Wednesday, November 4

To the victors go the spoils . . . and the losers get grounded.

Not ever having played football may preclude me from being able to criticize the decisions made by coaches or players on the field, but I was an editor-in-chief of The Red & Black when I was at UGA, so I think I'm more than qualified to say: This column by online editor Marc McAfee is one of the most presumptuous, self-satisfied, and just plain poorly argued columns I've ever read.

First, a little background: I take a lot of ribbing from my friends because I have a policy of refusing to go downtown after a Georgia loss.

I'm sorry, I just don't see any reason to celebrate when we get rolled by the Tide or chomped by the Gators. (Obviously I haven't been going out too much this season.) But then recently, I realized I looked pretty stupid for staying home and moping after a loss. Why?

Because I heard from several people that half the football team was in Flanagan's or Farenheit on Saturday night. And while I was angrily going to sleep, those players were apparently out spitting game as if they'd stomped the Gators instead of getting romped by them. Yeah, I know it probably wasn't the whole team, but there were some big names in those bars.

So because Mark is too ashamed to go out after a Georgia loss, the players should be too? Is that what I'm supposed to get from all this?

I know they're college students too. I know they deserve to have fun like I do. But I haven't been endowed with the responsibility that comes with signing those papers that make me a part of this storied program in need of an update. Those players chose not to live the life of an average student, and they need to start acting like it.

Georgia's football players (and DI-A football players in general) may have chosen "not to live the life of an average student," but I don't think they ever signed a piece of paper saying that their right to eat out or have girlfriends was contingent upon them winning football games. I'll be the first person to admit that SEC football players are not exactly like you or me, but isn't this kind of an arbitrarily applied standard? If I told Marc McAfee that he wouldn't be allowed to date or have a meal at a restaurant if he got a C on a term paper or missed a typo in a headline in the R&B's online edition, do you think he'd go for that?

The worst part of the whole thing is the way McAfee makes dramatic, sweeping assumptions about the character (or lack of same) of our entire roster -- based on having seen half the football team in Flanagan's on a certain Saturday night. No, scratch that: Having "heard from several people" that they were in Flanagan's on a certain Saturday night. Yeah, that's a terrific basis for writing off our entire team as a bunch of irresponsible slackers.

Toward the end of the column, McAfee says that Richt needs to "re-evaluate his recruiting." Guess what, Marc: If your attitude takes hold, he won't need to. No decent high-school player in his right mind would come to a school where he'd have his after-hours activities restricted based on the uninformed judgments of holier-than-thou newspaper columnists. We can wave bye-bye to all the good players as they head off to Florida and Tennessee, and then we can take the leftovers who don't mind being forced to live like the Amish when they have the temerity to lose to someone.

At that point we can probably knock the program down to Division III, and then maybe we can start new rivalries with Sewanee and Birmingham-Southern. Football Saturdays will be quite a bit less exciting then, I grant you. But dammit, at least those football players will know their place.


Jake said...

Love you, Doug, but you miss his point entirely. I didn't care for his article. However, he is questioning their desire to win. I get where he is coming from. He's not saying anyone should keep them from going out. His point is that if they cared intensely about winning, then when they do lose they would not want to go have fun after a horrendous loss. Say what you will about Tebow, but I will guarantee he doesn't go out and celebrate a loss.

Doug said...

I see your point, and maybe I was too harsh, but I know that frequently when I've screwed something up or had a horrible day whose horribleness I felt responsible for, I want to be out of my house and around as many people as possible. That's a natural human emotion, and for McAfee to assume that they should be above that just because they're football players is holding them to a higher standard for completely arbitrary reasons. Basically, he's questioning their character because they don't get upset exactly the same way he does after a loss -- it almost sounds like he's making the (completely unfounded) assumption that they don't get upset at all -- and I stand firm in my belief that that is a worthless dick move.

Scott said...

Dude, whatever bro. Resuming the rivalry with Sewanee would be awesome. Those rich fuckers are reknowned statewide for their ability to throw wild mountain parties. Football saturdays would be just as exciting.

ACG said...

The problem I have with McAfee's column is that "wanting to win" and "going out after a loss" aren't mutually exclusive. I'll be the first to admit that our guys don't seem to have that burning desire to win right now, and I'll acknowledge that he's received reports that they went out Saturday night, but correlation isn't causation.

It seems to me that McAfee is judging these guys based on motivations that he's assigned to them himself. Maybe he's right. Maybe, like Doug said, they were actually really bummed and didn't want to stay home alone all night. Maybe they actually didn't care about the loss and felt like partying. Maybe CMR told them to go out after the game and shake it off so that they could start fresh on Monday. Maybe they thought, "Hey, y'know what, we're football players, not pediatric oncologists, and it's not necessary to remain paralyzed with guilt until the end of the season."

If I have to, in my abounding wisdom, start assigning blame for our dismal season, I'd have to spread it around to the slack-ass players who seem unable to grasp the basic throw-catch-run of the game, the black-helmet-esque gimmicks intended to take the place of strategy, and the "even got done [with practice] a little early" attitude that makes the coaching staff look like they sincerely don't understand the weaknesses behind the Bulldogs' lousy season. "The players don't feel shitty enough to stay home and mope after a loss" receives a tiny blame-sprinkle at best.

Joe said...

I question anyone who has a "blame the players" mentality this year when the only thing keeping this team from having already sunk into total mediocrity is the individual effort and talent on the part of certain players - it sure as hell hasn't been the game plans or the coaches. Without AJ Green, this team is 1-6.

Also, I think the author of this piece is clearing wearing rose-colored glasses. Several members of the 2002 squad that we all worship (rightfully) went on to sell their 2002 SEC championship rings on eBay. That's a lot worse than partying to get over a brutal loss, in my opinion. They were human then, they're human now.

Prince Lightfoot said...

I've heard it after several other games this season, too. And it's not to hard to read between the lines of the players' tweets, either. I don't get the sense that a lot of those guys go home to a DVD or a PS3, and that certainly gives the impression that they're shrugging of the losses pretty quickly. Then again, who tweets about staying in for the night to sulk?

Taylor said...

Sounds to me like this kid really thinks the coach in Dazed and Confused had the right idea making the team sign the football commitment.

Barstool69 said...

I don't know if I'd go as far as to judge them for being out, but when I see football players partying at Bourbon Street like it's 1999 after a loss, Mark's thoughts do at least cross my mind.

Doug -

As a former R&B'er, what are your thoughts on the whole editing the letter to the editor with "[sic]" + online comments fiasco that occurred?

mhw said...

1969, UT linebacker Jack Reynolds was so mad after a 38-0 loss to Ole Miss, he came home after the game and sawed a car in half. It took him all night and he went through 13 hacksaw blades. Crazy? Yes, but it would be kind of refreshing to hear about a UGA player getting that pissed after a loss to UT or FL.

Hobnail_Boot said...

Not naming names, but I routinely saw 20 or so guys on the 2002 SEC Championship team out on the town after home games.

This kid's biggest problem is that nobody ever sat him down and taught him a lesson in perspective.

dawgwood said...

Look, Jon Beason (starting LB for the Carolina Panthers) has said that he does not go out very much (even to dinner) when they are losing and playing poorly.

Personally, I love the fact that some players feel so badly after a loss they don't want to go out and party. If all players felt that way we probably would not be having the problems we are now.

JasonC said...

Well, this is neither here nor there, but I saw some of the Buffalo Bills out at an adult entertainment establishment the night before Superbowl 28 in Atlanta and we know how that turned out.

But I heard that Richt read McAfee's article and has instituted mandatory remedial DMV classes starting at 11pm on Saturday nights that run until 3am. That way, he could kill two birds with one stone.

Will said...

Can't we just all agree that this season has driven nearly everyone to drink heavily?