Smart Notes 9/2/09

This video is amazing on a number of levels. An interview between blogger Mike Rasor and Akron head coach J.D. Brookhart:

  1. What is Brookhart wearing? Some theories: Brookhart “was apparently thrown out of a local Bass Pro Shop for shoplifting five minutes before the interview.” – Black Shoe Diaries (also h/t BSD). “[I]t wouldn’t surprise me to find out Akron’s new head coach has tracked a raptor.” – Dr Saturday. Add your own.

  3. So let me get this straight. The offense will be installed and implemented in the following way: One guy will handle the pass install, another will handle the run install, each will be assisted by another guy, and then a separate, fifth coach, Shane Montgomery (tight-ends coach), will actually call the plays. That sounds like it will work beautifully.

– From mortally wounded police officer to football coach. Very good story.

– Boom. Roasted. Deadspin’s Dashiell Bennett went after Michigan Alum Jon Chait for going after the editors of the Detroit Free Press. Bennett wrote that “Jonathan Chait stepped down from his high horse at The New Republic to lambaste the Freep’s Michael Rosenberg for his anti-Rich Rod bias, stating that no place he worked would ever let an opinion writer do hard news about a subject he was so “passionate” about. Interesting, if true. I wonder if any of those fine, upstanding newspapers Chait’s talking about would let an alumnus (UM, Class of ’94) attack another writer because they published dirt about an organization he used to be associated with?”

Chait responded, via mgoblog: “Was I writing an investigative news article in a newspaper about a topic which I have strong opinions on? No, I was not. Nor should I. Having lambasted the Freep’s journalistic ethics, if I were to go to the Detroit News and propose they hire me to write an expose about how Freep sports editors are laundering money for the Cali drug cartel to fund their kitten-strangling hobby, the News should definitely not hire me.”

But then, the coup de grace: “It’s perfectly ethical for Rosenberg to wage his anti-Rodriguez jihad in his sports column. Dumb, unpersuasive, misleading, sometimes factually inaccurate, yes, but not unethical. It’s likewise perfectly ethical for me to opine about the University of Michigan, despite having graduated from it. But if Dashiell Bennett learned he was the subject of an investigative news story in the New York Times, authored by me, reporting on the scandal of people who are allowed to write sports blogs despite having IQs under 90, he would probably feel that something unethical had transpired.”

Wherever you are on this debate, I wouldn’t want to be Dashiell Bennett.

– This is legit. Hat tip to The Rivalry, Esq., who gives the background: “1987 was Indiana’s dream year, beating OSU and Michigan and Purdue, but a season ending loss to MSU sent the Spartans to the Rose Bowl to face USC. So [Indiana] coach Bill Mallory wanders into the Spartan locker room after the game and fires up the Green and White.”

– Good sentence, via marginalrevolution: “Probability is the oil of rationalisation.”

Gender politics of Mad Men. I swear I’ll stop posting Mad Men links soon…just as soon as the show stops being awesome.

– Purdue will win four to five games this year. Mark it down. (The Rivalry, Esq. predicts one win, two wins, and four wins, respectively.)

– The NFL Twitter policy is dumb. As explained:

Now the NFL has come along and has regulated the use of Twitter as CNET describes:

[The NFL has] modified its social-media policy to limit Twitter and social-networking use by players, coaches, league officials, and even the media. The NFL said that it will let players, coaches, and other team personnel engage in social networking during the season. However, they will be prohibited from using Twitter and from updating profiles on Facebook and other social-networking sites during games. In addition, they will not be allowed to tweet or update social-networking profiles 90 minutes before a game and until post-game interviews are completed. The rules even extend to people “representing” a player or coach on their personal accounts. The NFL didn’t just stop with the league itself, though. The organization also said that media attending games will be prohibited from providing game updates through social networks.

I love [sarcasm!] the NFL’s reason and think that it is trying to assert that even fans ought not be able to share play-by-play:

“Longstanding policies prohibiting play-by-play descriptions of NFL games in progress apply fully to Twitter and other social media platforms,” the National Football League said in its statement. “Internet sites may not post detailed information that approximates play-by-play during a game. “While a game is in progress, any forms of accounts of the game must be sufficiently time-delayed and limited in amount (e.g., score updates with detail given only in quarterly game updates) so that the accredited organization’s game coverage cannot be used as a substitute for, or otherwise approximate, authorized play-by-play accounts.”

This position seems to suggest that one, players, etc. twittering has something to do with approximating play-by-play when most likely the NFL wants to regulate the way in which all those connected with a team communicate and represent themselves around a game. One might agree that being in the NFL requires following its odd ethics. How those goals havve anything to do with play-by-play recounting is beyond me. If fans start to share exuberant moments in almost real time, as I did via text in the glorious game to of the NBA finals this past season, but instead of using text, fans used Twitter, the NFL might assert that such sharing is not allowed. At least the quoted logic above seems to point to such nonsense. As CNET notes enforcement even at the team level will be quite difficult as the nFL won’t know who posted what. Of course the NFL could require some sort of disclosure of Twitter and other social networking aliases which raises a host of standard objections that readers here can easily figure out while the NFL may not. All of which makes me wonder, should the twits who came up with these positions love Twitter?

  • Mike

    Chris, I get that you’re a Michigan man and want to defend your team, but do you think you could maybe tone down on that instinct a little? Michigan has plenty of apologists out there; one of the things that makes this site great is the generally completely unbiased feel, but the last week has included Michigan news every day, stuff that has nothing to do with Xs and Os and everything to do with impashioned defense of one program.

  • Mike,

    You know, it’s funny that you’d assume that: I’m not a Michigan man, and the Wolverines are far, far, far from being “my team.”

    I have mixed feelings about the case. I think there’s a few things going on. One, if Rodriguez, et al. broke rules, then there are penalties, and that’s how it will go down. Second, I think the Free Press thought they had a “Michigan story” or a “Rodriguez story,” but they really had a national story — college football players practice and prepare like it is a full time job, everywhere. This isn’t to say that maybe it was worse at Michigan, but I think Chait has a point when he said that the better view would have been to at least figure out what was going on at Ohio State, Florida, etc.

    Yet, I still agree that “everybody is doing it” is a terrible defense. And yet further if the NCAA has been winking and nodding at this, across the football spectrum, then it makes it more difficult for the NCAA or anyone else to single out one particular program.

    I think the larger issue is the problem of calling the kids “student-athletes” when they are employees of mulit-million dollar businesses. You put on a 20 hour “cap,” call everything else “voluntary,” and try to have it both ways: put out a professional product but operate under the theory that it is just a glorified hobby for these kids.

    In any event, I don’t really care what happens to Michigan or Rodriguez, qua them. I do care about the practice-time limits, how every major program blows through them with the old adage “workouts are non-mandatory, but so is playing time.” And if Rodriguez and co. really did just bust through the rules (it is as yet ambiguous, we have reports coming out), then I am pretty confident Rodriguez will be out of a job.

    Finally, I posted the Chait thing because I thought it was funny, and it was pretty evident that the Deadspin person didn’t grasp Chait’s initial point. I pointed out that he’s a Michigan guy so take what he says with a grain of salt. We’re all big enough to figure out who or what we think went on. Indeed, I think I generally have been pretty harsh on the view that if Rodriguez broke rules he really has little he can say, as the “everybody is doing it” defense won’t get him home. That doesn’t mean there are not larger themes.

    At the end of the day, it’s a blog and I write about things I find interesting. I’ve dumped all of these thoughts into posts entitled either “Michigan…” (only one) and a couple in “Smart Notes” which covers whatever I find interesting that day.

    I just think this is a very fascinating story, with many currents, covering journalism, the student-athlete distinction or disharmony, Rodriguez’s tumultuous tenure at Michigan where nothing has seemed to go right, the expectations of players across the country, and whether the NCAA has sat idly by on this story, and whether it has any moral authority to prosecute now. I believe both that rules are rules, and that it is difficult to make a judgment without the full set of facts. Beyond that, I have no idea how it will turn out.

  • Dave

    The NFL needs the media, their twitter ban is partially to keep the media from getting scooped by players. It makes sense to me, but I think twitter is dumb to begin with anyways.

  • “Bill Mallory wanders into the Spartan locker room after the game and fires up the Green and White.”

    It must have worked: MSU 20 USC 17.

  • “I swear I’ll stop posting Mad Men links soon…just as soon as the show stops being awesome.”

    We have a few season passes on our TiVo: The Unit, 24, Fringe, The Penn State Football Story…but there’s a tie for my favorite between Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Interestingly, they’re both AMC originals.

  • Gerg

    Mike: I’ll say it because Chris is too nice to. You got boom, roasted.

  • stan


    I agree that there are a host of interesting aspects to the Michigan story, but the claim by Chait about journalistic ethics is totally bogus. Chait has his panties in a wad about allowing some sources to be anonymous. Are you kidding me?! Remind me to go back and google all of Chait’s criticisms of the NY Times for using anonymous sources to break the law in tipping off our enemies about effective anti-terror prgrams which they admit were all proper. Uh huh.

    And the Detroit paper has no ethical obligation to try to investigate other programs. The Detroit paper wrote about one of the local teams and had plenty of evidence to back up the story. The rules are clear and their sources said that the rules were broken. Period. So what if other programs did it? If Chait wants to write about them, he can. But Chait’s desires do not create ethical obligations for the paper.

  • Tom

    It basically boils down to Chait being upset that “his” team was the one that had the whistle-blown on it. If this happened at OSU, UF, or LSU, does he write the same story? Of course not.

    Really, his holier than thou attitude boils down to a Michigan alum having to deal with his university being slandered in the media. So he reacts with the same emotional outburst that he denounces in the original piece. Obviously, the difference is in the nature of the respective piece, but it is still humorous to see the qualities that one man hates manifested in himself (or, by extension, his work.)

  • Graham Filler

    that fist pump by Mallory was legit too.o. Love it.