April 23, 2014

SportsLine Spreading Innuendo Again

Gregg DoyelNational Media Continues To Create Stories From Lies

Perhaps you’re familiar with Gregg Doyel, perhaps you’re not. Either way, I am playing right into his hand. He’s little more than SportsLine’s version of Howard Stern…a shock jock with a laptop. He falls into this continuing trend that I find disturbing. What trend? The trend of the national sports media outlets making up fabricated stories, spreading lies, breaking news without valid sources, and on and on and on. And why do they do it? Because they can. Because who’s going to stop them? Because bloggers like myself write about them and give them the attention they desire. Because readers flock to them and take their word as gospel truth.

So what exactly am I talking about here? I’m talking about Gregg Doyel’s latest bargain bin joke of an “article” for SportsLine. In it, he starts by taking hollow shots at coaches for their “slimy” recruiting practices….even though he doesn’t feel the need to elaborate on exactly what practices he is speaking out against,

“New Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez ran amok, running four verbal commitments through his shredder as he stole recruits from Penn State, Purdue, Florida and Cincinnati. Purdue coach Joe Tiller seemed especially peeved, calling Rodriguez “a guy in a wizard hat selling snake oil.” The late additions gave Michigan one of the best, and one of the most cut-throat, recruiting classes in the country. Great recruiting classes require a little bit of figurative throat-cutting, but this was especially brutal.

How brutal? Rodriguez out-slimed the slimiest coach in college football, Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino, who got up to speed at his latest school by swiping three previously committed players, including one from Southern Cal, another from Texas Tech and a third from little bitty Troy. Because he could.”

I’m normally one who’s all for any excuse for ripping the Michigan football program and its coaches, but what I do not stand for is baseless rumor-mongering. “But its not baseless….he quotes Joe Tiller.” Um, ok, I suppose, but isn’t it perhaps a little more likely that Tiller is just a little sore and embarrassed because he wasn’t able to hang onto one of his recruits? I don’t care what a recruit says, nothing is official until he signs his Letter Of Intent.

But just wait, Buckeye fans. It gets even better for us. You know, SportsLine is never one to shy away from saving their best and lowest blow for Ohio State. After throwing a couple other coaches under the bus (I know, I hate that phrase too), he delivers this gem,

“It’s hard to catch anybody cheating anymore, you know that? These slimy suckers are slippery — and they’re bold, too. Ohio State’s Jim Tressel blatantly skated up to the edge of ethical badness last week, acting with such audacity that even the newspaper that broke the news had no idea it was breaking anything at all. And still won’t unless it reads this here story.

So here you go, Cincinnati Enquirer. I’ll give it to you in three easy steps:

1. On signing day, the story at the bottom right of the sports front page noted that OSU football coach Jim Tressel had signed the best receiver out of Cincinnati, DeVier Posey of La Salle High School.

2. On the same day, at the bottom left of that same page, a story noted that La Salle High was offering a school fund-raiser called “An Evening with Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel” on March 5. Tickets range from $60 for drinks and dinner to $175, which includes a photo op with Tressel as well as a football signed by the OSU coach.

3. Connect those dots. Tressel had never signed a player from La Salle until he got Posey. Likewise, Tressel has never donated an evening of his time to help raise money for La Salle until this year. And the “Evening with Jim Tressel” wasn’t announced in the local newspaper until the day after Posey signed. Why? This is just a guess, but it’s a good guess: If Posey had backed out of his commitment to Ohio State, Tressel wasn’t going to have an evening with La Salle.”

Where do I even begin with this slanderous piece of work? So, let me get this straight, Gregg….am I understanding you correctly? The fact that Tressel has never landed a recruit from La Salle before Posey means that Tressel MUST have made promises to the school in order to get him to commit? Perhaps Gregg should do a little research before trying to read into a story and making up innuendo. Perhaps he should familiarize himself with the Brew Crew. Perhaps he should have looked into some quotes from Posey about his recruitment and he would have found the following,

“I didn’t want to commit during basketball season. The night my team lost in the tournament my mom and I headed for Columbus. On Saturday I hung out with Stoneburner and Adams. That was also the first time I met Michael Brewster. We all hung out at “Big” Mike’s house and talked about playing together in college. The next morning I had breakfast with Coach Hazell and I also sat down with Jim Tressel for about two hours. That conversation was so important because we just talked about everything but football. I just felt so comfortable with him and I knew right then I would be a Buckeye, but I didn’t tell him or anyone else at that time. That night as we were driving home I told my mom to stop at the Nike outlet so I could buy some Buckeye gear, because that’s where I was going to college. She thought it was a quick decision, but I told her I knew in my heart it was the right place for me. She was fine with my decision, but she just wanted me to be sure.”

Or perhaps he should have looked into how many La Salle players Tressel had offered a scholarship to prior to Posey. The answer? Going back to 2002 (which is as far back as the Scout.com database goes)…..One. Ben Martin, a defensive lineman in the 2007 class who signed with Tennessee. So it’s not like La Salle was a place with a history of recruits turning down scholarship offers from Ohio State.

Doyel also claims that had Posey backed out of his commitment then Tressel would have backed out of his dinner and photo op. Really? If that’s true, that’s pretty poor recruiting tactics by Tressel, because regardless of what Posey does it’s a great way to increase your profile within the school. Recruiting is like sales, and brand recognition is always key. So why WOULDN’T Tressel want to get his name and face inside the school even if Posey had backed out?

The fact of the matter is this…Doyel wrote yet another piece of shock journalism in which he throws some names around in the mud in order to get a rise out of us and to keep his readers foaming at the mouth and coming back for more. This is why I said this post is playing right into his hands. But I refuse to sit by and allow someone to throw out such hollow accusations with absolutely no facts behind them (in fact, Doyel even admits in the article that he’s really just guessing what happened) without responding to them. As an Ohio State fan, I know that part of the cost of being a fan of such a major athletic program means that I will have to deal with the heightened scrutiny behind everything that goes on in Columbus. But it doesn’t mean I have to sit here and not respond. We in live in a climate in which the popularity of sports blogs is ever increasing, and with it, so too does the spreading of false rumors and lies. It’s an ugly byproduct of what we do. Thankfully, it also gives us a forum to hold these writers of major national outlets to a higher standard of acountability when they stray off the path of truth and accuracy.

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  • Rick

    I have to say I fall in the not familiar with him camp. After reading this I’m glad I don’t follow his ‘work’. Great job Rock…

  • http://themdp92.blogspot.com Spencer

    What a reach by Doyel…how the hell could he equate Tressel doing an evening thing with Rich Rod stealing recruits? What the hell is wrong with this guy?

    Great read.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com RockKing

    I should have added in the post that DeVier Posey was the third member of this class to commit to OSU. He was never going anywhere but OSU, and Tressel hosting a dinner has nothing to do with Posey or any other kind of “shady” recruiting practices.

  • Dan

    Doyel is to be ignored. It is clear from his writing that he doesn’t even believe the slop that he doles out. His only function is make people angry, and do as little research as possible. The fact that he still has a job must mean that he’s boning Katie Couric.

  • I’m a Spiritualist

    You’re crazy! Gregg Doyel knows what Jim Tressel is thinking at all times! He even knows what you’re thinking. RIGHT NOW!

  • Chris

    No love lost for Doyel here, but he’s pretty dead-on with the Purdue recruit. The recruit (who we all wish obscurity upon and will not name) reaffirmed to the Purdue staff late on the night prior to signing day that he was completely onboard with Purdue. Never mentioned any Michigan contact or scholarship offers. This wasn’t a situation of “Oh dear, where should I go to school?” and the kid waits to the last minute to decide. This was someone who had committed to Purdue months ago and never flinched until signing day. The fact that this was replayed at 2-3 other schools suggests that there is more to it.

    Not only does this leave Purdue short of a 4-star WR, but the timing also denies Purdue the opportunity to recruit & sign a replacement in a timely manner.

  • Stew

    Nice article. Doyel is infamous here in the south (while working for a Charlotte, NC newspaper) for his libellous attacks on various teams that suit his fancy. He is a jerk.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com RockKing

    You know what I appreciate, Chris? That explanation. Doyel’s article would have been infinitely more tolerable (minus the OSU part) had he given an explanation similar to yours. The fact of the matter is, he threw around names like “slimy” without giving any info other than the fact that Michigan landed 4 verbals from other schools.

    Believe me, I’m not in the business of defending Rich Rodriguez….it was just that in this article Doyel offered up zero facts to back up his name calling.

  • http://the-op.blogspot.com dingusaurus

    Doyel makes sports writing and sports writers look stupid. If his claims were valid, I would think he would support his attacks will specific references.

    But, again, Doyel’s disregard for journalistic integrity is well-known and documented here in NC.

  • Tiger_Thom

    Trust me, this is just par for the course with this bozo. His technique is to make outlandish inflammatory statements about some school, player, or coach and then just sit back and watch the firefight as fans of that school, player, or coach argue with their rivals who report What Doyel said as gospel.

    He then moves on to the next target, and his editors are pleased because he drives hits to their website and readers (even in disgust) to his articles. Its flame bait pure and simple, and unfortunately (as you acknowledge) we buy right into it.

  • http://jjhuddle.com wolverines55

    Great article. Doyel is a hack and no reputable blogger (I refuse to call that piece of garbage a journalist) would ever publish such a thing with no facts, pure speculation, and deliberately try to trash a man of class and merit such as Jim Tressel. (I admit it Buckeye fans, the old sweater vest has had our number and has won with class. I admire your coach)

    Thanks for the entry RockKing

  • http://www.redandwhitefromstate.com Alpha Wolf

    We’re quite familiar with Mr. Doyel down here in ACC country — he used to be a beat writer in the UNC/Duke/NC State area for the Charlotte Observer before he went to Cincinnati and started his gig with CBS-SL. Back in those days, he’d troll message boards and would even post under his own name. He was also more of a straight-up and pretty reasonable guy.

    What’s clear is that he’s be commissioned to write incendiary pieces that will generate a lot of page views for his web site. Page views = advertising revenue, and the owners of the site probably care about that money more than they do the veracity of Doyel’s opinions. So anything Gregg can do to stir things up and get people reading is alright by them.

    Look at the bright side, though. Doyel was fired from his radio gig at 1530 WCKY in a so-called budget cutting move. The station manager said he was “getting better” which tells me he wasn’t good enough.

    Bottom line is not to feed trolls and this guy is a troll on a national website.

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