Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday rundown – Notre Dame stonewalling again, Tiger Woods, McNabb, ESPN-BCS apologists, banning bloggers and Jane awaits an Islanders win

Since there is no blowaway, got to talk about it story going on in sports right now, I thought I would touch on a number of different items today.

ITEM: Notre Dame could be in serious trouble again. This story could become a very important one if people at Notre Dame don’t come up with a very good explanation for what The Chicago Tribune reported on Sunday. According to the Tribune, a freshman at St. Mary’s College (an all girls school across the street from Notre Dame) committed suicide on September 10th—10 days after filing a complaint with the Notre Dame campus police that she had been sexually assaulted by a Notre Dame football player.

Obviously there is no tangible way to connect her death to the alleged assault. She had a history of depression issues prior to enrolling at St. Mary’s and none of us will ever know what led her to take her own life. But what The Tribune is reporting is extremely damning: That the Notre Dame police didn’t contact the St. Joseph’s County police department (which conducted the investigation of the suicide) to let it know that the victim had filed a sexual assault complaint 10 days before her death. The Tribune also said that the campus police department had refused a request for documents from its investigation, claiming it was not subject to Indiana sunshine laws that affect public police departments. It also refused to allow football coach Brian Kelly, athletic director Jack Swarbrick or anyone in the administration to comment AND the player—who The Tribune says it has contacted and also received no response from—is still playing.

Wow. Maybe there is an explanation but right now no one at Notre Dame is supplying one because the school is busy stonewalling. If you add this to the awful way Notre Dame handled Declan Sullivan’s death a few weeks ago with Swarbrick speaking in so much non-committal legalese that the school president, The Reverend John L. Jenkins, FINALLY had to send out an e-mail saying, yes, we let the young man down and didn’t protect him, this looks very bad for Notre Dame.

This is so serious I’m not going to even get into some of the ridiculous things Kelly said after the win over Army on Saturday night (calling the loss to Navy ‘an anomaly,’ among other things). Let’s hope Father Jenkins steps forward soon to explain exactly what happened. Until then, everyone’s job—including his—can be and should be in jeopardy.

ITEM: Tiger Woods unveils another ‘new,’ Tiger Woods. This is for those of you disappointed because it has been a while since I’ve criticized Woods. Honestly, I find this completely un-interesting. It is clearly just another image-rehab attempt by Woods and his sycophants to try to win back corporate money and fans—the fans being important because their support leads to corporate money. It is no coincidence that the latest blitz comes a couple of weeks prior to Woods’ 18-man exhibition event in California which he hasn’t played in for two years. (First year injury; second year, um, injury so to speak). He’s trying to keep his sponsor on board after two disastrous years and unveiling the latest version of his new self all at once.

Do I believe Woods when he says he’s learned the joys of giving his son a bath in the last year? Maybe. But if it is so joyful and SO important to him why was he in Australia chasing appearance money a couple of weeks ago when he could have been playing a couple of miles from his house at Disney? Why is he going to Dubai early next year to chase more appearance money?

This is more of the same stuff we heard in February at The Tiger and Pony show; more of what he heard in the tightly controlled TV interviews in March and more of what we heard at The Augusta press conference in April. Here’s when I’ll start to think Woods has changed at all: when he stops chasing appearance fees all over the world; when he changes his schedule to support some of the events on his home tour that are struggling just because it is the right thing to do; when he tells PGA Tour officials he wants for them to arrange for him to sign autographs for at least 30 minutes (ala his good friend Phil Mickelson who does it most days for 45) after every round he plays; when he stops playing all his pro-am rounds at 6:30 in the morning so that more people—many of whom only have Wednesday tickets—can get a chance to watch him play.

Enough with the mea culpas. We’ve heard them all. Enough with being a new Tiger. DO something tangible. How about being interviewed by someone who won’t throw you one softball after another like the ESPN morning pitchmen?

I’m available. When I get that phone call THEN I’ll believe you’ve changed.

ITEM: Donovan McNabb has somehow figured out the Redskins two-minute offense. Wow, must be great coaching. Now, if he can just get into cardiovascular shape…

ITEM: Craig James, the lead pony (get it) among the ESPN BCS-apologists said this on Sunday night: “I know Boise State beat Fresno State 51-0 on Friday night but that’s what I expected. Fresno doesn’t have any really impressive wins on its resume.”

Really? Does Fresno have any other 51-0 losses on its resume? What was the Oregon-Cal score again? My God when does this garbage stop?

ITEM: Since the birth of my daughter—now almost one month ago—The New York Islanders have not won ONE game. That’s zero—13 straight losses during which they have picked up two points for overtime losses. They HAVE fired a coach during that period and banned a blogger.

Seriously. Chris Botta, who was once the Islanders PR guy, writes a very informative blog (yes, I read it) called Islanders Point Blank. Chris is hardly a killer. He has pointed out that a team that hasn’t won a playoff series since 1993 and has finished 26th-30th and 26th in the overall standings the last three years is, um, not all that good. He did point out what every sane Islanders fan (I know, all 14 of us) was thinking last summer when the team fired Billy Jaffe as its TV color guy apparently for being too negative: Billy Jaffe was anything but negative: he was honest but always looking for silver linings on the rare occasions when they appeared.

He was also very good. As opposed to Butch Goring, who was a GREAT Islander but is an awful color commentator. If the Islanders are down 6-1 and they get a shot on goal, Butch will tell you the Islanders are showing great life. I have no doubt he’s a great guy and the trade Bill Torrey made to bring him to New York in 1980 changed the history of the franchise. But he’s brutal.

Apparently general manager Garth Snow can’t stand ANY criticism at all. He stopped talking to Botta a year ago and the day after he fired Scott Gordon as coach and Botta pointed out that Gordon probably wasn’t the one responsible for the current state of the franchise, Botta was told his credentials were being lifted. Are you kidding? They ought to make Botta the GM, spend some money to hire people to work in the front office and make me the coach.

I mean could they be any worse if they did that? Jane awaits a win…

And Finally: On the subject of banned bloggers, the Miami Heat last week banned a very talented writer named Scott Raab who works for Esquire and blogs on their website. Raab had really gone after LeBron James, very profanely at times, and The Heat said he couldn’t come to games or practices anymore. Rabb, understandably upset, said (among other things): “If my name was Feinstein or Halberstam this would not happen.”

My name in the same sentence with David Halberstam in any way, shape or form? I love Scott Raab.


Tim said...

Ah, where would Thanksgiving week be without a Tiger mention...thanks.

I read about the girl at St Mary's on the Tribune site -- sad story, no matter the reasons for her suicide. Unfortunate that ND seems to be in the role they are in seems that they should have been upfront in this, even if they found no wrongdoing in their eyes.

And I can't believe you are already pushing the Islanders on what has to be a sweet Jane...don't do that to her. You must think in a decade that they'll turn it around, otherwise, pick another team to outfit her in.

Anonymous said...

John, I have a BIG problem with your statement that there are 14 sane Islander fans. There are exactly ZERO sane Islander fans. All of you are CRAZY. LOL

Rich Cain

Anonymous said...

How Bout them San Francisco Giants hey John. Only Tiger Woods get's billing on this blog. You hit the same talking point again.. well again and again.

How bout them Giants.. not a word about Baseball on this Blog. ESPN, Tiger, Navy.. dude your classically obsessed

Anonymous said...

John really you talk like someone who knows what they are talking about. When the truth of the matter you are an expert in absolutely nothing. Get off of Tiger, get a real job because what you writers like you talk about the average reader could figure those things out for themself. Tiger doesn't owe you or anyone else anything. In fact it seems that without him you wopuld not have much to to. Get a life.w

PT said...

From Michael Dvorak Prosecuting Attorney for the County of St. Joseph,

After Ms. Seeburg's death, the Notre Dame Security Police Department (NDSPD)
investigators assigned to the investigation of her sexual battery complaint contacted the St.
Joseph County Special Victims Unit (SVU) to advise them of the pending investigation
NDSPD has kept staff members of the SVU informed throughout the investigation.

This seems to directly contradict what both you and the trib wrote.

The university has a detailed policy readily available on their website concerning the handling of all sexual assaults. They have not hesitated to sit athletes when necessary, try googling randy kinder and robert farmer. The university does not hesitate to suspend or dismiss athletes found in violation of university policy (of which sexual assault would be one). Try googling Kyle McAlarney or the tight ends they tossed and suspended.

The university is also bound by privacy laws. One man's stonewalling may be another's complying with federal law. You say tomato I say tomato.

I think you are better than your opinion of Notre Dame.

Anonymous said...

He was actually referring to Diane...

Momus said...

Speaking of BCS apologists ...

Here's my prediction for how the season will play out. Auburn will lose to Alabama (Nick Saban will find a way to win that game), and Oregon will lose to either Arizona or Oregon State (Ducks peaked too early).

So, that leaves TCU vs Boise State for the BCS title game!

Yeah, right.

We're already starting to hear SEC apologists pushing for LSU to go to the championship game, if Auburn should lose, since everyone knows that the SEC is the biggest, baddest football conference around, and the conference feels that it is now their birthright to have one permanent representative in the BCS title game. (Just look at how the Tigers had to struggle against Ole Miss for proof about how tough the competition is in the SEC!!!)

What I'm really looking forward to is whether Michael Wilbon, now that he's a full-time employee of the World Wide Leader, will stop referring to the BCS as "the cartel." Of course, he no doubt will be outraged that LSU might get a chance to go to the BCS championship game without actually winning its league. But being the Big 10 guy he is, I wonder if he will now argue that Wisconsin should be in the title game against TCU (Boise State will get the "honor" of playing in the Rose Bowl), since the Badgers play a true varsity schedule, and not the JV competition that the Broncos go up against.

PT said...

From notre dame today. The tribune butchered the story through poor information from their sources. But yeah I'm sure the corrections will be comin soon.

dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

As I’m sure you have read, the Chicago Tribune has published a story about the tragic death of a Saint Mary’s College student, Lizzy Seeberg.

There is a law in place known as Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which prohibits universities from publicly discussing specific disciplinary cases. As a consequence, we cannot at this time publicly correct many of the false impressions created by the Tribune story, but suffice it to say as a general matter, any time that an allegation is made that a law or university policy may have been violated, we have a longstanding process in place to learn the facts and eliminate rumors, which leads to a determination of what action – if any – is appropriate to take. At the same time, our police department works closely and collaboratively with local law enforcement agencies, including the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office, which includes officials from the special victims unit.

Both the Prosecutor’s Office and the St. Joseph County Police have issued statements correcting some aspects of the Tribune story and affirming the valuable and professional work of our Notre Dame Security Police. You may wish to read today’s South Bend Tribune story for additional information.

I also would like to take this opportunity to reiterate Notre Dame’s commitment to address the issue of sexual violence in all of its forms. We actively seek to prevent sexual assault, address unacceptable and/or unlawful behavior when it occurs, provide resources and support for those who have been victimized, and ensure the safety and well-being of every student. For more information about campus resources, please visit

It is and always will be a central tenet of Notre Dame’s mission to learn the truth and to act in accordance with it. As you read stories about any matter that involves our careful and thorough process, I urge you not to arrive at any conclusions until all the facts are known. Only through a serious, informed and fair process can justice be served. Such a process will always be our focus.


Janet M. Botz
Vice President
Office of Public Affairs and Communications

Anonymous said...

As an LSU fan and Alum, I can assure you that we don't have any business in the title game.

On another topic, I could care less how many times John bashes Tiger. Everyone else in the world kisses up to him and makes excuses for his behavior. I like hearing the other side of it, even if it is from the same source over and over. Tiger doesn't care about anything other than money and the Majors record. That's his prerogative, but I will not take issue with someone calling him out when he pretends to do otherwise.

WES said...

"Only through a serious, informed and fair process can justice be served."

Yeah, and only by dragging our feet and citing FERPA when it serves our purposes can we keep this kid on the football team and give ourselves a chance to go to a minor bowl game.

Anonymous said...

We all would prefer a football playoff. 8 teams, invite Boise and TCU and see what happens. Unfortunately we don't have a playoff, so we need to find the best 2 teams using a terrible system. I can't see Boise making it through the SEC, Big 12, Big 10 or even the Pac 10 with less than 2 losses. Week in and week out they would be playing teams with at least equivalent talent leaving them with no margin for error. Not to mention how much they would be outweighed in the trenches by much more talented athletes than they play now. Over a season, that all takes its toll and would result in a couple losses. They barely beat Va Tech (which then lost to 1AA JMU) from a tier 2 conference.