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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bulldogs Blog: Now 110% More Scandalous!

I wanted to make sure we're all clear on the hubbub surrounding the Zach Mettenberger support page on Facebook.

First off, I'll take a hit on this one to some extent. My initial thought was that it was interesting to see teammates making a public gesture of support for Mettenberger, and I posted a link to it accordingly. I did not view it initially as any sort of divide in the locker room, but rather as an honest show of support for a friend and former teammate.

What I should have done, however, was contact those players listed as the administrators of the page in order to get more background that what the Facebook page provided. I didn't do that, and as a result, a number of readers read between the lines and assumed the page was meant as a critique of Mark Richt's decision. (In my defense, contacting players during the offseason is a difficult task, and not necessarily encouraged by the school.)

I have since talked with one of the players associated with the page, and he reports that the page was created by a UGA student not affiliated with the football team, and that the players listed were not informed they would be considered "administrators." The player assured me there is no ill will directed at the coaches and no divide within the locker room.

And, as a point of emphasis, I should also remind readers that nowhere on the Facebook page did anyone suggest otherwise. It simply said that Mettenberger "would be missed." Honestly, if I were a UGA fan, I'd be more concerned if most of the locker room wasn't going to miss their teammate.

Still, I offer my apologies for not confirming the details first, but I assure you, I had no idea this would become something so controversial.

Of course, the fallout was more than I expected, and brought out some of the finest of critiques. Several of the comments I had to delete because they bordered on libel, which I don't want affiliated with the blog in any form.

But others just wanted to offer criticism, fair or otherwise...

Dr. Merkwurdigliebe writes: David, why would you post this tabloid story with a serious cautionary note and then ask us what we're going to do? This is tease "journalism" at its finest. You're much better than this crud.

C writes: I feel like I'm reading comments to a blog entry posted by a "journalist" from the AJC.

"Will you be joining?", posted with almost the entire content of the Facebook page, and the "supporters" of the page? Not to mention a direct link to the page in the first paragraph of the post here. B/t/w/ the number of members of the page has multiplied since the post of a link to the page on this site.

Given that what really happened is now a matter of blogoshpere speculation, and given the lack of a police report, or a "he said/ he said" between the ex Q.B. and the head coach, I can only imagine how this entire dialogue will make a bad matter worse, most likely for the privacy of Zach and his family.

Nice work. I'll have to start reading the AJC again (yikes!).

Anonymous writes: This is trash bro, take this blog post down, are you that bored and cant find anything else to write about? Ive always regarded you as a good writer and journalist but you just stirred the pot and probably are getting some guys who were supporting their friend in some S%&#!!! Come on man do whats best for UGA, dont get this into something its NOT. Just do us all a favor, take it down and write a blog about "Prayers for Montez" or something.

Anonymous writes: As far as I'm concerned, that is a few more scholarships we can open up that LeMay can use in his recruiting efforts of fellow blue-chippers. Until actual players that see the field consistently get named, this whole "divide the team" is a moot point.

Anonymous writes: This is the saddest blog post I have ever seen from you. You have the nerve to insinuate that people who disapprove of the group aren't fans; and you admonish people for stirring the pot with mention of the allegations against Mettenberger when you yourself have done nothing constructive in this post. Not only did Mettenberger participate in some very unsavory actions while in Remerton, but he also LIED to coach Richt about the whole thing.

David: I considered going through these and responding, but what's the point? If the last two years haven't been enough to keep you from jumping to conclusions about my motivations for posting one story that you didn't like, I'll happily let you to cruise over to any number of other excellent resources for Georgia sports information.

But I think most of the disagreements here stem from one major problem: People assumed they knew the motivations of the people who started this Facebook page, and they blamed them for things that weren't written anywhere on the page. Similarly, readers seem upset with me for my motivations in posting the link without having the slightest idea what my motivations were, and they're critiquing words I never wrote.

I did not mention a word about a divide in the team. I did not speculate as to anything Mettenberger may have done, nor did I defend any of his potential actions. And I did not criticize the players who were involved -- either as creators, administrators or fans of the page -- for anything they did.

I simply posted a story about players supporting a former teammate and asked what the readers thought.

(I'm also amused that my journalistic integrity is called into question by people who have no problem stating rumors as facts. Perhaps if I'd done more of that, my post would have been "constructive.")

Of course, there's also the other side of the comment venom, too.

Anonymous writes: The group was made to support Mettenberger, not to try and divide the team. All of ya'll who think the group is trying to say something bad about CMR or the TEAM are stupid, don't know a thing about anything going on with the team and need to not be nosy about a group created by his friends that has nothing to do with you or anyone else except to support his future career.

David: I don't know who this anonymous poster is -- perhaps a player, perhaps a friend of Mettenberger or perhaps just another fan who isn't so quick to jump to conclusions. But the explanation given in this comment is exactly how I interpreted the Facebook page, which is why I wrote about it in the first place. Whether or not it was the proper forum for players to voice their support for their former teammate is a topic up for debate (which is why I asked what you thought in the post) but I never questioned their rationale for supporting him.

I'm not trying to tell anyone how to feel about Mettenberger or his dismissal. If you want to be angry at him for screwing up, you're well within your rights. And if you think that players supporting him on a Facebook page was in poor taste, you're free to do so. I can't say I disagree.

But when you make comments speculating about criminal acts of a former player or vocalize a desire to see players kicked off a team for supporting their friend, is it any wonder that the divide between the team and the fans continues to grow? Is it surprising to hear the comments about fans not having "been in the arena" when some of them are so quick to judge players and coaches for things like this? And most of all, when fans post damaging speculation about Mettenberger on message boards, is it surprising that his friends want to stick up for him?

31 comments:

heyberto said...

Interesting... I never viewed it as an indication of division... I saw it exactly as you described it above, David. Maybe I'm just too much of an optimist. Again, I hope he gets things worked out personally.

Quentin said...

I agree David. I have always thought we have had pretty passionate fans at UGA, but the last couple of years, listening to call in shows and reading the comments have led me to realize the fanbase in general is not overly bright. Passionate yes, intelligent...not so much.
1. Mettenberger (aside fro resisting arrest from what we KNOW) did nothing that most everyone else has, he just happens to be under a microscope and underage drinking is a bigger deal these days.
2. I would hate to have such fair weather friends that they would abandon me at my time of crisis, tar and feather those who realize I made a mistake and otherwise crucify me in general. Get a life.

UGA (players, coaches and school) deserves a better fanbase than what we have.

SIC 'EM said...

David,

I read the post, considered the meaning behind the page and moved on without leaving a comment. I didn't view the post as anything other than what it was.....information. I can't see where you did anything wrong. I do, however, respect your integrity for taking responsibility whatever you think you done wrong.

I have been reading this blog since day one and you have never been anything other than professional, thoughtful and courteous.

The Bulldog Nation is lucky to have you....especially for free. Your a class act homey.

BZ said...

It's amazing how people can jump to conclusions so quick. Another good post Dave. thanks again for all you do. Just remember you can't satisfy everybody.

BulldogBry said...

The Off-season.

Ain't it grand?

hinesacl said...

Dude, it's good those dudes are learning a really important thing for dudes in the spotlight to learn. Don't let your name be used for something you have no control over and is open for interpretation. Am I right, dude?

Signed,
Jeff Bridges.

Dr. Merkwurdigliebe said...

David - You're one of the best UGA beat writers on the block, hence our surprise when you wrote yesterdays grocery store tabloid article. Instead of invoking chapter 1 Public Relations Rules & Guidelines, by truthfully coming across as sincerely contrite and apologitic, you've made cardinal sin #2, which is admitting your mistake and then spicing it up with a bunch of qualifiers. On top of that you compounded the problem by telling us if we didn't like your article we could go pound salt and read someone elses coverage. I'm pretty sure there was a journalism class that covered these no-no's.

David, you've built a body work such that 99.9% of your readers will cut you some slack for a case in bad judgement. My advise to you is learn from your mistake and continue to write intelligent and analytical articles about the UGA football program and leave the tabloid stuff to the AJC.

Anonymous said...

Well handled, David.

Anonymous said...

Alright David, you've cleared up any confusion and explained yourself very well.

Now it's time for you, me, and the rest of the Bulldog Nation to get past this and move forward. Mettenberger is gone and he IS NOT COMING BACK. There should be no reason to dwell on his dismissal from the team because it does not matter why or how, it only matters that it happened.

Plus, if there is a "team" that needs some support it is definitely "Team Murray". NO, scratch that, it is the entire Bulldog team as a whole. This focus on individual players is exactly why we have not won an SEC Championship in 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Classic headline, David. I love it.

Connection Church said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

There you go again bring logic into a petty fight.

Simmer down folks

Andy Coleman said...

David, those of us with common sense completely understand your post about the Facebook page being created. I took it as nothing more than you informing us of some interesting news related to the Mett dismissal.

I was chastised as well on my blog for not understanding the dismissal of a player without any real cause for dismissal.
Things Still Are Not Adding Up

The whole situation is being made into a mess by keeping us all in the dark.

jlove said...

i retract all of my negative statements about Lost.

post what you want David, it IS your blog.

jm from louisville said...

I;m a daily reader and a big fan.

I understand your intention of reporting something that was interesting... teammates supporting their dismissed teammate.

However, there are two small things which, though not explicit, seem to imply something that might have made it difficult to see the pure intention.

The words "enough said" in the description of the facebook page and then your comments "will you be joining?" seem to imply something further.

Again, I am not doubting your intention in the least... and I'll continue to be a huge fan... but it seems that maybe the word choices (first for the ones who created the page - the 'enough said' seems to imply disagreeing with the coach's evaluation of mett and second for you - the 'will you be joining?' seems to imply that you want your readers to not simply remain 3rd party observers, but enter into the issue in either supporting or being against mett) might not have been the optimal word choices in order to achieve the stated intention.

David Hale said...

I see your point, JM. I can't speak toward the "enough said" part, but my intention was simply to ask for fans' thoughts on supporting Mett after his dismissal. If you go back and read through my blogs, I often end with a "so what do you think?" type of sentence. A lot of blog posts naturally generate comments, but I also make a point of asking for them at times. My curiosity was how fans felt about supporting Mett still -- I didn't realize it would become a treatise on my ethics or the integrity of the kids who started the page.

Cojones said...

David, part of the problem as I see it is that we think we are entitled to all the info. Excuse my French, but "Pomme de Rue". Whatever the coach does as a part of his job does not require him to vent his personal spleen or ire or to even say a darned thing about the dismissal. Whatever his reasons(protection of the individual player, silence for the team's sake, for Mom, etc.) they are his alone. Those jockeying for the juicy tidbits usually belong in another team's camp and are threatening you , the Coach and anyone else within spilt-ink shot so that you will rush to judgement. Let them wait with the rest of the public for full charges, after all, he may GET JAIL TIME. Has anyone thought of that? What would we do then, picket the Remerton Police Dept.? Quit yapping fellow Dawgs. You are alerting other media venues about our fan base that they delighted in writing with the dismissal of Donnan. Wasn't that debacle enough for a long while? Go back to viewing individual players and the great character that most possess and represent in what we admire as Dawgs. We are fans of the University of Georgia sports teams. Act like it! Our Football Coach is.

Anonymous said...

DH, you do great work. I agree with JM from Louisville. The problem arose from the wording choices both on the facebook page and in the title of your blog entry. They both implied cynicism underneath the more PC seeming exterior. The provoking nature of "will you be joining?" is what reminds people of the AJC sports writer crowd pumping statements. Your blog is a daily read for me and this post is a non-issue. You are a great asset to the UGA fans. Keep up the good work!!!

King Jericho said...

The overreaction of people to your post was totally ridiculous. Keep doing your thing David. What you saw was nothing more than an outspoken minority.

I'm starting a facebook page "Team Hale."

Cojones said...

gtp-"You Can't Handle the Truth" comments pretty much cover the subject. Read it after posting here.

My word verification was flusness. Sound like a good sniglet for our rants.

Anonymous said...

David,

I enjoy reading your blog. As far as I'm concerned, it's my "go-to" for all my Dawg info. However, I start to get concerned when I read all these bonehead comments from some of your other reader. Have you ever thought of just walking away because these other idiots have nothing better to do than critic your every word? It would get old to me...

I think some of us may take you for granted and that's never good! We all know in the back of our mind you won't be around forever and why some of us encourage an earlier departure is beyond me. I personal will curse the day you leave us!

Keep up the great work!

Andy Coleman said...

Cojones,

Did you watch that crazy video last season of Oregon's running back punching the BSU player in the face?

From your standpoint, should that video have been made public? I mean, criminal charges may have still been pending, yet it had millions of hits on Youtube before the police could finish an investigation.

When you play for a nationally publicized program, publicity is a given.

I could give two craps about the "details" of what Mett did. But, "violated team rules" leaves way to much to the imagination.

How about, the player blatantly lied to this staff, authorities, and the UGA administration. Enough said, and the likes of me would shut our yappers.

Anonymous said...

David, UGA fans are no different than people in general - you got some that overreact, and you have some that simply use logic and are calm.
As for Dr Merwurdigliebe, just what credentials do you have to dish out advice? You made your feelings known in your first lengthy post, no need to bore us to death with the same opinion twice.

Furban8 said...

I did not view it initially as any sort of divide in the locker room, but rather as an honest show of support for a friend and former teammate.


I read the post early yesterday and I interpreted it exactly as you say in the statement above.

Of course in dealing with a percentage of the Georgia fan base that has become completely irrational and seemingly seeking controversy, leaving no room for interpretation is always advisable.

DivingDuck said...

David, you spend too much effort defending yourself. 90% of this blogs readers don't question your intentions. Don't let the anonymous hate get to you.

Carter said...

The South Park from 2 weeks ago brilliantly depicted how utterly lame and worthless Facebook is.

dawgjammin said...

I think the conclusion of a divide stems from the "team Mett" like its Angelia vs Anniston or something.... of course in this metaphor the football team would be brad pitt...if thats true, i'm hoping its the tyler durden version of pitt...

as always...great job with the blog

Cojones said...

Coleman- Your attempt to get hits on your blog is headed nowhere. I'm serious when I say that I don't get what you are trying to say. You don't want details, you do want details of Zach's dismissal. You are entitled, you aren't entitled. Make up your mind or get off the stuff. "Waffler" just crowned you as the new champ. You sound like a teabagger in all senses of usage.

And you never provoked me to even go to your site and read your "Pomme de Rue". This is all about you and not about the fans, the team or Richt. Irishdawg said it right at gtp- "You Can't Handle the Truth".

Sorry, David, for using your column, but it's all related.

C said...

David, as someone whose comments to your original post were reposted here, I want you to know that I tried the AJC today and I'm back.

I've posted a total of 4 blog entries in my life, 3 of which have been here (including this one).

Please don't go anwhere*, you are the best at what you do, which is why we hold you to such a high standard at times.

*unless, of course the AJC takes note of this whole ordeal and makes an offer you can't refuse (US DAWGS IN ATLANTA CAN HOPE!).

Anonymous said...

If you don't know what happened by now, that is your own fault for posting instead of reading.

If anyone is going to criticize Coach Richt over dismissal, they are wrong.

If anyone is going to support ZM, they are very wrong.

http://theugablog.blogspot.com/2010/04/things-still-are-not-adding-up.html?showComment=1271776133039#c4673469138288678146

You can also read about on 680 The fan, and while that is a media guy writing it, he has 3 sources.

Or you can read about it first hand. They all say exactly the same details.

Before anyone makes any statements in support of ZM, or statements about Coach Richt in this, you should stop posting and start reading. This is not done. It isn’t. And, you can quit with your if he did it. And, you can quit with your I am not going to say what is reported. There is a lady who is owed an apology. How can you post that the drunk punter last night at 2:30 am who punted 3 punts in the G-Day Game should be arrested for battery and defend defenders of ZM, or say that those who say Coach Richt should have told you the facts are correct on that either.

The punter should not have hit the man in the face.

The Quarterback needs a lesson in how to treat a lady.

Compare these 2 to the Defensive End who picked the little student up and slammed her repeatedly to the floor of McWhorter Hall.

I am sorry those are 3 criminals. You hit a person in the face at 2:30 am last night, drunk. You beat up a girl again a week ago. You clearly for all to see treated a lady the way no one does a month and a half ago. Coach Richt will kick all 3 off the team, and this just since the beginning of Spring Practice. There is no difference in what the Defensive End did and what the Quarterback did, none. This just makes me cry. And, don’t give me this, this is what happens at every other school B.S. Not 93 times in the 9-year Coach Richt Era. Maybe gets drunk at 2:30 am and hit a man in the face; but not beat up a little girl student at The University of Georgia or goes to Remerton and does this to a little student there.

If they are not taught this at home, then I know someone who just did Coach Richt.

Hal said...

David and other sensible bulldog fans and journalists... please dismiss 90% on average of what you read on these posts. You see, now that walmart sells laptops for $300, and verizon gives blackberries away... any idiot highway worker can read and post all day long.

This creates a general perception that UGA fan's are both un-appreciative and ignorant. Problem is, this is generated by 16 blog entries on a page read by a few hundred people. When 100,000 pack into the Classic City on gameday, and a few million tune into CBS to watch UGA... the voices of those 20 fools shouldn't be dismissed as THE voice of the bulldog nation.

The real bulldog fans, love our school, our coaches, our players and we support them vehemently. This "crap" the idiots post, does more to hurt the school and the program than anyone could ever imagine. So what their ignorance tells them is "constructive criticism" ends up being "destructive criticism". Recruits read these posts and they aren't yet "worldly" enough to realize its only the voice of a few fools who think we're somehow entitled to national championships each year. Who would want to come here when every move incites the ire of the fans?

People, support the school. Speak of it positively in public. If you have a critique share it with your close friends and stop posting it for the world to exploit. Urban Meyer prints these blogs and takes them with him on recruiting visits. I personally know a player in Valdosta he showed them to.

Wise Up!