An alternate theory of the crime

I know there’s a certain portion of the black helicopter crowd that likes to insist the best way to understand Mark Richt’s decision to start Faton Bauta against Florida is that it was a deliberate move to force Greg McGarity to fire him in order to collect a fat buyout (on an unsigned contract, mind you, but, hey, they’re rolling here, so let that pass).

While I don’t claim to have any direct insight into the man’s soul, it seems to me there’s another explanation that’s more realistic.  Read this comment Richt made to Paul Finebaum yesterday:

“I was really seriously considering taking a year off and just decide where the landscape was at that time,” Richt said on the show. “Thirty-three years in a row coaching can wear you down. So I was thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I’ll just sit this one out and rejuvenate my body and my spirit and all that.’ But within hours of the thing happening, I had so many former players just call and text and just kind of thank me for all the things that they felt like I did to help them. … I was like, ‘Well, maybe I’m not done doing this.’ And before you know it, I had about six schools wanting me to be their head coach, and one of them was Miami, and I knew Miami wasn’t going to be open a year later.”

I don’t know about you, but to me that very much sounds like a guy struggling with an advanced case of burn out.  No, that doesn’t excuse the product on the field we saw in 2015.  However, it sure makes it easier for me to understand the context for that.  And given that McGarity doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who’s gifted at helping someone recharge his batteries, so to speak, a parting of the ways between Richt and the program he headed for fifteen seasons seems more sensible than ever.

82 Comments

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82 responses to “An alternate theory of the crime

  1. Gaskilldawg

    I agree that in the end Richt appears to be in a better situation because he is working for a boss who wants him, rather than a boss who is looking to fire him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How does an AD go about helping a coach recharge his batteries? Hire a sexy new secretary? The job is a total, relentless grind.

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    • First off, do no harm. In other words, don’t be a source of impediments to running a football program successfully.

      Struggling with Butts-Mehre couldn’t have done much to help Richt’s state of mind. I hope Smart doesn’t have to fight similar issues.

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      • Gaskilldawg

        Seeing as The J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics will not be the J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics any more if Smart does not exceed the Richt results, I suspect Smart is getting all the help he wants. Examples include spending money for more staff, then on top of that, a former DC’s consulting services, and not suspending two starters before the Cocktail Party.

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        • True ‘dat, but Smart’s also a guy who has to report to two people in the athletic department.

          The Georgia Way still has a pulse.

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          • Chi-town Dawg

            There’s a difference between helping a guy succeed and not doing anything to help him fail. Just because a new coach gets additional resources doesn’t mean people are lining up to help and the turf war tug of wars go away. After working in corporate America for almost 30 years including several Fortune 100 companies, I can assure you that bureaucracy doesn’t change overnight when a new division president (or CEO for that matter) takes over. In fact, Kirby may have an easier time turning the football team battleship than the Butts Mehre battleship. And don’t forget to send in those donations before year end in you want a tax deduction this year;-)

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            • Jared S.

              I have not worked in corporate America for even two years, let a lone 30, but I know what you say is true. Corporate Culture is a big deal – and when the culture of an organization as old and Deep-South-ish as UGA is sick and self-defeating it takes a whole lot of blood sweat and tears and strong leadership from the top to change it for the better and in a lasting way.

              Stong leadership from the top.

              God help Kirby Smart.

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            • Gaskilldawg

              good point.

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      • Bigshot

        Examples please.

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    • Otto

      Maybe that is how the Arkansas AD fire Petrino.

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  3. Wish him the best of luck, and relieved that we don’t play Miami in a bowl–that would of been SO Georgia.

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  4. Yup. I thought in 2013 I’d never seen a coach look so miserable by the end of the season. Find a screen shot of how he looked in Clemson versus how he looked after the bowl game. I seriously thought he was going to walk away then.

    It was just time for a change. If he’s recharged at Miami, then good for him.

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    • I wonder if Bobo’s departure was the trigger.

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      • Excellent question. The timeline certainly fits.

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      • The other Doug

        I agree that it has to be connected.

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      • Bright Idea

        The scenery was killing Richt and losing Bobo was certainly a tough blow but Richt got complacent because he knew B-M didn’t give a rat’s behind about winning so why should he worry. It ain’t just football either. If Kirby doesn’t somehow start winning 10+ quick we will never stop beating these dead horses called Richt and B-M.

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        • Mark

          “…Richt got complacent because he knew B-M didn’t give a rat’s behind about winning so why should he worry”

          All three elements of this statement are among the more ridiculous things I have ever heard. Put them together, and the ridiculousness is breathtaking.

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      • Otto

        I don’t think he was the trigger to Richt’s burn out but the block in a game of jenga the toppled the tower.

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      • MLB2

        Maybe the fact that McGatory wouldn’t pay Bo-Bo what he was worth combined with CMR having to pay bonuses out of his pocket. IMO the Murray/Gurley era is what kept him here as long as he was.

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        • Sh3rl0ck

          the fact that McGatory wouldn’t pay Bo-Bo what he was worth

          Stop. Just stop. The idea that Bobo is the Head Coach at Colorado State because McGarity would not pay up has no basis in reality. I thought this meme had finally died.

          Why are so many Georgia fans compelled to make up and or believe such much BS nonsense? Can someone that is a fan of another program (e.g. WarD or BD) tell me if their fan base is as bad at this? I know they have their emotional fringe, but does the nonsense persist for so long?

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          • MLB2

            Bobo was underpaid for a couple of seasons and it was a source of frustration for CMR. I didn’t say anything about him becoming a head coach. Way to overreact.

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            • Sh3rl0ck

              I’m not denying that Bobo was making less than his true market value, but I never saw anything that suggested that he or Richt asked for or were denied a raise or that it was ever and issue. There was an issue with getting Bryan McClendon a raise, quickly, a few years ago due to an offer from Florida that caused Richt some grief, but that issue was well documented.

              Way to overreact.

              The idea that salary is the reason that Bobo left was widely held at the time and persisted through all of last season. I hope the idea has finally died out.

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  5. DawgPhan

    Organizations that have trouble keeping top talent sometimes have problems.

    Rarely does hiring new talent solve those issues.

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  6. UGA85

    I still love CMR. He is as honest as they come. This does fit the decisions he made late in his tenure that didn’t work out so well. He was tired and worn down and burned out, it seems. And, like you said, Bob’s leaving was the last straw. Energy, long hours, and hard work may be the things UGA needs most right now. Why can’t we agree that the change was good for everyone and move on?

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    • WF Dawg

      After hearing Richt admit he was burned out, I think your last sentence is spot on.

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      • DawgPhan

        Or why couldnt we have said, hey I would like to keep my employees happy and healthy so they can continue driving dollars to my precious reserve fund? What can I do to help him be a more productive employee?

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        • So now McGarity is at fault because Richt got tired of the grind of SEC football. McGarity should have done more. It has nothing to do with the 24/7/365 nature of college football. This is just assigning blame when no blame is necessary. Richt got tired. He retired to Florida. It’s okay, thousands do the same every year.

          Even Chip Kelly has said that he prefers the NFL because the day after losing the national championship game he was on a plane to Texas recruiting. Big time college football is not for those that want to have a life outside of football. What could McGarity have done that would have helped Richt? McGarity was obviously willing to open the checkbook if Richt had said it was necessary to win. Hell, loudmouth Pruitt just had to pipe up at a press conference and the IPF was a done deal. Maybe a guy that hadn’t won anything of consequence in ten years doesn’t have the same cache in his boss’s office as he needs to not feel pressure. Maybe that is what McGarity could have done differently: won a conference title for Richt so Richt could have more gravitas in the AD’s eyes.

          I didn’t want Richt fired after 2015. I understand the reason he was, and I think it is a silly reason, but I understand it just the same. I also understand that Richt was burned out. You could see it in his face. The program became more than he could fix in the state of mind/body/spirit he was in. The change was necessary for both parties. Georgia still stands, and they have a new coach, and I’m going to root for him to succeed. If he does, we’ll have parties and good times. If he doesn’t, we’ll have a new coach and AD, and Georgia will still stand, and I’ll root for the next guy just the same.

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          • D as in Dawg

            Thanks for saving me the need to type this.

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          • Sh3rl0ck

            I’m not used to reasonableness on here. I could get used to it.

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          • Bazooka Joe

            Actually, if the stuff we have read over the years is true – McGoofy certainly did Mark Richt no favors, dumping more fundraising and other duties on him that Kirby flat out said he was not going to do. That’s laziness on McGaritys part.

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    • Mark

      “Why can’t we agree that the change was good for everyone and move on?”

      I want CKS to succeed hugely. Having said that, I will move on when we are averaging more than 10 wins a year. Until then, I am on McGarity like white on rice.

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  7. Atticus

    “Dealing with the AD….” I have never understood that. If I am Kirby I walk into McGarity’s office and let him know off the record that the program is going to be run 100% by Kirby. You think Saban is subordinate to anyone? You think McGarity would call his bluff and fire him, if he did he would be gone too, McGarity’s job is 100% tied to Smart now? I realize you have to earn it with wins but Richt should’ve done the same thing after 2005, but Adams was there and he didn’t use his leverage. The culture in Athens has been a joke for a long time and I am not sure Morehead is the guy to change it either. But maybe once McGarity is gone then we can fulfill the potential for athletics at the school.

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    • DawgPhan

      I really dont like the idea that the problem with the culture in Athens is that the football coach doesnt have enough authority.

      Seems like that ends up going really bad sometimes.

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      • Atticus

        Its not that the coach doesn’t have enough authority, it’s that you have ADs that suck and a President before that. The coach should get everything he needs to succeed and its a joke it took as long as it did to get the IPF and to open the checkbook to hire a proper amount of staff and commit to winning. Sanford has been in need of renovating for years its almost the most antiquated in the entire SEC. The bathrooms are ridiculous, the concessions lines suck, and we get an inordinate amount of noon games. Meanwhile they keep cashing big checks…..

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    • Bazooka Joe

      Nobody is going to give the coach the leeway and power that Bama gave to Saban, especially Georgia – hell we wouldn’t give it to Saban much less Kirby.

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  8. Jared S.

    Richt reminds me of my dad. Which some of you will find hilarious because my dad has been a Presbyterian minister for 31 years.

    My father loves his work. The preaching, teaching, counseling, visiting people. And I’m biased, but I think he’s really, really good at all those things. And he thrives doing these things for which he’s gifted and he feels like he’s called to do.

    But over the years I have seen – and in recent years he has confided in me about the fact – that he hates the administrative and political side of his job. (And for those who don’t think there’s as much politics in churches as any other organization in the world…..I can’t help you. Haha. But I think many or most of you will know what I’m talking about.)

    Anyway, I don’t want to get too deep in the weeds with this analogy, but I know Richt has talked specifically about how he regrets that in his most recent years at Georgia that he was becoming further removed from the coaching and had so many other responsibilities – like speaking to Booster clubs, etc. Which I think he hates. And we know he has clearly enjoyed taking play-calling duties again at Miami this past year.

    As has been said many times: “Well, that’s his own fault! If he knew it was a problem he should have changed it.”

    I think that’s unfair. Hindsight is 20/20. I know in my own life and in others’ lives I’ve witnessed up close – including my dad – that we don’t always know what we want until we’ve been operating for months or years in a way that is achieving the opposite of what we want. Then we suddenly stop and look back and say, “Why in the world have I been doing X or Y for so long?”

    My two cents.

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  9. 81Dog

    all the talk about Richt being burned out overlooks what exactly it was that made him burned out in the first place. I have no inside info, but it would not amaze me a bit if a large portion of the problem he found himself dealing with was created by a hostile athletic director who didn’t hire him and didn’t particularly want him to continue in the job. Refusing to give Bobo a raise that would put him on a par with other OCs, after Bobo had proven his worth, and then insisting, in effect, that “you better hire a genius or else” forced the reach with Schottenheimer (whose UF connections probably had nothing to do with his hiring, right?), just took him down at the knees.

    Working for people who don’t like you and don’t appreciate you is pretty draining. Working for people who are looking to starve you of oxygen at every turn while piously proclaiming their confidence in you is draining, and infuriating. If McGarity is giving Kirby everything Kirby wants, Kirby has a chance to succeed. But if Kirby had to work under the same limits as CMR, he wouldn’t succeed. I doubt anyone else would, either.

    McGarity is a weasel who should have been given the heave ho two years ago. His performance as AD compared to Coach Dooley has been subpar, to say the least. Just check the standings for whatever they call the Sears Cup these days, and you can see the stark difference. I didn’t think anyone would be a bigger puppet than the Patron Saint of Red Panties, but McGarity has been making Damon look like Jeremy Foley.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Otto

      When McGarity took over we reading how he was taking over admin responsibilities that had been dumped on Richt over the years. I believe McGarity was with a sizable portion of the base that viewed Richt as a good but not great coach. Again a sizable portion also view Bobo as an OC who could pad boxscores but could not get out of a season without the Bobo game.

      Yes it is thinly covered secret that McGarity wanted Richt to be fired a year earlier but having spent time facing Richt at a rival school and then trying to help him came to the conclusion that Richt was not the head coach needed for the problem.

      The problems in Athens are for from being limited to just McGarity, I believe the President and the wealthiest Alumni are far greater problems.

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      • 81Dog

        I cant argue with your last sentence. And I’m not arguing that CMR should still be the coach; that ship sailed long ago. My only point is when your boss or bosses are constantly looking for ways to undercut you in private while claiming to help you in public, it makes you job lots harder, whether your name is Richt or Saban. McGarity has done a lousy job, and should be fired as soon as possible, not just for his handling of the football program, but for his mishandling of the entire athletic department.

        Mcgarity certainly isn’t the only problem in Athens, and his missteps weren’t the only problems CMR had, but he’s certainly a big problem.

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        • Otto

          McGarity is nothing more than a puppet for the people who donate and thus fund his salary. He may have done some good by convincing them that Richt was not the man for the job which is hard to argue that he was given the information that he was burned out. If McGarity is outed the power brokers around the athletic department will likely hire someone cut from the same cloth.

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          • 81Dog

            I cant argue with that, either. Maybe the problem is better stated as we need a competent professional as an AD who is allowed to do his job without micromanagement by exterior forces. That’s kind of been part of the problem at Auburn over the years, hasn’t it?

            Our monied overlords want to turn us into Alabama, but instead they seem to have us turning into Auburn. Lovely.

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            • Otto

              Problem or solution, it has been a bit of both at Auburn. Lowder and company has a BCS title, an undefeated season, and played for a 2nd title. You may want to write Malzahn off but with a healthy Sean White, he rattled off an impressive series of wins.

              I feel confident in saying that Tubbs did not want to fire Borges, but Lowder and company wanted to move the team to the spread.

              The UGA way wants power football, stifling defense, all the while undersigning, not taking JUCO transfers.

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              • 81Dog

                If turning us into AU is what it takes to win a national championship, no thanks. Even with all the BS that goes on over there, it took them throwing a mountain of cash at a guy who arguably was the single most program transforming player in the SEC since Herschel Walker to get them to a title. I can’t speak for anyone but me, but if being like them (and the accompanying pre and post Cam years of miserable records) is what it takes, count me out.

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            • Bigshot

              I wish someone would give me some names of these overlords.

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    • Who knows. Being hired by one person and then having them leave is part of life. Sometimes you jive with your new boss and sometimes you don’t.

      If you don’t (which I think is safe to assume was the case), then every single disagreement feels like you’re being undermined.

      Spurrier’s comment years ago that 10 years at a big time school is long enough was spot on. After that amount of time, everyone involved just needs a change.

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      • Red Cup

        So you think there is a chance Saban is gone since he is going on 10 years at Bama? He was worn out his welcome?

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        • 10 is a ballpark. I don’t think Saban will see year 15 at Alabama. Then again, no one has ever been on a run like him, so who knows.

          Saban is probably the exception to a rule that holds true 90% of the time.

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          • Otto

            Agreed Saban seems to be more of a workaholic than vast majority of the population. Spurrier may have been many things but he seemed to have fun away from being a coach.

            I had family at Lake Burton, where he has a house, They went inton a business and a lady said “did you see that?”. A few locals said yes that was Saban he comes in here. She said “no he smiled”.

            Scary thing is Saban with the resources he has and the control Bama has given him may have him comfortable enough to stay 5-10 more. However, It would not surprise me to see him take on rebuilding some place like Texas or ND.

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            • It wouldn’t shock me if he gave the NFL another shot. I have a hard time seeing him at another school, but if the $ was right, maybe.

              He wasn’t an awful NFL coach, not when you consider that Jeff Fisher and Rex Ryan and Norv Turner got multiple head coaching jobs. If the Jets or Giants opened up and they gave him a ton of control, I could see it. Probably Jets.

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              • Otto

                The trick is the very last part, Saban wants control of the program. A NFL franchise would have to give him authority to draft, bench, and trade players. I view that as less likely.

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  10. The other Doug

    I just asked the wife (lawyer) this, and she said “sign the damn contract and it’s easy”, but I’m still curious.

    Why did Richt not sign his last contract? It’s my understanding that he signed all of the previous ones and that there was a document spelling out the details that both sides had agreed to. This document makes it hard for UGA to go back on their word and negotiate with future coaches, so I think it gave Richt the ability to negotiate his exit.

    Am I crazy?

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    • I’ve always suspected there were things in the contract / negotiations that neither McGarity or Richt wanted available for public consumption via a FOIA request. No inside info or anything, but has just always been my suspicion.

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      • It is interesting that it was never signed. It does make me wonder if after the 2014 bowl rumor situation if Richt was keeping an escape route open. If so, good for him.

        It think the most likely scenario is that so much of his job had evolved into more than coaching and he wanted to scale that back. Again, who knows. Clearly McG and Richt didn’t appear to be best of buds.

        Like I said, when you end up working for someone that didn’t hire you or managing someone you didn’t hire, sometimes it just doesn’t work. Neither side has the built in goodwill as working together from the start.

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        • It is interesting that it was never signed. It does make me wonder if after the 2014 bowl rumor situation if Richt was keeping an escape route open.

          That wasn’t the issue. Let’s just say there was an ongoing debate between Richt and McGarity over the scope of Richt’s job-related responsibilities.

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          • Sure, that makes sense too. I completely find that plausible as well.

            I guess my question is this: during their negotiations, did Kirby drive a wedge between coaching duties and whatever else McG was trying to get Richt to do?

            Given what I’ve heard about that process, I’d say yes, but curious as to your thoughts.

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  11. Freedawg10

    Well… I had been under the impression that Richt had taken the last 5 years at UGA off. 🙂
    Seriously, it’s understandable. If I recall correctly, Spurrier left a very successful program at Florida while saying 12 years at one place is enough. I have no idea what the future holds for my Dawgs, but it is obvious to me that the time for change had come.

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  12. The greatest gift ADGM gave to the fans is the 2016 season with a loss to Vandy, Tenn, FU, and the BUGS. 2016 is ADGM’s payback to fans whether intended or not, haha.

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  13. Bigshot

    He wasn’t burned out enough that he didn’t take the Miami job. I might believe this if he had sat out a year, but he didn’t. He got fired on purpose and the more I hear him say the less respect I have for him. I use to think he was a good guy.

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  14. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I really liked reading Richt’s comment because it reaffirms my belief that he is a genuinely good man.

    But still, in all these comments no one has offered a reason why Faton was started for that Florida game and without any changes to an offense that did not play to his strengths. That is still a mystery to me.

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