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Do the Hustle!

By on April 4th, 2013 in Football 45 Comments »

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 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.

     Speaking of “hustle,” hurry-up continues to be the watch-word at Auburn practices. One has to remember that even now we’re not seeing the meat of practices on those youtube videos out there from the news outlets, but I like what I’m seeing thus far from this staff. They are not at all afraid to correct players, and require do-overs if things aren’t right. We’re seeing a LOT more of “this is how you do it,” and less of “you have to cover this area, any way you can.”

     The high-speed aspect of the thing is going to pay dividends on both sides of the ball. The Johnny Footballs of the league won’t be able to catch the defense asleep as much, after they’ve practiced this way for months. We kind of figured Auburn was pretty limited at linebacker this year due to lack of numbers, but Ellis Johnson seems to have a plan to have a full two-deep ready, with replacements also trained in the wings. And if linebacker is really two-deep this year, the line and secondary certainly are! Auburn seems to have enough able defenders on the squad to stay rested, even if the other team is trying to play fast!

     If there’s anything to be concerned about, it’s that none of the junior college transfers seem to be jumping out. General consensus is that the early-enrolled JUCOs were “signed to play, not sit.” Tommy Tuberville famously once said, “they are JUCO transfers for a reason.” He believed that a guy went to junior college either because he had difficulty with the academic side, or that he was lazy. Tuberville believed that those with academic issues had to spend so much time studying that they’d be hard-pressed to stay in college football playing-shape. In one of the early hurry-up offensive drills, running back Cameron Artis-Payne was singled out for saving everyone a bunch of up-downs by snagging a tipped, errant snap, and keeping the play going.

     While Auburn hardly has issued a cast in stone depth chart, reporters are tracking who’s working with the first and second units. Your biggest surprise here is on the offensive line. Redshirt freshman Jordan Diamond seems to be holding on the starting left guard spot, the one vacated at the end of last season by John Sullen. That’s no small accomplishment on a unit loaded with unproven talent. Diamond is as talented as anyone on the line, it’s said, and he’s relentless.

     Another pleasant surprise has been Justin Garrett, at the star position. Before practice began, it was believed that Auburn really didn’t have a prototypical player for this Ellis Johnson hybrid position. Instead, Garrett has remained atop the pecking order. Garrett always struck me as a very fast linebacker, but one with durability issues. No way he’d survive the Roof/van Gorder marching orders to bang against the run for 70-80 plays per game. This way, Garrett gets to use his speed, and the unpredictability of the defense to make an impact. And he sure has, thus far!

     Here’s hoping these Tigers keep “hustling.” The coaches will be on the spot Saturday, when Auburn runs their first scrimmage of the spring. I think we’ll really start seeing the starting lineup settle in, after that. I don’t think we’ll get to see a lot of it on the videos, but Malzhan’s definitely been a lot more forthright and accommodating to the media folk than his predecessor, thus far. I don’t think Chizik ever got that the Auburn fans don’t want to hear the same robot-speech every week after practice. That didn’t play well at all during a 3-9 season, and may have been the single biggest factor in the pressure on the administration to get rid of Chizik.

     War Eagle, folks! We’ve grown very accustomed to shaking off our critics, and I assure you no one is jumping off bridges in light of the latest scandal-rag accusations on the web. It’s really pretty incredible what this institution has been put through the past few years in that regard. It all quieted down last fall when we were losing, but it’s now back again. Think the haters are worried? Looks like…


  1. mvhcpa says:

    Thanks for the open clarification on the “story”–I was very worried about the accusations, since usually when someone is quoted it means they actually said what appeared in the story. Now I see it’s just another hack job on a Southern school.

    However, it does sound like something happened; I just hope the reality is no worse than and the result is the same as menswear-gate over in T-Town.

    Michael Val
    (who is going to start calling himself a Professional Journalist soon, since he too writes on the Internet)

  2. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    I always cringe when i see something like this. But when i started reading the article i noticed it was all rhetoric with no facts. Only accusations. And from criminals. First place i went was ESPN. When i saw it wasn’t there i knew it was more auburn hate mail.

    Then i realized where i saw the article: facebook. I promptly dropped my like status of saturday down south.


    That was easy.


  3. DBAU81 says:

    The timing of this story, its primary source (a former player about to go on trial for armed robbery) and its author (a discredited journalist who has clashed with the power structure at AU since her days as a writer for the Plainsman) all raise a lot of red flags, especially considering that some of the other named sources are now backing away from their alleged comments. The whole thing seems agenda-driven by the McNeil family and a writer with an axe to grind. It will likely take a while for this story to play out, since there will be many who will readily embrace it after the Cam Newton saga. But my guess is that this story will likely go the same route as “the HBO Four” – a story that, by the way, was reported by journalists with a lot more credibility than this one.

  4. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    Another loser has been journalist with an ax to grind. Another made up story with enough truth in it to make some believe the entirety. Another waste of my time. All from the most influential website in all of sports (SARCASM at it’s finest)

    I have held onto hope that Mike McNeil is innocent. He claims he is, and has refused plea bargains. As for the rest of that piece, nothing to see here….

    • AuburnMisfit AuburnMisfit says:

      And by a former Auburn grad at that. Makes no sense to burn your bridges like this. If nothing comes of this story, she will be remembered by the Auburn faithful and not in a good way.

  5. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    I for one was quite surprised to see she was an AU alumni. Strange…wonder who pissed her off while she was attending AU. Definitely seems to be grinding the ole ax. Does anyone but me think she bears a resemblance to a young Hillary Clinton.

    • KoolBell KoolBell says:

      It’s the hair, and extra chin. I thought the same thing.

      I’m not making fun of her, because I have to look at that weirdo in the mirror, and he’s strange looking. You know what I mean?

  6. bornatiger says:

    Look there is no clout to this story first the grade changes I would think that a year long investagation with the help of the FBI would notice f’s and d’s sudenly changed to c and b wold be noticed ten the play to play well u had the HBO 4 nothen came of that why this but I am tierd of the fact that it seems every 6 months or so ther is someone trying to bring doun auburn no less by a so called auburn girl or guy just readyfor some football wde

  7. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    This lady has been hurt in her past… She’s using the pen as some sort of therapy. Sad.

  8. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    I am so sick of this crap. When will AU stand up for itself? Please can we have some leadership in the Athletic Dept. It will be never ending since we never comment. It is here for years to come. We have now become an easy target as everyone thinks we are guilty with Cam and hope one day for us to pay. So all they have to do is put out something/anything about AU cheating and everyone believes it and says they’ll never get caught. PLEASE SOMEONE GIVE US SOME LEADERSHIP!!!!!!!

    • AuburnMisfit AuburnMisfit says:

      Why draw attention to this story by giving it comment? Let it die on the vine until the NCAA comes with real accusations.

      • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

        I have to agree. We will never dissuede the doubters and the haters, that gobble this crap up. And there really isn’t anything you can do to protect your image when it comes to slander, unless you can PROVE the intent. While it sucks that we have to endure this abuse, its getting to the “Crying Wolf” stage where people are going to realize its agenda driven by Alabama, since its always Auburn and never proven. It would be great to protest our innocence to the heavens but nobody is going to buy it…..or care. People are going to believe what they want to believe…including us.

  9. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    I’m starting to think the “journalists” will never leave AU alone. Maybe AU should take the fight to them and start suing these media outlets for defamation of character. AU already survived an intense investigation so I’m not too worried about new crap coming up.

  10. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    At least Finebaum isn’t on the air to let his legions of morons comment on the “story”.

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      He’s been on ESPN running his mouth to Bob Ley. ESPN is every bit as bad as Finebaum’s show.

  11. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:




    That is what this story is about….um, end of story.

    As long as it pays off, as it looks like it will, and deceit and lying generate more Tastycakes for “Twinky” Roberts, expect more of the same.
    God, what happened to our country?

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      I don’t understand it Colonel. Honor and integrity have taken a back seat to money, ratings, and web site hits, but if you challenged any of the offenders they would claim to members of the upright citizens brigade.

  12. audude audude says:

    I don’t know if she actually spoke to these players and ex-players in person or by phone and the story doesn’t seem to get to that point. People can be misquoted or misunderstood on the phone easier than in person. You can also change what has been said if you choose. Motivation?

    It reads completely an avenue for McNiel’s family to vent. I agree with KoolBell and hope he is innocent. But there is a certain air of desperation in the entire story.

    Col you hit the nail on the head…”The report was written by’s founder and CEO Selena Roberts, a former New York Times columnist, senior writer for Sports Illustrated and Auburn graduate”

    Motivation = $

  13. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    I’m sick and tired of this garbage. It’s time to start firing back.

    • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

      I agree. Lets start off with “Liar Liar Pants on Fire!!” then “We’re rubber, you’re glue, your lies bounce off me and stick to you!!” And end with “YOU LYING PIECE OF SACK OF ‘ISH, SCUMBAG, BIYATCH!!!” That should show her.

      Seriously, what can you do? Like I said above, you can’t PROVE she has malicious intent and that real, quantifiable damages have been PROVEN to harm the university. All that this does is hurt our reputation and that kind of damage isn’t quantifiable. We can sue until we are blue in the pocket book, but the only people that will be getting anything out of it are the lawyers. Would it be a good show? Yes, but it would do more harm than good and would get the rest of the haters in the media to come to her defense. Its a no-win scenario at best.

      • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

        I don’t see how anyone in their right mind could construe her intent to be anything but malicious. Quantifiable damages? If this thing grows legs and gets strung out, look for recruiting to suffer. Look for current player morale to plummet, game attendance to suffer, etc. I would say that’s quantifiable.

        • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

          It may be “quantifiable” to us in terms of rep/recruiting/attendance, but it has to be DIRECTLY attributable to her slander. So, 1st you would have to PROVE she is lying….then PROVE, she had malitious intent to harm the university with the lie….then you would have to PROVE that people dropped their season tickets or didn’t buy merchandise because of her slander. Its almost impossible, thats why you don’t see many cases brought up for liable and slander. In a country with freedom of speech and freedom of the press, its very hard to prosecute. I’m not saying its right, its just not easy to punish someone for. If we ever really had the goods on Selena, she could always just retract what she said and admit she “may” have quoted something out of context….and there goes your case. The news media does this all the time, editing people out of context to fit the agenda of the story they are trying to push, most recently in the Trayvon Martin coverage by NBC, among others. When they get called on it, they say they edited footage due to time constraints. They’re lying of course, but you would have to prove it.

          • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

            All it will take is one recruit to be quoted saying the he stopped considering Auburn because of the allegations.
            At any rate, something has to be done. These ridiculous blogs and lies are not just going to go away just because we try to ignore them. We’ve been trying to ignore them for what…..15 years going all the way back to Bowden and his sour grapes rants. There must be some very tangible deterrent otherwise we wind up in the same sinking ship as the Republican Party. For whatever reason, ESPN, Finebaum, The NYT, etc. have wanted Auburn crucified for years.

    • buddy Ro shaka4244 says:

      I like the attitude. AU fans shouldn’t have to put up with this. I would support a more offensive stance toward this BS… and that starts with an AD that growls & snarls instead of chirping.

  14. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    Just read that even Dre Kirkpatrick is saying this is a bunch of crock. If a bammer is defending AU then this will absolutely go nowhere. This poor girl just killed whatever small ammount of credibility she had remaining after the Duke Lacrosse fiasco.

    • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

      I don’t think she has any credibility, or else she’d have a job…not her own blog.


      • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

        Unfortunately Colonel ESPN is doing their best to conjure credibility for her.

        • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

          And so is SBNation…so I think that you have to consider the sources who are trying to conjure this into something important. ESPN got burned badly by CamGate. And honestly, with the NCAA poking around so much looking for ANYTHING regarding the Cam Newton situation, I truly think that some of these violations would have been uncovered.

          IMO, it’s a nonstarter and will hit a couple of news cycles until tape of another basketball coach bullying his/her players hits YouTube.

          It’s annoying, but I hope all of us have tougher skin after CamGate. Once the ball is snapped for kick off on August 31, this will all seem like a distant memory.

          • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

            I hope you are right but at this point I have zero faith and even less optimism.

      • mikeautiger says:

        Joe shad is a possums pecker! He is a sleaze bag. Every time I see him on TV to spread some more lies and destruction I turn the channel.

  15. spanky says:

    When it rains, it pours. Now ESPN reporting of rampant spice use from 2010 and 2011 team as well. I hope Malzahn can clean the program up. Whether true or false, all of these stories are really hurting our image.

  16. BeachTiger BeachTiger says:

    I don’t believe one d*#n word of it!
    And right on TigerOTM.

    Acid, thanks for the up-date on spring practice!
    Keep the faith everyone!

  17. mikeautiger says:

    Notice the one common factor in all the bad stories started about Auburn over the years, the New York Times. What do they have against Auburn? And this reporter that was involved in Duke story, need I say anymore.

    Heard this half witt reporter talk today on WJOX and it only took a few minutes to see she was a liar when asked about if she taped her conversations, she said that is no big deal the bad atmosphere is what needs the attention at Auburn. What truthful person would say that, they would whip out the tape and play the evidence and she did not do that and only wanted to slander Auburn. She got her attention and was able to spread her destructive lies. We should just answer the questions quietly with the facts from the NCAA investigation and ignore her and let her hand herself on her lies.

  18. 2005Alum says:

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    As infuriating as this article has made me We need to look at the bigger picture. More importantly the media and their relationship with the public. News is no longer objective, but a lucrative business based on sales, ratings, and website hits. Because of this writers focus on heros and villains, to make a college like Auburn or Miami a villain sells and every marketing executive knows it. Auburn, my alma matter is a major university with no major news publication backing or a State named school thus a dartboard for false allegations and stories that grab the attention of the pubic with little blowback. People naturally believe the first accusation and defending it and winning is still does not clear your name of the charges. Look no further than the Mitt Romney accusations of tax fraud in the past election. Thus Auburn cannot comment or they are on the defensive, and they have no national outlet to get their side of the story to the public.

    After all the allegations Auburn is in a no win situation. The best thing we can do for our image is become the most transparent major NCAA institution and advocate much needed changes in the facade that is major collegiate athletics.

    Sorry for the length or any grammatical errors as I typed this on my iPad.

    War Eagle

    Class of 2005

  19. mikeautiger says:

    I think The Gus Bus has some people worried that Auburn will win the National Championship the next couple of years and cannot let that happen because no one but the ESPN picks, darlings, and chosen ones are suppose to win. Power, money and control are all they are interested in, follow the money and you will find out who is behind all this BS.

  20. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……It may be hard to believe, but intellectually I’m in the “ignore this crap” crowd. However, I got home very late from work last night, read that stuff, and basically just WENT OFF on the keyboard. Had to go back and really tune it down before I hit the “publish” button! I’ll try to ignore the haters more in the future.

    …..”Spice” use is one of those “yeah, and?” deals for me. I don’t think it was illegal, or even tested for back during those times. Ill-advised and dangerous? Sure. I did all sorts of ill-advised and dangerous things at that age!

    …..Heck, I might do a dangerous thing or two even now. Right now I’m eating a salad made from bagged “power greens” from Walmart! It’s got stuff like chard, kale and bok choy in it, and wow is it good! Did try to wash it first, though.

    • Todd92 Todd92 says:

      Acid…. Living on the edge! Next you’re going to tell me you like the pink goo in McDonalds burgers!

    • mikeautiger says:

      I’m way out there too I do not even worry about washing those greens, just straight to the bowl for me! Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead!

      I would like to know what Auburn has done to get the repeated attacks from media over the years. No respect in ’83, we had the gall to tie Syracuse when they were suppose to bust our chops and be the media darlings and win the NC and we busted that up, just what is it. Oklahoma won NC on probation like us but they are still picked to be media darlings every year. Why are we attacked time after time. Is it because we dare to be one of the second tear state schools that dare to buck the state schools and win, if remember correctly we are the most winningest second tear state school in the country and number 14 winning school in the country, just what is it. Is it the bamers and little Nicky Satan, or is it the money power moguls that get their little darling schools beat and do not win the NC that they predict and try to choose through the media.

      Just what and where is all this coming from over and over. Auburn, good school, good people, and mostly good values and sports. Let them attack us the truth will out and Auburn will be seen as in the right against these attackers. It will only bolster our desire to win and we will, legally. I just wish I could find out who the devil is behind all the attacts, lurking in the shadows like the devil so good can defeat evil one more time and kick the devils but!

      • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

        …..Pink goo in McDonald’s hamburgers? Haven’t seen that in many years! The rare times I’ve had one in the past two decades it’s been cooked to death, dry and rubbery. I’m kind of wary of rare hamburgers or chicken, but I cook steaks, roasts, pork loins, etc. rare to medium rare all the time.

  21. buddy Ro shaka4244 says:

    this media blitz is exhausting and frustrating.

    not sure where my original post went, but it seems to have disappeared.

    i attempted to comment not on the crap story, but on the AU Dline… and why all of a sudden we feel we’re so deep at Dline. If I recall correct, we headed into 2012 with few confidences, but one of them was the AU Dline.

    This Dline group was turrible last year. DE Dee Ford and DT Angelo Blackson are the guys that could lead 2013 the most… and they always seem to be dinged up. What proven 2-deep do we have at DL?

  22. sparkey sparkey says:

    This woman needs to get laid. She didn’t get any at Auburn so she’s angry about it.

  23. sparkey sparkey says:

    There is something we could do about it. We could attack the school to the West of us and make them deal with the same stuff about every week.