Every now and then, fingers should be pointed. Today is one of those days. First, I want to point a finger, an upwardly pointed thumb, at The Smoking Musket, our SBN brother community that covers the West Virginia Mountaineers. They've had one hell of an offseason, largely these last few weeks and days. Here's SBN's storystream that recaps what happened this week, but I'll drop the bullets and point a middle finger at someone else after the jump.
- It all started in mid-December last year when Dana Holgorsen, the mastermind behind offensive developments at Texas Tech (overseeing Danny Amendola's career), Houston and Oklahoma St., revealed he was headed to become the West Virginia offensive coordinator for a year ahead of taking over for then head coach Bill Stewart in 2012.
- Fast forward to late May, when Holgorsen got drunk and was escorted out of a local casino. In and of itself, it wasn't a big deal for a school/region that is covered in a delicious veneer of alcoholism (example #∞: beer sales at a college stadium. Dear North Texas Board of Regents, I suddenly have an idea on how to make UNT football more exciting...), but when other reports surfaced of similar incidents (see the updates at the end of the casino incident link), questions were being raised on the possible impact of Holgorsen's personal life on his head coaching potential.
- Those questions were exacerbated by Chuck Landon at the Herald-Dispatch in this piece, titled "Holgorsen gambling on future at WVU." Remember this part.
- Charleston Daily Mail reporter Mike Casazza then decided to pursue the rarest of rare forms: actually practicing journalism. The result was this piece, in which Landon's article was blown into tiny bits of bullshit. The result of the result was a simple question: did Landon just make the BS up, or was he spoonfed the BS, reporting it without sufficient research to validate?
- It was the latter, and the source was rumored to be Bill Stewart himself. Cue the classic story of unwanted hanger on trying to kill off the young up and comer to stay in power (see: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. The Capra version, not the Mel Gibson version...). The real issue was how deeply Stewart had reached for the info; had he really started to search for dirt less than a week after Holgorsen was announced back in December?
- At this point it didn't matter. The implication that Stewart was undermining the future head coach of West Virginia football was too much for WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck, the father of the probable 2012 NFL Draft #1 overall pick, Andrew Luck. Yesterday, Bill Stewart was fired, and Dana Holgorsen's tenure as head coach moved up a year sooner than originally anticipated.
Throughout the process, the Smoking Musket was on top of it. Like I did back in February for SBN's UCLA community, Bruins Nation, I wanted to point out their good work. I didn't do so as well as this piece, but only because I wanted to point a solidly-sized middle finger at Dave Hickman at Charleston Gazette for writing this lovely example of high horse-ism and reminding me of why I hate douches with a platform.
See, Hickman, with his education and experience, is better than the guys at the Smoking Musket. He's a journalist. He doesn't deal with fucking peasants:
I'd like to send a huge thank you out to the blogosphere and the rumor mongers today because I really didn't have much else to do on a Monday afternoon and evening except maybe spend some quality time with my family.
You damn bloggers. I could have gotten off work on Monday if it wasn't for you spreading unsubstantiated rumors:
Two percent fact.
Ninety-eight percent unadulterated imagination.
If it's being discussed on a blog and I don't know about it, it can't be true. What don't you understand? I write for a newspaper. I'm a really big deal. You internet nuthuggers just type stuff and click away. I have standards. What I write goes on cheap, unstarched, industrial-grade newspaper and is distributed in West Virginia. I'm practically Brad Pitt up in this bitch. And my crystal ball is on point:
And what if Stewart or his wife or anyone else involved in the program is found to have gone around telling tales out of school? Is that a fireable offense? Not on your life...
If you choose to sink your teeth into this one, feel free. I'm only doing it because someone needs to clear out a little bit of the smoke.
And when that happens I don't think you're going to find much fire.
Dave Hickman wrote that, June 6. The fires roasted Bill Stewart out of the program four days later.
Let's be real. No, the large majority of SBN writers don't have nearly the education or experience of those writing at sports pages around the country, especially in major markets. Honestly, I'm glad the Rams are covered by the Post-Dispatch team. They're an unusually good crew. But to have one reporter pass off Stewart's handiwork without doing the legwork only to have another reporter in the same market avoid criticizing said first reporter, but instead put "teh blogs" in his crosshairs? Eat my ass, Dave Hickman.
The sooner people like Hickman quit infusing their columns with ego and elitism, the better the industry will be. It's easy to call out Woody Paige for stealing a quote. But why call out Landon for his jackjob when you can just pile on "the blogosphere" (which at this point is an absolutely outdated cliche and is as lazy as anyone can get, especially if you're about to be critical about a/several Web sites)?
I'm not perfect. Van's not perfect. The brigade of SBN site managers and writers and front page contributors aren't perfect. And knowing that I'm wrong (far too often), I try to never claim superiority. I try not to look down on anyone's view of football or the Rams. So to all the Dave Hickmans out there, stay on your high horse. Please. It's easier not to you hear you when you're up there anyway.