Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Yes, we're awful people

While we wait for a medical report we were promised at 12:45 PM EDT

Let's answer the strawman:

Yes, we're horrible people who only care about wins and losses and if Michigan were 5-0, then the risks to Shane Morris wouldn't matter to us and we'd just close our eyes and say "Everything's OK."  We're the worst fans in the world because we're angry about things related to our athletic program right now.

Now that we have hyperboled our way out of that one, can I try to tell you, Michigan fan and curious rubbernecking outsider alike why we're mad?

The Shane Morris injury situation is bad, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that we saw it.  We have video tape, we have GIF loops, we have multiple angles, and now multiple days to consider what happened.  For the voices in the national media trying to tell us that we're overreacting, I will politely, firmly, and respectfully* tell you that we are not.

The situation is but the most clearly the outward expression of frustration with a football team specifically and an athletic department regime generally that has seemingly made obfuscation, chicanery, and sleight of hand the cornerstones of their public relations strategy.  This is to say that every time we see something with our own eyes, we are told that it is not what we are seeing at all.  Denials come too often, apologies come too late.

Consider, if you will, the Brendan Gibbons dismissal and issues that came up with the department's handling of it.  It's a hard story to write, it's a narrow line to walk trying to be outraged, sad, empathetic to the victim, and not sound too flippant or dismissive.  So silence, or at the very least, measured discussion, becomes the order of the day.  But it was a critical moment, because it meant that all of the rumors that had been swirling off in the ether, ones we didn't want to believe because we told ourselves that we were better than that, that we handled our business and dealt with issues above board.  It was naive, and we should have known better, but we talked ourselves into the lie because we wanted to believe it.  But we learned that we had an athletic department that was willing to resort to verbal and legalistic legerdemain to maintain a narrative for as long as they could, and truthfully, if it weren't for those meddling kids, they would have gotten away with it too.

So now we have a national media judging the fan base for being bad at losing, which, is anyone actually good at losing?  The clucked tongues of the "let me tell you how football really works" elite throwing around words like witch hunt and defending Brady Hoke as a person against aspersions against his personality which I have not seen.  The accusation is that we're using the injury situation as a smokescreen for wanting to get rid of a good man/poor coach and we should be better than that.

Yeah, we should be, but we're not.  We learned it by watching an athletic department that should be better than that, but is not.  We've inflicted this upon ourselves, but we had some help along the way.

*-well respectfully in every case but one, since he essentially set another Michigan coach down a path of destruction by "investigating" a timekeeping issue as it related to stretching but is going to the mat to defend another here.

Author's Addendum: 7:00 AM.  So the medical report finally came and somehow actually managed to make things worse.  Between the horrifying use of the phrase "probable, mild concussion" (which we now know, there is no such thing as a mild concussion.), the admission that our coaching staff is bad at knowing what's going on on the sidelines, and the fact that you issued it at 12:53 AM, you have poured gasoline on a media fire, one which threatens to alienate even your most rational and level headed supporters.  It is entirely possible that things are going to get worse before they get any better.  My empathy goes out to the athletes who are doing what they can to be better everyday and are finding that hard to do when the people in charge of them aren't doing a very good job at that first duty.

No comments: