As much as I enjoy Deadspin, it's not exactly the Wall Street Journal, so I should not be surprised to find this story, even if it is at 10:30 at night. Deadspin is merely relaying this blog post, which uses the concept of Carlos Dunlap's punishment being determined by the University (instead of Urban Meyer) to make the case that Meyer is losing control to the University administration. The candid photos of recruits Lynden Trail, Gerald Christian and Leon Orr (seen on Deadspin, apparently from myspace pages) push along the attempted story line of Meyer only recruiting drunks, assholes, idiots and gang members., which would increase the likelihood of University intervention.
First, I'll address the falsehood implied here;
Urban Meyer said on Tuesday that he wasn't sure if suspended defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap would be allowed to play in the Gators' bowl game, adding that university president Bernie Machen and athletic director Jeremy Foley will be in on the decision. Sounds like Urban has had his disciplinary powers taken away...
As we addressed, Meyer does not have discipline powers when it comes to Dunlap because the University has a standard DUI punishment policy. I guess it is the writer's interpretation that Meyer only suspending Dunlap for the Alabama and Sugar Bowl games, and waiting for academic or legal punishment, is immoral. We could also accuse the writer of being a homer (Tennessee fan) who has lost track of reality as he believes the Tennessee Orange Pride investigation is a multilevel conspiracy that involves the New York Times, Urban Meyer, Pahokee High School and the 1998 Syracuse football team.
The thing that pisses me off is the implication the three recruits named are gangland thugs using the common formula; Black kid + (bandana+baseball hat) x (money+jewelry/guns) = SCARY BLACK GUY COMING TO GET YOU! It is easy using standard stereotypes and capitalizing on people's long held prejudices, especially in the South. Forget progress, let's keep the old hatred going.
Of course, it does not pass the libel or slander test, because these are high school seniors looking at big time schools. If they didn't want people talking bad about them, they should not have been good football players or posted pictures on a social networking site with terrible security features. If these kids didn't want to be accused of being thugs or criminals, they shouldn't wear bandanas, carry money or live in a state with guns. I'm not making the case that these kids are 4.0 GPA/1600 SAT, but it's just as irresponsible to make the case they are gangland junkies.
Maybe I'm being a homer, or maybe I'd rather write about the games than the mind of a high school senior. But calling people out as gang members is bull shit, especially when two of the three recruits were also targeted by your own school. This is an isolated case that I picked out because Deadspin picked it, but we've all see the poison that flows on message boards. People have every right to swim through the bull shit and smear anyone they can get their hands on. But remember that the stink will never wash off, especially when it comes to the teenagers who you beg and plead to play for your football team.