Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mike DeCourcy Wants An Apology

So the braintrust here at IDYFT received an email from Mike DeCourcy who stated quite clearly that I had wronged him--in equal part for my choice of language in describing his column (and him personally), and for be so clearly proven wrong in our take of his column. The email asked (somewhat sarcastically, it seemed) when I would be publishing an apology. Without further ado, my apology:

Dear Mike--

In terms of tone, I am more than willing to apologize. You may have noticed the name of our blog, though: I Dislike Your Favorite Team. The blog is supposed to be irreverent and opinionated and even a bit juvenile (feel free to add to that whatever other buzzwords are being used to describe blogging these days.)

If you find yourself offended that I called you a dick, I certainly empathize. I know it hurts sometimes, as I have been called a dick numerous, numerous time, and it always cuts me deeply. I will apologize for that. As for the crack about not having played any team sports in a truly competitive environment--if that was unfair, I'll apologize for that, too.

Mike, in your email, you thought that Jay Glazer's piece on the Bengals' unhappiness with Chad Johnson proved something, and that I would be abashed and shamed by my take on the situation in Cincinnati.

However, the central point of your article and even Glazer's seems to highlight a central theme that we see repeatedly in various forms, to wit: "The Outlandish Wide Receiver Is To Blame". We've seen it with Terrell Owens (who I'm not happy about having to defend), Randy Moss, and now Chad Johnson. Two-thirds of those guys are on undefeated teams--funny how we aren't hearing complaints from their respective owners/anonymous management sources. Are those teams winning because those receivers toned down their acts, or are they less likely to get in shouting matches with their coaches when their teams are playing frightfully well?

Chad Johnson is an odd man, there is no doubt about that. His self-aggrandizing celebrations may distract from his teammates, and yes, he may even have a mighty ego. But that is why the Bengals are losing? They've lost key starters on offense, and their defense is just as bad as it was last year, if not worse (how many linebackers are they down to? Two?). Their off-season felonies were something for the record books.

You ignored all of those factors because they got in the way of your central thesis (one I'm sure the Bengal ownership doesn't mind seeing printed) - It's All Chad's fault. Jay Glazer's anonymous source can talk about how the "Chad being Chad" excuse is running out of gas for Bengal management. Does it mean a thing? Are they going to trade away Chad Johnson, because of this incident? They might, I suppose, and they'll be dooming their franchise for years to come, because they will be trading away their most talented player on either side of the ball at the moment. Who gets punished when great receivers get traded? Almost always the team that has given up on them. And not to get totally off-track here, but Jay Glazer isn't Bob Woodward and this isn't Watergate. Does a source "inside the organization" expressing concern that Chad is a showboat with a temper really need to be anonymous?

If the Bengals do stick the blame on Chad Johnson, it is the job of every one watching that team, and reporting on that team, to not just nod sagely and agree, but maybe, just maybe to say, "Umm--what about the stinginess of the owners who won't fix a clearly failed defense?" or "Two healthy running backs to start the season seemed like a bad idea."

So, sure, I'll say that I am sorry that I called you a dick. I didn't mean to offend. No, really--I didn't. It's how this blog works; we're pretty cavalier with our denigrating language. I've called other columnists much, much worse. (Hell, my dickish skepticism has been proven to be quite correct on occasion--with someone with about 50 more years of reporting under their belt than you). I would have thought that after 25 years of sportswriting, you had been called much, much worse too.

I'm sorry that I offended you. I'm sorry if you played years of varsity ball on some level and truly understand what it is like to be on the losing side of an embarrassing loss. In fact, even if you haven't had that experience, I still apologize for using that as a point against you. It was a cheap shot.

But as for you being proved right because of Jay Glazer's anonymous report that Chad Johnson's on-field tirade extended into the locker room at half-time? I don't think that proves much more than Chad's got a temper, and given the amount of Suck coming from that entire team, I don't think he's wrong to be angry. So, no, I will not apologize for being "proven wrong." I don't think I have been. I think the Bengals are pretty desperate to make their problems appear one-player deep, and Chad Johnson has unwittingly jumped right into that role. If they were 3-1 (and they could be, if their defense could stop anybody) then I think your column would not have been written. People wouldn't be complaining about the most dangerous weapon on the team to Jay Glazer.

And perhaps it will work. The inevitable and now announced suspension of Johnathon "Mr. 9th Bengal felony" Joseph certainly hasn't gotten much media attention. Nor, the equally well-sourced report (compared to Glazer's) that Marv Lewis is begging the Bengals to hire a General Manager. And that's just in the last few days of non-Chad Johnson Bengal news.

I think purposefully overlooking the offseason, the defense, and absence of Rudi Johnson in discussing the problems on the Bengals is horsepucky. Even Jay Glazer says the source of the most recent Lewis blow-up was that the entire team was lolly-gagging in practice.

In your email there was a suggestion that your article was about Chad Johnson and team's lack of discipline, which isn't what I read. The article I read suggested (and by suggested, I mean made explicitly clear) that if Chad Johnson would just shut up, everything would be fine. And that's still a very silly thing to suggest, and I don't apologize for pointing it out.

Finally, as you said in your letter, "Twenty-five years of sportswriting experience means more than you realize." That may be true. But I don't think it means as much as you think it does, either. Perhaps, The Truth lies somewhere in the middle--look at me, now I'm writing like a journalist!

Big Blue Monkey


Andrew Wice said...

I would have enjoyed reading the original column, as well as the email response. Since Big BM is controlling the discourse, obviously it's going to be parsed in his favor.

But at the same time, I'm over twenty-five years old (please don't tell my chicks) and I've come to the conclusion that most "sportswriting" is nothing other than regurgitation. You're all bitches of the AP wire and who the hell is writing that?

Ring Lardner would kick us all in the chops. But it's hard. These days, we don't build up heroes, we tear them down.

Muumuuman said...

Why don't we all just agree that you're both dicks, and leave it at that. Peace out man.

Muumuuman said...

And you forgot to point out that if rearrange the letters in Mike DeCourcy" you get:

Mediocre Yuck
Dickey Cum Ore
Dick Creme You

Peace out dicks.

Miwacar said...

Big BM- Nice job of defending and apologizing at once. Ever think of law school, or public policy?

Muumuuman, you is one funny son of a bitch! And you ain't getting no apology from me neither.

Muumuuman said...

And Big Blue Monkey:

Nobelium By Keg

That's how I likes my Nobelium.

Big Blue Monkey said...

No one does Chemistry related anagram humor better than you, muumuuman.

Andrew Wice said...

You guys are getting seriously off-topic here. We were discussing a panda.