1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Baylor, Mississippi State and the new certitude

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Alma, Jun 3, 2016.

  1. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    So this week, Mississippi State announced that a 5-star recruit - who was captured on video hitting a woman during what appears to be a family street - would serve a one-game suspension for said infraction.

    The MSU AD then explained the decision to the media, which was predictably unpleased.

    In the wake of the Baylor stuff, pieces like this from SI and this from ESPN quickly appeared. Both strongly suggest a stronger punishment was necessary to send a message.

    From SI:

    Stricklin’s other choice was to take a stand and tell everyone on campus that men punching women is unacceptable. He could have decided Simmons wasn’t welcome. Stricklin said he didn’t want to do that because he didn’t believe five seconds of an 18-year-old’s life should preclude him from attending the college he chose.

    From ESPN:

    Instead, Stricklin, coach Dan Mullen and the entire Mississippi State administration have taken on a known risk and sent a dangerous message to the student body and the other players on the team. We know it. They know it. They are OK with that.

    It should not be this hard for people with the authority to do the right thing, to actually do the right thing.

    As I read Twitter last week and this week on Baylor, I saw a surprising amount of certitude on what each school should do and shouldn't have done. In the Baylor case, it was interesting: Alleged sexual assaults morphed into actual ones, "reported" assaults became assaults pursued at a criminal level - which may or may not be case. And whatever Art Briles or Ken Starr's rationale or explanations were, they were dismissed or blown up immediately as lies and old guy boobery.

    In the Mississippi State case, a bunch of sportswriters suddenly become better experts on how to handle a given situation than, as the ESPN piece suggests, the AD, the coach, the school president, the Title IX coordinator and the dean of students combined.

    Since public shaming is a new, quite effective tool of forcing organizations to act in a certain way, what will be the responsibility of news organizations in vetting the worldviews of their writers, to ensure they're sufficiently qualified and sufficiently balanced to apply moral pressure in situations like these?

    And when standard media so easily takes one side - at least Staples attempts to qualify some of his thinking - doesn't it create a giant vacuum for the Clay Travis and Jason Whitlocks of the world to enter in?

    I've been thinking more and more about this in the wake of Trump's rise. I think at least part of his stunning (IMO ludicrous) ascent relates back to many Americans turning on the news and feeling like the world's media had just settled on one side, they settle on it quickly, and if you're waiting on the whole story, you're waiting too long.

    Staples asked a question of the Mississippi State AD that, if you really think about it, is either a grandstanding act (which is my take) or so beside the point that merits little to no response. Here's the question:

    "What message are you really sending when a man repeatedly punching a woman on the ground gets the same penalty as a targeting call? What kind of message are you sending? This is all you get? This is not that big of a deal?"

    Stricklin's initial response is to smile, because, if we're honest, the question is ludicrous in comparing two things that have nothing to do with each other - morally speaking, it's dubious whether targeting should merit a one-game suspension and it's a procedural event that the NCAA agrees upon - and then gives just about the most graceful answer possible:

    "That's an interesting way to put it. That's not how we compared it."

    I watched the whole 15-minute press conference with Stricklin, I'll have to say: I'm a lot more impressed with him than I am the journalists in that room, even if my impulse is to disagree with some of his assertions.
    Mr. Mediocre likes this.
  2. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Oklahoma suspended Joe Mixon for a year for doing about the same thing Simmons did, and a lot of people still think Mixon got off light.

    Why wouldn't Mississippi State at least do that much? The guy's a freshman who they could just redshirt anyway.

    Seems like there's very little upside to a one-game suspension in this case.
  3. Old Time Hockey

    Old Time Hockey Active Member

    I'm not sure the certitude is all that new. Columnists have been doing it forever; it's part of the job.

    What's new is the number of outlets doing it — and, given the nature of the business, the number of people displaying it who don't have a ton of experience to temper their opinion.
    Mr. Sunshine likes this.
  4. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Upside...like, moral upside? PR upside? What?

    I don't think college campuses are less safe now than they were 20 years ago, that's for damn sure. They're perhaps as safe as they have ever been.
  5. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    What bothers me is when players are held out or suspended for vague "violations of team rules" which could range anywhere from being late to a study hall or skipping a class to failing a drug test or possible criminal behavior being handled "internally."
  6. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Both. There's certainly a football upside to having him back for Week 2.
  7. MeanGreenATO

    MeanGreenATO Active Member

    Keep in mind Mixon received a one-year ban for knocking a woman out, despite the lack of public video of the incident. So, a 5-star recruit misses one game against South Alabama and the reporters who have the ability to question Stricklin about the decision are supposed to take what he says at face value? The questions asked where the questions the general public wanted to ask Stricklin, so I don't see much of a problem with that. Also, almost every reporter at the SEC Meetings gave Stricklin credit for going out of his way for walking into the media room for an impromptu presser. Not many ADs would have done that.
  8. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    At the risk of seeming obtuse...as opposed to what?

    Freshmen DLs don't win SEC titles; even Jadeveon Clowney needed a year. JJ Watt needed 2 or 3. Signing day five-star victories don't mean a whole lot six months later on the football field. It might in 2-3 years, but the one year impact of this kid, when the team has to replace the best QB in school history? Not that big.

    I'm not saying I agree with Stricklin, Mullen, et al, but, yeah, I think they're doing this for more or less the reasons they claim.
  9. studthug12

    studthug12 Active Member

    Now your just being acute.

    What a joke it all is. One game for smacking around anyone is ridiculous regardless of sex.
  10. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page