Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Censorship isn't cool

My “Four-loss Lloyd is back!” (11/22/05) article was posted/linked on the Wolverine Rivals message board—albeit briefly. It lasted a whole 40 minutes before the board moderators decided it was too anti-Lloyd Carr. At least that’s what I’m assuming. I highly doubt that it was because it was too pro-UM. I’ve read the article (since I wrote it) so that decision didn’t affect me any. However, there are about 500 people that pay pretty good money to discuss Michigan football that were denied a chance to read the article. I don’t claim to be a master-writer or the lord of all things UM so I’m sure that the people that missed out on reading the article will be able to move past this difficult time in their lives through anti-depressants and therapy.

It seems that paranoia has set in for the people that can’t stand taking any sort of criticism of the program. In fact, that is the one and only reason why I cancelled my subscription to The Wolverine in print. Each week, The Wolverine answers reader mail on the first few pages of the issue. Any time anybody writes in about a problem with the coaching staff, they are immediately dismissed as being minority dissenters with nothing of value to say. Readers with comments expressing concern for the state of the program are immediately fed the company line of “what more do you want” or “I’m sure many programs in America would love to have Michigan’s success”. How is that informative or constructive? A magazine, with a circulation as big as The Wolverine, should try to represent all view points and avoid being the propagandist for the Utopian Wolverine Society. Nothing in this world is perfect. Intelligent banter is a commodity that Michigan fans value. In The Wolverine, I found a grotesque lack of prospective.

Anyhow, pulling the link down only confirmed to me that the same “homer” slant that is found in the print article is also alive and well on the Rivals internet site. The unfortunate thing is that I have a lot of respect for Rivals and the services that it has brought to college football fans. Their recruiting rankings and search engines are top-notch and their message-boards help unite college football fans across the country. It’s just sad that this sort of censorship would go on at such a well respected place.

When I woke up this morning, I went to the Detroit News online site as I do every morning. I was met with a surreal headline: “Carr Not Upset with Michigan’s 7-4 Record.” Well, that’s perfectly understandable. Who would be upset with four losses after starting the season with a roster so talented that it merited a #4 pre-season ranking? The ridiculous aspect to this whole situation is that a down season every now and again is OK. The problem with Carr is that he has “down” seasons virtually every year. The down seasons aren’t a rotten case of bad-luck either. They are a direct result of incompetence and stubbornness of the coaching staff. How can a coach at Michigan be happy with a four loss season? That’s just unbelievable.

After reading the “Carr Loves Underachieving” errr I mean…. “Carr Not Upset with Michigan’s 7-4 Record” headline, there’s no wonder why my totally accurate portrayal of the Michigan football program was taken down from the message board. The people on top of the totem pole don’t even see a problem with the program. How on Earth could people that run a pro-UM site like Rivals see it or even consider it? For people that defend Lloyd Carr (his family, Message board moderators, Jim Herrmann and great poets of yester year) there is no middle ground. If you criticize Carr, you are being hostile and belligerent. There is no exchange of ideas or intelligent debate on the subject. Instead of being met with dissenting opinion or coherent counterpoints, criticism is swiftly deleted from existence. Now that’s the kind of reputation that Rivals can pride itself on. If you don’t think Michigan football is the greatest run program in the world, you can get the $^%# out of here.

I’ve remained unbiased even in my distaste for Carr’s coaching job. I’ve never said that he should be fired. I’ve never said he was a horrible coach. I’ve done my best to sugarcoat Lloyd’s coaching job while presenting facts that back up my feelings that he has severely under achieved and grossly underestimated the merits of a competent coaching staff that can prepare and adjust. But, even the slightest bit of negativity towards Lloyd and his coaching job was met with hostility at what seems like the most appropriate place to talk about these things—a Michigan football message board. God forbid that fans actually speak and read the truth at a place like that.

I don’t post on message boards too often but I do read them quite a bit. I saw the interaction that took place on the Rivals board regarding my article. I also saw more than a few responses expressing disappointment that the article was taken down. I’d like to encourage any Rivals poster (or any UM message board poster) who a). wants to pass along the article or b). was actually the person that posted the article, if you still want to link just link to my site and tell people which article to read. Maybe that will work. Feel free to link it at other sites if you find no luck at Rivals. If you think it’s an article that other UM fans would appreciate then I encourage you to pass it along even at the risk of running into the Man. I’m sure you were given the company line about “inappropriate” or “damning” articles not permitted to be linked but I don’t write articles like that. I think its ridiculous what happened but as ridiculous as it is, it’s not surprising in the least. Like I mentioned above, it’s the precise reason why I cancelled my Wolverine subscription.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm not a Carr hater myself but I think everyone is entitled to their opinion, particularly when it is thoughtful and well written. If that is true that they pulled it for content they considered negative, that site is no better than ilovedickcheneyandallhisideasbecausetheyaresogreatbecausehesaGOPGod.com. As a member of the media for nine years that really irritates me beyond even government censorship. What is this? The Riga (Latvia) Times during the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Anonymous said...

The rest of the dick cheney site is: becauseheisaGOPGod.com. Just in case you missed it in the above post.

Anonymous said...

"In The Wolverine, I found a grotesque lack of prospective."
"The down seasons aren’t a rotten case of bad-luck either. They are a direct result of incompetence and stubbornness of the coaching staff."
You can't get any more honest than that. You have to love sports fans/writers/coaches that are so narrow-minded that they are delusional. Way to go boys! Let's continue to let the coaching staff lose our games... because we're the BEST!


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