National Media Continues To Create Stories From Lies
Perhaps you’re familiar with Gregg Doyel, perhaps you’re not. Either way, I am playing right into his hand. He’s little more than SportsLine’s version of Howard Stern…a shock jock with a laptop. He falls into this continuing trend that I find disturbing. What trend? The trend of the national sports media outlets making up fabricated stories, spreading lies, breaking news without valid sources, and on and on and on. And why do they do it? Because they can. Because who’s going to stop them? Because bloggers like myself write about them and give them the attention they desire. Because readers flock to them and take their word as gospel truth.
So what exactly am I talking about here? I’m talking about Gregg Doyel’s latest bargain bin joke of an “article” for SportsLine. In it, he starts by taking hollow shots at coaches for their “slimy” recruiting practices….even though he doesn’t feel the need to elaborate on exactly what practices he is speaking out against,
“New Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez ran amok, running four verbal commitments through his shredder as he stole recruits from Penn State, Purdue, Florida and Cincinnati. Purdue coach Joe Tiller seemed especially peeved, calling Rodriguez “a guy in a wizard hat selling snake oil.” The late additions gave Michigan one of the best, and one of the most cut-throat, recruiting classes in the country. Great recruiting classes require a little bit of figurative throat-cutting, but this was especially brutal.
How brutal? Rodriguez out-slimed the slimiest coach in college football, Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino, who got up to speed at his latest school by swiping three previously committed players, including one from Southern Cal, another from Texas Tech and a third from little bitty Troy. Because he could.”
I’m normally one who’s all for any excuse for ripping the Michigan football program and its coaches, but what I do not stand for is baseless rumor-mongering. “But its not baseless….he quotes Joe Tiller.” Um, ok, I suppose, but isn’t it perhaps a little more likely that Tiller is just a little sore and embarrassed because he wasn’t able to hang onto one of his recruits? I don’t care what a recruit says, nothing is official until he signs his Letter Of Intent.
But just wait, Buckeye fans. It gets even better for us. You know, SportsLine is never one to shy away from saving their best and lowest blow for Ohio State. After throwing a couple other coaches under the bus (I know, I hate that phrase too), he delivers this gem,
“It’s hard to catch anybody cheating anymore, you know that? These slimy suckers are slippery — and they’re bold, too. Ohio State’s Jim Tressel blatantly skated up to the edge of ethical badness last week, acting with such audacity that even the newspaper that broke the news had no idea it was breaking anything at all. And still won’t unless it reads this here story.
So here you go, Cincinnati Enquirer. I’ll give it to you in three easy steps:
1. On signing day, the story at the bottom right of the sports front page noted that OSU football coach Jim Tressel had signed the best receiver out of Cincinnati, DeVier Posey of La Salle High School.
2. On the same day, at the bottom left of that same page, a story noted that La Salle High was offering a school fund-raiser called “An Evening with Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel” on March 5. Tickets range from $60 for drinks and dinner to $175, which includes a photo op with Tressel as well as a football signed by the OSU coach.
3. Connect those dots. Tressel had never signed a player from La Salle until he got Posey. Likewise, Tressel has never donated an evening of his time to help raise money for La Salle until this year. And the “Evening with Jim Tressel” wasn’t announced in the local newspaper until the day after Posey signed. Why? This is just a guess, but it’s a good guess: If Posey had backed out of his commitment to Ohio State, Tressel wasn’t going to have an evening with La Salle.”
Where do I even begin with this slanderous piece of work? So, let me get this straight, Gregg….am I understanding you correctly? The fact that Tressel has never landed a recruit from La Salle before Posey means that Tressel MUST have made promises to the school in order to get him to commit? Perhaps Gregg should do a little research before trying to read into a story and making up innuendo. Perhaps he should familiarize himself with the Brew Crew. Perhaps he should have looked into some quotes from Posey about his recruitment and he would have found the following,
“I didn’t want to commit during basketball season. The night my team lost in the tournament my mom and I headed for Columbus. On Saturday I hung out with Stoneburner and Adams. That was also the first time I met Michael Brewster. We all hung out at “Big” Mike’s house and talked about playing together in college. The next morning I had breakfast with Coach Hazell and I also sat down with Jim Tressel for about two hours. That conversation was so important because we just talked about everything but football. I just felt so comfortable with him and I knew right then I would be a Buckeye, but I didn’t tell him or anyone else at that time. That night as we were driving home I told my mom to stop at the Nike outlet so I could buy some Buckeye gear, because that’s where I was going to college. She thought it was a quick decision, but I told her I knew in my heart it was the right place for me. She was fine with my decision, but she just wanted me to be sure.”
Or perhaps he should have looked into how many La Salle players Tressel had offered a scholarship to prior to Posey. The answer? Going back to 2002 (which is as far back as the Scout.com database goes)…..One. Ben Martin, a defensive lineman in the 2007 class who signed with Tennessee. So it’s not like La Salle was a place with a history of recruits turning down scholarship offers from Ohio State.
Doyel also claims that had Posey backed out of his commitment then Tressel would have backed out of his dinner and photo op. Really? If that’s true, that’s pretty poor recruiting tactics by Tressel, because regardless of what Posey does it’s a great way to increase your profile within the school. Recruiting is like sales, and brand recognition is always key. So why WOULDN’T Tressel want to get his name and face inside the school even if Posey had backed out?
The fact of the matter is this…Doyel wrote yet another piece of shock journalism in which he throws some names around in the mud in order to get a rise out of us and to keep his readers foaming at the mouth and coming back for more. This is why I said this post is playing right into his hands. But I refuse to sit by and allow someone to throw out such hollow accusations with absolutely no facts behind them (in fact, Doyel even admits in the article that he’s really just guessing what happened) without responding to them. As an Ohio State fan, I know that part of the cost of being a fan of such a major athletic program means that I will have to deal with the heightened scrutiny behind everything that goes on in Columbus. But it doesn’t mean I have to sit here and not respond. We in live in a climate in which the popularity of sports blogs is ever increasing, and with it, so too does the spreading of false rumors and lies. It’s an ugly byproduct of what we do. Thankfully, it also gives us a forum to hold these writers of major national outlets to a higher standard of acountability when they stray off the path of truth and accuracy.