today:

Lynn, you missed the point.
The reason that people like myself brought up Michigan State's infamous assault was that you were holding Dantonio's program up as a paragon of virtue, in comparison to Michigan taking over the role of state troublemaker.
That had nothing to do with whether someone deserves a second chance. It has to do with the programs, and the respective coaches who are running them. This was the point you were trying to make with the offensive column, and the point you missed in today's.
We are not talking about whether a person deserves second chances, but how a coach goes about it. Skiles wasn't coached by Dantonio. When he got his DUI, which followed the drug possessions, the coach left it up to the players to decide if he was off the team. Dantonio, dealing with a much more serious crime (characterizing it as a "scrape" is an insult to the people he hurt) let Winston walk right out of jail and onto the practice field. Later, a sizeable portion of the team, Winston among them, perpetrated a similar incident.
More to the point, you didn't see Skiles and 11 teammates caught drunk driving in possession of cocaine and marijuana a few months after his fateful vote.
As you pointed out, we can only assess these on a case-by-case basis. Have you thought about the reasons why this is true? It's because we must consider degree. We must consider the personality of the player. We must consider any signs that he has repented. It's the specific crime committed and the penalty served and likelihood of it happening again. In the specific case of Winston, the signs were clear that he should be removed from the program, or at least been suspended for a season, due to the specific awfulness of the case. It was a violent crime, described by witnesses and the victim as particularly wanton. Since the crime, Winston showed no sign that he was sorry, or that he understood he had done something wrong. This was noticed by faculty and athletic personnel at Michigan State University, and yet Dantonio still allowed Winston to change directly from prison orange to MSU's football green. This is on the coach.
Winston's actions are not what we are assessing the MSU program on; it is Dantonio's actions in choosing not to discipline his students, and in overlooking the clear signs that Winston was a danger, that reflect badly upon the University, and disqualify Michigan State from any discussion as an exemplary program.
Troy, MI

Neither received a response.


June 2nd, 2010 at 7:12 PM ^

This is written way more coherently and professionally than almost anything I've read in the sports section of either local paper.

I've corresponded with Henning several times and he seems fair to a point. His lack of response on this is likely due to not having enough time to address your arguments in full, other than just saying, "You win."


June 2nd, 2010 at 5:34 PM ^

Not to mention disingenuous.

Trying to draw comparisons and make meaningful conclusions from very different and unrelated incidents like UM's CARA form failures, Glen Winston's assault, Demar Dorsey's armed robbery (Broward Cty) at age 16 requires some decent writing skill. Henning fails miserably in that regard with this article. 

The question he asks is also boring.  Do players deserve a second chance?

Demar Dorsey, a 16 year old kid at the time of the crime, probably deserves a second chance.

Glen Winston, a 20-21 year old adult, eligible to vote and fight in wars, doesn't.

As for Michigan's CARA forms fiasco, I don't know why it is even mentioned as it's not even remotely relevant to the question in Hennings article. 

Tim Waymen

June 2nd, 2010 at 5:38 PM ^

I'm rapidly moving my view of Lynn from intellectually dishonest to just monumentally stupid. As polite as he may be.

Haha touche my friend.  The man clearly isn't too bright.  For one thing, he creates a new paragraph for like every sentence, thus conforming to my rule of thumb that any writer who does that is not very good and only knows how to make statements but not how to back them up.  Nitpicking aside, in his original aritcle Henning did the very thing described in the highlighted quote.  Instead of constructing an argument that stands on its own in supporting some assertion that Michigan's football program is absolutely in the wrong, he did in fact invoke MSU's dysfunctional football program of the 90s in order to characterize the present-day Michigan football program.  I get the feeling that Lynn Henning is old and not too sharp anymore, but I am open to suggestions that he never was smart to begin with.


June 2nd, 2010 at 6:09 PM ^

Unfortunately, I must disagree with you. Just perusing the political news on any given day shows that a large percentage of politicians seem to be perfectly comfortable extolling their devotion to family values, their noble wives, and saintly mothers while simultaneously banging the lowest, most filthy whore in the cathouse. And smiling broadly and humming the "Star Spangled Banner" while they do it.