The face of the latest round of garbage leveled at Auburn.
War Eagle, everybody. We’re nearly midway through spring drills, but the Auburn news being reported nationally isn’t about this year’s football team. Instead, much-discredited “journalist” Selena Roberts has penned another scathing pile of steaming manure, and this time the target is more or less all of Auburn.
I’m not going to go into a huge run-down over everything this woman alleges, but you can get the general gist here. It’s another piece alleging football pay for play, grade fixing, ignored drug tests and blatant racism by former coach Gene Chizik. It also alleges that Auburn University and the Auburn City Police Department were in cahoots to punish Mike McNeil and the three other players arrested for armed robbery for… some reason. Roberts’ logic is that Chizik wanted to “send McNeil a message,” but the piece fails to communicate what that is. In addition, a half dozen or so former Tiger football players are quoted in this “report.” The whole report can be found here, but I’d think twice before gracing that site with a lot of hits.
What you need to know about Ms. Roberts is this: She has a history of penning scathing accusations of sports institutions and athletes. She has lost jobs with Sports Illustrated and the New York Times, and is now writing for some obscure web outfit called “roopstigo.” One example of her work is the “Duke Lacrosse rape scandal” of about seven years ago. She did her best to demonize those players, twisting some facts to fit her agenda, and seemingly outright making many more up.
In the end of course, the “scandal” fell apart. The victim admitted making the whole thing up, and a rogue, politically motivated prosecutor pursued the case far beyond any reasonable standard of evidence. Even when faced with a scenario that clearly was not true, here is what Ms. Roberts fired back with:
“Don’t mess with Duke, though. To shine a light on its integrity has been treated by the irrational mighty as a threat to white privilege….lay off the lacrosse pipeline to Wall Street, excuse the khaki-pants crowd of SAT wonder kids.”
The New York Times sports editor at the time, Tom Jolly said that he very much regretted the paper’s coverage of that story. You can read about the fallout here, here, and here. I’m not really sure how anyone’s supposed to take Ms. Roberts seriously after all of that, but ESPN has seen fit today to run a story on it. And of course it’s all over al.com. Even those guys are skeptical, though.
It’s important to note that Auburn players “quoted” in the story (Neiko Thorpe, Darren Bates, and Mike Blanc) have come out in force, and either said that they were misquoted, or denied the quotes altogether.
Supposedly, Gene Chizik hated dreadlocks and tattoos, and persecuted players because of that. I ask this question: has Auburn football ever had more dreads and tats than we’ve seen the past four years? Curious. Chizik was also accused of bad-mouthing his players to NFL scouts, hurting their draft chances. How likely is that? How many times did we EVER see Chizik bad-mouth ANY player, to anyone? (“We had a great week of practice, and things of that nature…”) Coaches like to brag to recruits about how many players they’ve sent to the NFL, not how many they’ve sandbagged!
Wow. This is why I try to avoid “rant-mode.” I can’t see much coming out of this “article,” but I sure was steamed about it! Now, on to actual football.