Welcome to the Will Muschamp School of Journalism.

Shot.

The day after a report about the culture of the Maryland football program under DJ Durkin, South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp defended the character of his former assistant and decried the use of anonymous sources in reporting the article.

Friday’s ESPN article cited two unnamed former Maryland staff members in addition to two unnamed current players. The article said there was a culture of intimidation and humiliation among the coaching staff before offensive lineman Jordan McNair’s death.

Maryland announced Saturday that Durkin had been placed on administrative leave as McNair’s death is investigated. McNair died two weeks after collapsing at a workout. That came after Friday’s announcement that some athletic staffers had been placed on leave as well.

Muschamp defended Durkin and disagreed with the coach’s portrayal in the article.

“He’s an outstanding football coach,” Muschamp said during a news conference. “He’s also an outstanding husband and father, and he treats people with respect.”

He went on to assail how the article was reported.

“There’s no credibility in anonymous sources,” Muschamp said. “If that former staffer had any guts, why didn’t he put his name on that?”

He added: “I think it’s a lack of journalistic integrity to print things with anonymous sources.”

Chaser.

Boom, MFers.

72 Comments

Filed under Agent Muschamp Goes Boom

72 responses to “Welcome to the Will Muschamp School of Journalism.

  1. Greg

    “Anonymous”, hey……that same fellow posts on here, small world.

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  2. You’d think Muschamp would have better things to worry about. I saw a story last night where the AD had suspended those guys, and I’ll admit that I don’t follow the AD carousel, but is that our old buddy Red Panties as the Maryland AD? Six degrees of college football I guess.

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  3. Brandon

    Really, unrelated to this story, but as a general matter, I don’t like “anonymous” sources in reporting either, as Ray Bones said in “Get Shorty”…”it makes me think you’re either a big chickenshit, or you’re not for real”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Biggen

      The issue is that if you don’t allow anonymous sources, some things may never come to light.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brandon

        I fine with the cops using them for leads, they are real hot spots for abuse in the current media age though.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Derek

          You can always trust the government over private companies. Always.

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          • Anonymous

            You can always trust the government over private companies. Always.

            You can never trust the government or private companies. Always verify any amount of trust you extend. FTFY.

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            • Derek

              Exactly. But if you gave me a choice, I’ll take the private companies over government every time and I damn sure don’t trust the government to decide who we get to hear from.

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              • Brandon

                As you know, there’s got to be independent corroboration before you can even get a search warrant based on anonymous tip, these days in the court of public opinion, people are losing their jobs, homes, family, etc. without really any due process because of the public’s rush to judgment. Again, I’m not saying that there should never be a story run ever based on anonymous source, I’m just saying Muschamp’s got a point, as to the weight it should be given. I also don’t think just because this kid died at practice someone necessarily did something wrong. Did he have a health condition that no one could have discovered short of doing an autopsy on him and cutting his heart in two? I’ve seen those situations. He showed signs of exhaustion? Well, he was exerting himself, get out in full pads and run around in the 95 degree weather and humidity we have down here in South Georgia and everyone will. I just hate the rush to judgment, let’s let it get sorted out before we start demonizing everyone involved. I don’t like Muschamp, but I think his comments on the article are fair.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Derek

                  I agree, right up to the point he suggests it shouldn’t have been printed in the first place. He made very good points as to why the story may not have credibility. Fair comment. The idea that it should remain buried until a name gets in the story is where I’m drawing the line.

                  The point is that just because it’s reported doesn’t mean it’s true. We should always keep that in mind whether or not someone is willing to say it and attach their name.

                  Does Omarosa have credibility because she’s saying what she’s saying with her name on it? I’d be more likely to believe 4 anonymous sources.

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                • Sides

                  Trump/Muschamp 2020

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                • ChiliDawg

                  “people are losing their jobs, homes, family, etc. without really any due process because of the public’s rush to judgment. ”

                  Name one.

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                • Brandon

                  IDK, the story Richard Jewell is a fairly instructive one on the pernicious influence of the press in the development of a life ruining public feeding frenzy.

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        • Biggen

          It can be sure. I guess that I figure that if a journalist (or news agency) decides to run a story from a source that wants to remain anonymous, there must be some credible evidence since it’s the journalist putting his neck and credibility on the line.

          I’d have to think that ESPN must believe the source to be credible else they wouldn’t bother with it. Yes, they want to scoop everybody else, but they still want to get it right or they enter the “fake news” category.

          My two cents anyway. What the hell do I know…

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          • Brandon

            I see very little accountability for the press, they rarely get fired or even reprimanded for false or misleading stories, in the 24 hour news cycle they simply move on to the next victim.

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    • california_dawg

      It’s for safety reasons. Without anonymous sources, stories like Sandusky go decades without being reported.

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  4. HiAltDawg

    if there ever was an expert on intimidation and humiliation, lol

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  5. Mike Cooley

    Muschamp is such a joke.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Bright Idea

    The shame is on those of us who believe everything an anonymous source says. That should be a huge part of our discernment. Kind of like “I read it on the internet.”

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    • Gaskilldawg

      These sources, while anonymous to you are not anonymous to the investigators. They are players and staffers who the interviewers questioned. The final report will be based on attributed sources.

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      • Brandon

        You don’t know that, you presume that. If the reporter has any integrity sure, that’s probably who it is, but it could be anyone, or no one, we don’t know. Again, my beef is not really with anything to do with this particular story, just the use of these anonymous source stories in the age of social media for the purposes has some real troublesome elements, too often they are used to foster the mob mentality.

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        • Derek

          Why can’t we trust the public to figure things out? Don’t we haven’t to even if we don’t?

          One of the problems we have is that people aren’t cynical enough. They think info is accurate no matter what. People actually believe the flat earth meme that showed up a couple of years ago.

          Don’t trust what the government tells you at face value. Don’t trust what the press tells you at face value. Just because you’d like it to be true, doesn’t mean it is.

          Suggesting that we can control the quality of the information just makes people believe bullshit you can’t regulate anyway. People will believe the cover of Star and National Enquirer. They just will. We have to live with that as much as we have to tolerate CNN or Fox News.

          Allow everything. Believe little of it. Be discerning. Be critical. Be a citizen.

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          • Brandon

            I don’t disagree necessarily, I am not advocating censorship, rather my point is that Muschamp’s criticism of the article, and the weight it should be given by the reader, considering it is based entirely on unnamed sources is a valid one.

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            • Derek

              I think that Will’s and your original comment wasn’t: “don’t believe it.” It was: “don’t print it.” Big difference.

              I have no problem with pointing out that it might be bullshit. But when you start saying what we can and can’t be exposed to, that’s where I draw the line.

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              • Brandon

                I’m not sure what you are considering my “original comment” but my first comment on this post, I was quoting Ray Bones from Get Shorty, and if you recall the movie, his comment was geared very much to the “credibility” of the information he was receiving, not its “admissibility”, lol.

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                • Derek

                  Will was pretty explicit that the story shouldn’t have been printed. You were sympathetic to that.

                  You suggested anonymous source in LE were fine but not so much for the press.

                  It was pretty clear to me that you were advocating that a world without stories anonymously sourced would be preferable.

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                • Brandon

                  I said they were abused in the current media age, which is stopping short of saying there is no legitimate time ever to use anonymous sources. Here’s a blow by blow if we must.

                  MUSCHAMP: “There’s no credibility in anonymous sources,” Muschamp said.

                  ME: “no” is inaccurate, an anonymous person/tip may be right on sometimes, but yes I agree that the credibility of people hiding behind anonymity can rightfully be questioned, if someone is named, you can track down their past movements and see if they even had the opportunity to see what they say they saw, you can learn something of their potential bias, etc. with an anonymous person you don’t get to do that. Like Ray Bones in Get Shorty, I’m a little suspicious of anonymity in this context.

                  MUSCHAMP: “If that former staffer had any guts, why didn’t he put his name on that?”

                  ME: Again, as I said above, I agree that there is some legitimate cause to be suspicious of anonymous criticism, that is not to say there is never any reason for someone to maintain anonymity, but this isn’t really an atomic spy case or the Pelican Brief, it sounds like it could just as easily be a cheap shot from somebody who didn’t like so and so.

                  MUSCHAMP: He added: “I think it’s a lack of journalistic integrity to print things with anonymous sources.”

                  ME: I think it can be a lack of journalistic integrity, but there are legitimate reasons for it sometimes. We have freedom of speech in this country, which means that we have to put up with people who lack integrity saying things sometimes, it sucks, but it’s much better than the alternative. So as Derek put it say “don’t believe it” Will, not “don’t print it”.

                  Like

  7. Boom is the walking example of a weak person’s idea of a tough person and a dumb person’s idea of a smart person.

    What a fucking joke.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Cpark58

    Boom’s hypocrisy aside, he is right. Stories based solely on “anonymous” sources are either bullshit or chickenshit. Sure, use confidential sources to gather information but do some real journalism and list evidence and hard facts to support claims.

    Anyone can be accused of anything and is automatically convicted in the court of public opinion. Wielding that shit lightly in the name of clicks is irresponsible.

    With that said, I heard from an anonymous bullgator booster that the reason Florida is lagging in recruiting is because Dan Mullen continues to kill hookers in Gainesville.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Stories based solely on “anonymous” sources are either bullshit or chickenshit. Sure, use confidential sources to gather information but do some real journalism and list evidence and hard facts to support claims.

      A kid dying isn’t evidence enough to support corroborating statements from anonymous sources?

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      • Gaskilldawg

        Exactly. Add to that the corroboration that the university interviewed those sources face to face and saw fit to suspend the head coach.

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        • Dawgwalker07

          Yeah idk why people are acting like this was a story run with 1 anonymous source. It’s 2 former staffers and 2 current players. That’s four different versions of a story. Put with a kid that died and I’m not really sure what more you need to run a story and it be called responsible.

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        • Brandon

          I don’t know that the fact that he’s been suspended is corroborating evidence, it could just as easily be simple cowardice.

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      • Cpark58

        There may be a mountain of evidence uncovered by an anonymous source, in which that’s good investigative journalism, like I said. However, even with all the evidence, the inclusion of “an anonymous source” in a story is a slippery slope.

        When presented alone, the citing anonymous sources as some sort of authority is weak. With no concern of being challenged or fact checked, what keeps total bullshit from being printed for the sole purpose of making someone defend themselves? or even adding a touch of bullshit to an otherwise true story to make it sound more interesting?

        I’m not defending this story in particular, I’m just saying in general.

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    • I heard that Mullen had come across some of McElwain’s shark related porn searches while trying to delete the history on his computer and was intrigued. It’s gotten out of hand lately and a recruit’s mom didn’t like the way that he was looking at their fish tank.

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  9. I guess I should be surprised, but seems a lot of people either don’t get or don’t care to understand that “anonymous” doesn’t mean “unverified”, especially with a high profile story like this.

    Look at all the Internet tough guys here calling anonymous sources chickenshit, especially the football players. It’s not like their current or future coach could make their lives a living hell if they were directly quoted in this type of story or anything.

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    • Cpark58

      I don’t know man, if believing that one should know where an accusation is coming from makes me an internet tough guy then I guess that’s what I am.

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      • Brandon

        Yeah, apparently there were a lot of internet tough guys around back in the 1780’s or we wouldn’t have the Confrontation Clause in the Constitution.

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      • Look man – there’s a legitimate conversation to be had about over-reliance on anonymous sources without verification and I know we live in a time where it’s en vogue to call reporting I disagree with “fake news.”

        However – to blanketly dismiss the usage of anonymous sources as “chickenshit” on the whole, which you did, without acknowledging the whistleblower ramifications for why reporters protect their sources is pretty weak.

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        • Brandon

          I quoted a character in a fucking movie, I wasn’t writing a damn thesis.

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        • CPark58

          I did not dismiss their usage as a tool to find a story. I dismissed their usage as THE story and their being published as part of the story. I feel like I made that clear in my previous posts but if not, I am now.

          1)“ANONYMOUS SOURCE SAYS NIXON CHEATED WAY TO WHITEHOUSE. This is probably true, he should resign”.

          2)“ANONYMOUS SOURCE: NIXON ORCHESTRATES WATERGATE CONSPIRACY AND PUNCHES BABY. Watergate evidence being logged. Investigators still looking for baby”

          3)”NIXON MUST RESIGN: Cache of damning evidence discovered surrounding Watergate Hotel after anonymous tip”.

          All are true and made possible through an anonymous source but one is a truly responsible story.

          Anonymity is used solely as a tool to avoid responsibility for the speaker. Therefore, in my humble internet tough guy opinion, the publishing of anonymous source articles is irresponsible.

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  10. Brandon

    Most people who have seen me post on here for years probably know that like the Senator and a number of other regular posters, I’m a lawyer, I’ve represented clients who have had garbage spread about them by anonymous people with agendas, and maybe that colors my view, so none of my posts about this are personal to any of you who disagree, it’s just I’ve seen this crap hit home and cause a hell of a lot of damage to people, that’s where I’m coming from. I hate Muschamp, I’ll always consider him a turncoat for the disrespect he showed when coaching UF, but he’s not all wrong here.

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    • Derek

      Open up those libel laws!

      For private folks I agree that some folks need suing for that crap. If you’re a public figure I think you have to live with the standard in NYT vs. Sullivan.

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      • Brandon

        Interpreting “public figure” to include strength and conditioning staff at Maryland stretches that term so much it’s rendered meaningless.

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        • Derek

          Well if he wants to claim any of the story is false he can litigate his placement on the continuum. I’m not suggesting the S&C coach needs a showing if actual malice here. DJ would. I’m just saying I don’t have a problem with printing stories with anonymous sources.

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          • Brandon

            I don’t think we disagree much, my issue is that a lot of people walking around don’t have the money to litigate these things. The HC might, I don’t know what Maryland pays, but a lot of regular people get killed in the crossfire in these things that don’t have much real recourse. As much as I like to mock Muschamp, I’m not going to mock him to the extent he’s pushing back here on the reliability of anonymous informants in the court of public opinion, sadly that’s the only court a lot of people involved in these type of situations ever get, at least before their lives are already ruined.

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  11. Code Kel

    Anonymous sources = Fake News

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  12. ATL Dawg

    If there’s one person I respect when it comes to their take on journalism and sources, it’s Will Muschamp.

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  13. I agree with Muschamp to a point. I don’t think its good journalism to attack someones character with anonymous sources.

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  14. Whiskeydawg

    It must be, “Muschamp” love.

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  15. Ellis

    Anonymous source is another way of saying “I made it up.” If you can’t cite a source, a story has no credibility.

    How many lawyers on this board would cite an anonymous witness in court?

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  16. ASEF

    If anonymous sources are tipping that a kid died, and there’s no body – then ok, the media isn’t going to run with it because there’s zero corroboration.

    Dead body plus family making accusations plus independent physical evidence that suggests family has some fair points plus some anonymous sources saying, yup, it all connects the way it looks like it connects?

    I have no idea what Muschamp is smoking here. He’s simultaneously attaching his and his university’s name to a horrific scandal involving a dead kid – for literally no good reason – AND pissing off the people who manufacture free publicity for said university. Good show. And people think this bozo has the brains to pick off Kirby’s juggernaut? I hope it’s 42-0 at halftime.

    We have a capitalist media model, which means it is ultimately profit driven – which means eyeballs. We bitch about standards, and then we click on the links and tune in to the channels. Is there anything more humorous than people bitching about biased or unprincipled media even as they retreat into hermetically sealed information bubbles catering to their world view? Or bitch about media SOP when that SOP directly provides the sustenance for your 7 figure annual paycheck?

    Will’s too dumb for even South Carolina.

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  17. “Absence of Malice” is a great movie, if you’re so inclined.

    Like