22 August 2008
"It's no big deal," Saban said. "I don't think that's something that we want to do. That's why we close practice -- so that the other team can't see us. We got on the Internet to see if we could see any of Clemson's plays from their scrimmage and didn't see any. That's not what people usually do when you're getting ready to play a game, to advertise on TV or the Internet. I'm not pleased about it, but it's something that can be corrected and it won't happen again. I don't think the person that did it, did it intentionally."Basically, the rationale here is, well, they're not showing their hand, we shouldn't show ours. When I was younger, I might have said "BFD" - big ... err... "freaking" deal. Seriously, that's something to be up in arms about. Then, the Wiz goes on to tell the Gentry Estes urban legend:
Saban's influence reaches far beyond Tuscaloosa. In April, Mobile Press-Register reporter Gentry Estes wrote a blog post that was critical of the coach's closing of practices. Two days later, the post was deleted by the newspaper with no explanation. Saban is suspected to have complained about the post.Ironically, the post linked is one where Gentry Estes says flatly that:
However, additional things I did not intend were gleaned from this blog. Never did I mean to insinuate that I had any knowledge of Alabama officials reworking statistics or being otherwise dishonest. The blog is an informal format to express thoughts and ideas in the course of covering Alabama athletics. It is not the same as a story that runs in the newspaper, which this blog did not. Two days later, after feeling compelled to respond to numerous comments from readers, the blog was threatening to become a time-consuming distraction to my work as Alabama beat writer for the Press-Register. This was a battle I began to feel would do no good for my newspaper or myself. I wish to be known for objectivity and reporting skills rather than a mere blog that made myself the story. This was heading in an opposite direction from those goals. So I deleted the post. Never at any time did anyone from the University of Alabama request or suggest that I remove the blog entry.Who "suspects" Saban? The Wiz? With all his absolute knowledge of the Crimson Tide football program??? Here's the short answer. Internet conspiracy theorists suspect Saban. This is why bloggers have the reputation as people who live in their mothers' basements and will write anything on the internet. And then the Wiz takes aim at the fall camp motivational speakers. This fall, Saban had numerous speakers for the team as camp commenced. No, not that guy. Those speakers included Lisa LeMaster (a media relations advisor), Gene Washington (the NFL director of football operations), Michael Francese (an organized crime and gambling expert), and Kevin Elko (who "preaches nerves of steel"). However, the Wiz takes dead aim at the Pacific Institute:
As for the brainwashing exercises, the Pacific Institute was paid $39,000 to conduct the development classes. Here is one affirmation given to players regarding classwork: "I attend all classes with an open mind and with a positive attitude to learn. I'm excited to learn something new every day! My education is important to me. I'm committed to seizing the opportunities that have been given to me. I maintain a 3.5 GPA. I take the time to study, realizing that it is the reiteration that helps me to assimilate what it is I’m learning."It does sound silly, I'll agree. I'm sure that the Wiz has taken all the coaches who've used the Pacific Institute to task. Guys like Tyrone Willingham and Pete Carroll. Carroll has never really had a lot of success. And Saban was introduced to the Pacific Institute by Trevor Moawad, director of mental conditioning at the prestigious IMG Academies. Sports Illustrated called the Academies "the country's most comprehensive playground for athletes in training." The instructors for the class? Two former NFL players who grew up in south-central Los Angeles. I'm sure they had nothing productive to share save "brainwashing". We could excuse it and say that the Wiz never read those things about the speakers... except he links them in his column! I know it's easy to take shots at "the most powerful coach in sports", but let's do it on the level. Sometimes Saban deserves heat. Sometimes he needs to be taken to task for secrecy and lecturing reporters. Occasionally, he'll say something a bit outrageous and needs to be called on it. This isn't one of those times. It's one of the times where we invent a story to ease a run-up to kickoff next week. It's all over the place - probably this note included. But there's just no need for the further denigration of bloggers as aimless, mindless tools who will say anything. And this is a good example of that bad subsection of the internet.
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