Friday, February 20, 2004
I am straying from the usual boring and self-deprecating stories to weigh in on a matter that started as local news and has since ballooned to be of national importance. The goings-on in Boulder regarding alleged sexual misconduct of CU football players has been talked about for nearly a month now and came to a head when the Head Coach, Gary Barnett, was recently placed on administrative leave pending an investigation for making comments that University President Elizabeth Hoffman deemed inappropriate and insensitive and for also showing support for a player that was under suspicion of rape based on information contained in a police report.
I should probably stop here and offer a disclaimer...The rant that will follow is based solely on my opinion. It contains maybe a few facts and will offend possibly one of the four people who regularly visit this blog. Bear with me...If you are offended, stop reading. If you want to sue me, follow these steps: open your butt, stick your head back in. OK, on with the fun!
Allegations of rape had been brought to the media's attention. These were rapes that allegedly were committed by CU football players, or recruits, off-campus at parties. There were some allegations that sex has been used as a recruiting tool and that escorts have been provided. If I remember right, however, the story of how the escorts weren't being used for recruiting or for the football team after all wasn't news, but oddly, the initial and now false allegation to the same still is...Either way, the media continues to spin and skew the information in such a way as to justify the suspension of Gary Barnett by a university president who seemingly holds some sort of grudge against the coach.
Now, I'm NOT going to assert that Barnett is a saint. In major college sports, if you dig into any program deep enough you'll find some wrongdoing. You can't tell me any different and have me believe you. It's the name of the game in division 1-A. The big time recruits are being wined and dined by boosters and university reps regardless of how illegal or inappropriate it is. In the long run, when the NCAA brings the smackdown to any school's program, regardless of the allegations, it's basically because the school didn't have boosters or payoffs in the proper order to avoid it. Sometimes, even when the investigations happen, certain schools can come away reasonably unscathed. Remember the Fab 5 basketball team investigation involving the University of Michigan a little while back? A school that should've received an NCAA death penalty ended up receiving only a slap on the wrist. Any time a school gets investigated, it sends a quick message to other schools and coaches to hide or shred what you got, or to get some boosters to put some money in the right pockets. Nobody wants to be in CU's shoes right now, do they?
That having been said, Gary Barnett was suspended for merely speaking the truth...Allow me to explain....
Katie Hnida is a female. She is also a publicity hound. I base THIS allegation on the fact that she cannot kick a ball with reasonable enough prowess to expect to be a part of a division 1-A college football program, or any other program for that matter. Katie Hnida is simply after some media attention. That's what her game has been from the start. Convenient how, when allegations of sexual misconduct at CU came to light, out pops Katie Hnida with her own sob story of how rough a time she had at CU, "boo hoo, the boys didn't want to play with me and oh, by the way Iwasrapedbyaplayer."
Did she tell this to the cops? No. She told Rick Reilly, Sports Illustrated writer, who lives in Denver. Little Katie's not interested in pressing charges, she says...She just wants some more media attention. She just wants her name in the papers and on the news because it seems that the media's kind of forgotten about her because, SURPRISE, she's not really that good a football player. Look. I can't say one way or another whether Katie Hnida was raped, but if someone crawls out of their fetid stinkhole at a very opportune time to offer up their sob story, but aren't interested in pressing charges IT'S PROBABLY BECAUSE IT DIDN'T HAPPEN! She's just piling on the bandwagon, hoping that her face will be the one that's shown on TV, not the face of the girl or girls that WERE ACTUALLY RAPED and have ACTUALLY PRESSED CHARGES or have ACTUALLY WON CIVIL LAWSUITS...No, God forbid the media would center attention on an actual victim when they can pay some attention to Katie Goddamn Hnida.
Gary Barnett was being interviewed about the latest allegations on Tuesday of this last week and offered up this description of Katie's time at CU:
"It was obvious Katie was not very good. She was awful," he said. "Katie was not only a girl, she was terrible. OK? There's no other way to say it."
This is all true. Katie Hnida lacks the ability to kick a football with enough accuracy and consistency to be a college football kicker. Barnett was simply responding to a reporter's inane questioning, not belittling the situation of rape victims. This, of course, is not how Elizabeth Hoffman saw it, probably because she was too busy posturing and trying to look important and hoping nobody would notice the fact that she's completely and utterly ignorant about how the justice system in America works...
Hoffman said that Barnett's comments about Hnida's kicking ability were "extremely inappropriate and insensitive" and that those remarks were the main reason Barnett was put on administrative leave, Hoffman said.
"Rape is a horrific allegation and it should be taken seriously," she said.
Also, in was intimated that he was suspended, in part, for his comments in a police report that showed support for a player who was under suspicion of rape. UNDER SUSPICION of rape. LET ME REITERATE: UNDER SUSPICION.
So, we should try and get this straight. Hoffman suspends Barnett because he didn't lie about someone's athletic ability and he stood behind one of his players, trusting that this player had character, despite the fact that he was UNDER SUSPICION of rape.
Are we not all INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY in a court of law? When the HELL did an ALLEGATION of rape instantly become a damning conviction? Where does it say "All suspects are innocent until proven guilty UNLESS THEY'RE ACCUSED OF RAPE whereby said suspect is immediately a total pariah and any support of this person shall be regarded as guilt by association?" It seems that Elizabeth Hoffman subscribes to the latter definition of the law, not the former.
ESPN's Linda Cohn smugly pointed out on Thursday morning that coaches who are placed on administrative leave are most often fired. In fact, that morning's broadcast of ESPNs SportsCenter didn't waste much time in firing Barnett. They talked about his having been removed and dismissed, never to return. Whether or not he had a hand in any wrongdoing remains to be seen and I am disgusted (as I am all too often) at the attitude of media types who love to act holier-than-thou and damn individuals based on flimsy allegations prior to there having been any investigations.
You know, if the allegations turn out to be untrue, that's not a news story. It won't be reported with the same fervor as the allegations or Barnett's dismissal. It's horrific to see how the media can potentially ruin the career of an individual with shoddy reporting and impromptu posturing and editorializing.
In summary, I should say to Katie Hnida: "give it up. You're wasting New Mexico's time, just like you wasted CU's and you're taking up space that should be allotted to someone who deserves to be there.
to Elizabeth Hoffman: Perhaps you should stroll down to the law department at CU, if there is one, and reacquaint yourself with the codices of the American Justice System before you make such a hasty and obviously emotionally-driven fool of yourself
and finally, to Rick Reilly: Dude, open your eyes...Not every sob story that comes straight to you is worth printing in your crappy little back-page column.
Oh yeah. Hey, Gary Barnett: If you ARE using sex as a recruiting tool, it's not working. Could you please pick up some guys that'll AT LEAST produce a win over CSU? I hate those damn Rams...
That's all. See you all on Monday.