Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Damage Already Done

For myself and many other Michigan fans, the last few days have been spent by incessant brooding over the journalistic childishness of Snyder and Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press. When I first saw the headlines of "NCAA Allegations" I was scared. After I read the article, however, all that fear went away and was transmuted into pure anger at how unprofessional, subjective, and one-sided the two so called "reporters" are allowed to be while maintaining their job. No players contacted them, they decided to write the story and called 10 unidentified "current" or former players. Do you think that was a random sample? It has come to light that the current players used for reference in the article were not even complaining about workload, but were two freshmen, questioned under false pretenses who feel terrible for the ensuing ordeal.

While I could go on for hours about the problems with the article and "research" done by the reporters, I will not. I have wasted too much time and already have given the two writers what they were looking for. Attention to themselves and negative attention towards the Michigan football program and Coach Rodriguez. What is going to happen from here on out is pretty clear to me. Investigations will be carried out, no punishments from the NCAA will follow, and eventually this will be put to rest. What will not ever go away, however, is the damage done to the public perception of Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez broke down yesterday in a press conference not out of remorse for anything he has done. He has nothing to be sorry about. He has given the local media more access and transparency than anything they ever had under the Carr era. Previously, local media would have to scramble to create a story since Carr would allow them very little access to players or the program. Rodriguez comes to Michigan and invites the media to observe practices, interview all players, and show them the program behind the scenes. Yet, instead of taking this gift and bringing more real news to the public, Rosenberg and Snyder twist the quotes of a couple freshmen they are now allowed to talk to and turn it against Rodriguez and make the kids look dumb in the process.

Those two so called "reporters" have succeeded. Rodriguez's reputation has gained another undeserving stain as someone who pushes his players too far and is too self-absorbed. Did Rosenberg and Snyder take the time to investigate or mention that the team's Winter semester GPA was the highest in over 20 years? No, they instead wildly suggested that the "over-demanding" workouts were making the kids suffer academically. Who mentioned to them that workouts were hurting academics? Kurt Wermers the guy who left because he did not put any work into school? Nobody will ever know because the Freep granted anonymity even to former players who would face no wrath from Rodriguez. The majority of the country will not look deeper into the gaping holes of the article. They will only read the headlines which say "Michigan and Rodriguez Accused of NCAA Violations." Other so-called "reporters" have started to say the Rodriguez should be fired.

The damage has been done and it is absolutely disastrous for Rodriguez and the program. I hope that Rosenberg and Snyder are happy for unnecessarily dragging their alma mater through the mud. If Michigan players were struggling academically and in life, or if Michigan was doing something corrupt such as paying players, then by all means investigating those as a journalist is what this world needs. But this was sloppy reporting on a very trivial matter that only does damage to another man, Rodriguez, and what he has spent his life doing. I have never seen more genunine emotion than Rodriguez in yesterday's press conference. Teaching those young men is his passion and has been his entire life. He's run such a transparent and open program that any truly frightening violations would have come to light already.

But a couple men who have disgraced their own profession are not content allowing Rodriguez to work happily in his own. They have succeeded. Rodriguez is unfortunately and incorrectly now seen as a man who puts greed in front of integrity. I hope the same public perception falls on the heads of Rosenberg and Snyder. Karma.


Andy G said...

I'm sure Rosenberg IS happy. The guy has put advancing his career in front of his journalistic integrity, and in the meantime done a good deal of damage to the prestige of their alma mater whose reputation as a clean, upstanding program is in jeopardy.

I saw a suggestion for a sign for Saturday's game on MGoBlog:

Michael Rosenberg is


Can't say I didn't chuckle.

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