Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Scoop and America's Most Racist University

ESPN's big-name black writer takes on big-name black issue: Notre Dame

Considering the failures that Notre Dame and Washington endured this year, I don't know where to start. But I thought this article was worth a link. I am a little bit annoyed by one of Scoop's admissions:

I will admit I have waited three years to write this column.

I am trying to think of the sensible approach to rationalizing this comment - there must be a large segment of the sportswriting world that is waiting for Weis to fail in the same way they accuse others of waiting for Willingham to fail.

Obviously the situation at ND is pitiful at this point - but can you start a column where you purport to go to Notre Dame to find out "the real story" and then admit you've harbored this sentiment for three years?


Anonymous said...

Your point is well taken, and the author clearly admits that he is ignoring other input, but ND has left themselves wide open for this kind of attack after dumping Willingham but tolerating a much poorer performance in year 3 from Weis. Yes, there are undoubtably other factors that play into the 2 different outcomes (chemistry with the University leadership, recruiting results, maybe a recognition that they treated Willingham unfairly and don't want to repeat the mistake, etc), but since ND hasn't offered any other explanation, then the race card is available for anyone to play.

larry b said...

SMACK! Especially Jemele Hill, who introduces the race card with onomatapieas in all caps.

Chris W said...

anonymous, you couldn't be any more off base.

Willingham's firing has more to do with his attitude toward recruiting and his game time decisions than his performance in year three.

Also, Weis's extension had a lot more to do with other teams trying to hire Weis (NFL teams for instance). See Kirk Ferentz's contract for a better corrolary...it wasn't that they thought that Weis was necessarily proven as a coach, more that they would rather be able to dictate their coach on their own terms (due to their endowment they're able to eat his contract if they have to) rather than lose him to a better offer from an NFL team.

Further, Willingham's year 3 at Washington was rather embarrassing by ITS own rights, so Willingham supporters are sure picking an odd time to come out of the woodwork....

dan-bob said...

Is it the responsibility of the brass at ND to offer an explanation for it?

Anonymous said...

Chris W.: Oh, I bet I could be further off-base if I put my mind to it. Nice attempted use of a wild overstatement though. You MAY be right about additional reasons that I didn't parenhetically mention as to why Weis will be getting a year 4 (and likely beyond), but my response had nothing to do with the "whys", only that ND has left itself wide open to people who want to accuse them of unfair and racially motivated coaching decisions.

dan-bob: In a similar response to the above, of course ND has no responsibility to offer an explanation. My point is that since they haven't ever done so, then the race card is there to be played and obviously some writers are more than happy to do so.

Anonymous said...

And one additional comment to both chris w and dan-bob: You both seem awfully defensive about any hints that perhaps ND was the bad guy here. Guilty conscience or just angry guys? And as for my alma mater, the University of Z%%@***##XZZ, it's football program is as clean as the driven snow (I'm having some network problems, hope that got through OK).

Chris W said...

I'm not defensive. I hate a number of things about my alma mater and will readily introduce them into conversations.

I think ND has handled a number of things awfully. I just think this racialist silliness stems from ignorance of the situation.

ND is wide open for any knucklehead to take potshots, sure, but the fact is, universities don't talk about why people were fired if at all possible, and they certainly don't compare current coaches to ex-coaches, so, yes, I'm sorry you're quite off-base to say that ND has any obligation in this matter to "Clear the air." Rather, like we would do with any other program if a similar situation happened, we need to actually look at the differences in situations ourselves and decide whether they merit comparison.

Tyrone's third season and Weis's third season really don't merit comparison--their flaws are in completely different arenas, one of which is completely unacceptable to the fanbase (perceived apathy), and one is slightly less unacceptable (ineptitude). Further, the contract situation is different, as Weis's extension after his 1st year was completely necessary in the university's mind for the reasons mentioned above. No such extension was necessary for Willingham because no NFL programs coveted him (wonder why?).

So yes, you're way off-base for your unwillingness to analyze the situation for what it is.

False analogies are essentially the bane of the sportswriting community, imo, and I have a very very low tolerance for them

larry b said...

I'd just like to point out that I still hate Mike Brey and think he should probably be fired.

Chris W said...

My roommate disagrees with you--he has a mancrush on Brey

Anonymous said...

"I just think this racialist silliness stems from ignorance of the situation."

So therefore if ND were to elucidate these reasons for their actions, then the accusations of treating Willingham differently than Weis just because of his skin color would go away and we wouldn't have to see articles like this one published. Right?

And just one more time, I have not suggested anywhere that ND is obligated to explain things! I am just stating that since they haven't done so (and surely never will) that they are allowing outsiders to take shots like this article. Sure, you can look at the situation from the outside as can anyone else and draw your own conclusions that racism played no part in the decision, but not everyone reaches the same conclusion.

And of course ND can ignore these accusations, they will go away eventually, and yes, that is exactly what any other school would do. But don't you think that the whole situation tarnishes the ND image unnecessarily?

Anonymous said...

And I guess that the answer to my question is "just angry".

pnoles said...

Mike Brey has decided he's going to be doing even less this year. He has ZERO offensive plays, and says he's just going to let the guys on the floor figure things out for themselves. Even if it works, that's fucking lazy, man.

Anonymous said...

I agree with first anonymous. firstly, i believe that willingham should've been fired and proved he wasn't a very good coach here or at washington. what is odd though is that it doesn't seem that weiss is at all even close to being on a hot seat. however, the problem here is on both sides of the fence: those who feel that race had everything to do with it, and those who feel that race had absolutely nothing to with it, when the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. that said, i think we can all agree that scoop sucks.

larry b said...

Most recent anon, thanks for your last sentence. That really puts everything into perspective. Why are we all so worried about this, when people like Scoop are still employed by major media outlets?

Chris W said...

Weis is probably not on the hot seat this year because he was only one year removed from a BCS appearance.

If Willingham's second year hadn't been a huge embarrassment (not nearly as bad as Weis's third year, but a non-bowl appearance in a year where he had much better talent than Weis did in 2007), he probably wouldn't have been fired after his third year.

Let's compare resumes:

1st year: surprisingly good, no BCS
2nd year: awful. No bowl at all
3rd year: mediocre. No BCS


1st year: surprisingly great, BCS
2nd year: slightly disappointing. BCS
3rd year: stupefyingly awful. no bowl at all.

See how the coaching arc differs? If we're comparing the two coaches' careers, Weis shouldn't be on the hot seat until he struggles next year. If you want to argue that Weis's terrifyingly bad performance this year should speed up the process on his end, you might counter that by saying that his 2 BCS appearances to Willingham's ZERO might balance that out.

At worst, the situation seems to be right on track...unless you're inclined to believe that race had something to do with it even though all evidence suggests it didn't...