Category Archives: Media Punditry/Foibles

The secret to great journalism?

Consistency.  Yesterday’s AJ-C story regarding the first public meeting of the university’s athletics association board since the crash that killed two people inevitably contained the reference for which they’re most proud.

The Journal-Constitution reported that surveillance video showed McClendon and Willock leaving a downtown Athens strip club with two women strongly resembling Bowles and LeCroy about 15 minutes before the crash. Their late-night socializing may have violated a university policy that forbids inappropriate contact between employees and student-athletes.

Offseason grind, man.  They’re gonna milk every salacious drop of Toppers they can squeeze out.

September 2, I can see it now:  “Showing no signs of being affected by a surveillance video that showed two players from last year’s team leaving a downtown Athens strip club, the Dawgs easily handled UT Martin today.  For more coverage on Georgia’s 2023 season opener, including interviews with fans at their tailgates about whether they’ve seen the shocking video and how it has changed their feelings about Georgia football, don’t forget to check your AJ-C coverage.”

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Crash talk

Warren McClendon’s at the Senior Bowl, preparing to get ready for the NFL draft.  As you can probably guess, the media had other things on their mind for him to address.

“It was rough for me, but I’ve been talking to a psychiatrist, and it’s been getting better day by day,” McClendon said Tuesday in his first interview since the accident. “(The therapy) is very helpful. At first, I was kind of trying to push away from it, but it’s helpful.”

Asked what he remembered about that night, McClendon said, “Really, not too much. Just when the wreck happened, I kind of got knocked down. I really don’t remember too much.” He confirmed that the four friends were on their way to a Waffle House to meet other teammates. The crash occurred hours after the Bulldogs had a parade and ceremony to celebrate their second consecutive national championship.

McClendon, an offensive lineman, talked with media members for less than three minutes on the field in Mobile before Senior Bowl public relations cut the interview short, citing a need to protect the player.

I guess there wasn’t enough time to ask him about the show at Toppers.

Seriously, I get that to some this is news, but when does the statute of limitations run for that?  Maybe it’s just me, but that all had a very cringy feel to it.  I give McClendon credit for answering the questions, but when does he earn a little peace from that?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

This is how you journalism.

Shot.

Former UGA quarterback Stetson Bennett arrested in Dallas in public intoxication case”

Chaser.

Bennett’s arrest is the third recent off-the-field tragedy/incident involving a player associated with the football program:

– Offensive lineman Devin Willock and football staff member Chandler LeCroy were killed in an auto crash Jan. 15, hours after the championship celebration in Athens.

– Rara Thomas, who joined the program in December as a transfer from Mississippi State, was arrested Jan. 23 on charges of false imprisonment and battery/family violence.

I do not think “former” means what the AJ-C thinks it means.

Ah, well.  At least they didn’t mention Toppers.  But I bet they thought about it.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Rehabbing the Portal Master™

Matt Hayes has a question.

Why in the world would Dan Mullen jump back into the rat race that is college football coaching?

“He’s one of the most competitive guys I’ve ever met, that’s why,” a former assistant coach under Mullen told me. “He’ll race you from the counter at the (convenience) store to the car — and pull and grab and bang shoulders the whole way.”

Yet somehow, that competitiveness never worked its way into the recruiting process, even as Kirby Smart called him out on it.

The process of Smart building the monster at Georgia included a demoralizing beatdown of Florida in 2021, when Smart said players win games and no one can “outcoach talent” — a direct shot at Mullen and his “QB guru” and play-caller reputation.

Hayes takes that and, incredibly, gets to this:

Tide coach Nick Saban is in the market for a new OC and quarterbacks coach/play-caller, and of those on the market — or, really, at other colleges or in the NFL — he’s not going to get a better, more motivated candidate.

Kirby Smart, you see, knocked out Dan Mullen, too.

Forget about how it ended at Florida, with his inability to recruit at a high level colliding head on with an underachieving quarterback duo that couldn’t stop throwing interceptions.

I think Matt misspelled “unwillingness” there in his last sentence.  Or maybe he’s taking his own advice about forgetting.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Recruiting

News is newsy.

The AJ-C can smell that Pulitzer coming.  The bodies are barely cold in the ground and the paper is already deeply in the hunt on reporting how it happened.  And why we need to know.  Don’t believe that?  Hell, the editor comes right out and tells us:

Why are we writing this story?

Managing Editor Leroy Chapman Jr. answers the question “Why are we writing this story” about the Jan. 22, 2023, publication of “Strip club visit raises questions about fatal UGA crash.”

WE ARE PURSUING THE FACTS. Here is what we know so far. On Sunday, Jan. 15, our state woke to tragic news: Four young people — two University of Georgia athletic department employees and two football players — were in a deadly, single-vehicle accident. Two died and two were injured.

We soon learned that the rented SUV carrying the four was driven that morning by 24-year-old university employee Chandler LeCroy, who died from her injuries. Devin Willock, a 20-year-old sophomore offensive lineman, was a passenger who died at the scene.

WE ARE ASKING ACCOUNTABILITY QUESTIONS. LeCroy was driving a rental car. The university rents such vehicles to drive recruits on campus visits. Police say speed contributed to the accident. Why the four occupants of the SUV wound up together that night is important to understand. Those facts will determine who is ultimately accountable and what role the university’s decisions and policies might have played. The university is responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of student athletes.

Now, the AJ-C doesn’t usually run rationalizations at the end of their stories unless there’s something significant they believe their readers need to understand.  At least that’s one way to interpret that ponderous explanation.  Another way, one that I think better fits the occasion, is that they know they’re pushing the envelope of what’s newsworthy.  It really doesn’t take much of a leap to reach that conclusion, because they tell you straight out in the header:

Then, they nail the finish with this lame attempt at pathos.

I would ask Chip Towers how that last paragraph enlightens us as to “events that led to deaths of two”, but I’m afraid that would take us to a discussion of to whom the paper assigned the prestigious Toppers beat, something I really would rather not know about.  Besides, that gets away from the most egregious point of his tweet.  “Led” is doing a shit ton of heavy lifting there, because led implies causation.  Even the article acknowledges that the reporters don’t know when Bowles and LeCroy met up with McClendon and Willock, let alone whether LeCroy was under the influence when she was driving.  All they can say is that the four left the club together in the wee small hours of the morning.

The rest of the piece is speculation about the roles Bowles and LeCroy were playing, interstiched with timelines and charts in an attempt to fuse the speculation with gravitas.  And, of course, those Toppers references.  Because while most don’t care about whether LeCroy was driving a rented vehicle paid for by the school, a little appeal to others’ prurient interests never hurts to draw eyeballs.

Speaking of the school, the reporters tried hard to coax some comments from UGA but, disappointingly no doubt (“University officials have not responded to detailed questions about the crash from the Journal-Constitution. “), received only this from a school spokesperson:

“Our primary focus remains on providing comfort and support to the families and friends of Devin, Chandler, and the two others who were injured, as well as everyone impacted by this tragedy. Out of respect for the individuals and their families, we will not comment further at this time on the accident or the ongoing investigation.”

Perhaps the AJ-C should have taken the hint.  But then, that’s not news, is it?

********************************************************************

UPDATE: Mr. Towers be doublin’ down.

********************************************************************

UPDATE #2:  Some related thoughts

Investigating what happened that night is certainly a story worth pursuing. But it doesn’t mean a story must be written. As far as we know so far, the four hanging out together — no matter where it was — was not illegal and doesn’t necessarily suggest it was a reason for the accident.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

When they write the final chapter on Stetson Bennett…

I don’t know about you, but writing a piece titled “College Football’s Top Undetermined QB Situations Heading Into 2023” without mentioning Georgia seems a little strange.  But maybe that’s just me.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Mike Bianchi has painted his masterpiece.

Honestly, this is fucking disturbing.

In an indirect way, the Georgia Bulldogs should thank their hated rivals, the Florida Gators, for the hiring of head coach Kirby Smart — the new king of college football.

You see, the man who hired Smart, former Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity, learned how to be a big-time athletic administrator while serving as the right-hand man for former University of Florida AD Jeremy Foley for nearly two decades.

Foley, one of the greatest ADs in college sports history, obviously taught McGarity well.

Perhaps too well.

Oy to the vey.

He’s just getting started.  And he’s got a big finish.

Take a bow, Florida Gators, you deserve at least some of the credit for this.

With your mastery of Richt and your mentorship of McGarity, you helped the Jawjuh Bulldogs make one of the greatest hires in college football history.

I hope he wiped his chin when he finished.

51 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Sorry

This Nicole Auerbach apology to Stetson Bennett ($$) — she uses the word “apologize” in the header, so I guess that’s how it’s meant — is just plain weird.

I mean, all “At the time, I didn’t believe that Bennett was even the best player on his own team. I think I still believe that, although I realize now that the thought doesn’t matter” does is remind me of this:

Stetson Bennett doesn’t need to hear her tell him he’s got guts.  He can just point to the scoreboard.  Or this, for that matter.

Nicole is gracious enough to absolve us, as well.

I still fervently believe that there were better individual performances over the course of the 2022-23 season, which is why I personally voted for three non-Bennett players on my Heisman ballot. But I no longer feel the need to criticize anyone who sees what Stetson does and wants to call it exceptional.

Well, thanks for that.  I’ll settle for this as consolation:

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Gonna need a bigger set of feudal rankings

Damn, I can’t believe Stewart Mandel ($$) penned this sentence:  “Georgia is the gold standard right now, even more so than Alabama.”

Must be something in the drinking water out in Montana.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Riding the narrative

Give Nicole Auerbach a little credit.  Bo Nix compiles a meh 149.4 passer rating as Oregon ekes out a one-point win over a North Carolina team that finished the season on a four-game losing streak and Nicole comes in hot with a perfect meme take.

Well played, ma’am.

The best thing Bo’s Heisman chances have going for them is that Oregon won’t face Georgia in the 2023 regular season.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles