July 21, 2011 — Another day, another edition of the same old song and dance. On Wednesday, the opening day of SEC Media Days in Birmingham, frequent guest (stooge) of the Paul Finebaum Show, Danny Sheridan, dished up another helping of the same old leftover hash we’ve been served for the last nine months.
He tried to spice it up a little by adding a dash of hot sauce, but at its core it remained the same congealed, cold, tasteless hash we’ve grown accustomed to.
Who is Danny Sheridan, you ask? Good question.
You should first know that he’s a Las Vegas oddsmaker. More on the problems that creates later.
It’s worth noting that if Sheridan were truly gifted at determining the spread, he would be lining his own pockets with his knowledge rather than attempting to fleece yours to learn what he has to say.
Second, Sheridan is a proud graduate of the University of Alabama. More on that later as well.
On Wednesday Sheridan claimed the NCAA knew who the “bag man” was between Cecil Newton and some unnamed alumni/booster/supporter and was attempting to get him to step forward.
Bag man? Really Danny? Did you fall asleep during an episode of The Sopranos?
By the end of his comments, Sheridan was crab walking away from his statements as quickly as he could. He covered his bases with “if” and “allegedly.” He said he had no idea if there was any evidence.
He said repeatedly that it was a 50/50 proposition as to whether anything would ever come of these allegedly damning revelations.
Really, Sheridan? Really? Do you know what oddsmakers call 50/50? No clue.
Sheridan further waffled by indicating a slight lean to “nothing will ever come of it.”
Sheridan said if nothing was found, the NCAA would drop the case within three to six months.
Sheridan also said that if evidence was found to connect the dots between some unidentified person who may or may not be a booster or alumni or supporter and an alleged “bag man” who may or may not exist and the Newtons, Auburn could be in big, big trouble.
Really, Danny? Really?
If a gun is found in the trunk of your car and it is linked by ballistics to the Zodiac killings and your fingerprint is on the gun you could be in serious trouble, Danny boy. Serious, serious trouble. We’re talking federal pound you in the…. yeah. Prison.
Sheridan’s backpedaling included him saying that if there were an alleged transaction it involved a wealthy individual.
No! Really? And all this time we thought they were looking for a homeless man.
What did Sheridan actually say? All he did was set himself up to be right no matter what happens. He hedged his bets.
If it is eventually revealed that someone affiliated or unaffiliated with Auburn did provide Cam or Cecil Newton with some unspecified benefit, Danny was right!
By predicting the most dire circumstances, Sheridan guaranteed himself the biggest bang should something come to pass.
But he left door number two open.
If the NCAA drops the case in three to six months, hey! Danny was right!
He also left door three, four and five open.
The NCAA found some alleged individuals but couldn’t prove they were connected. Hurrah! Danny was right!
Greg Doyel of CBS Sports thought so much of Sheridan’s denoument that he tweeted the following:
“I’m thinking liar, liar pants on fire.”
Doyel added “Oddsmaker/Bama grad Danny Sheridan went on radio today, said NCAA is closing in on Auburn. Um, how would HE know?” and “If a friggin’ oddsmaker has sources inside the NCAA leaking him info, that’s a bigger story than Cam Newton.”
Doyel highlights a valid concern. When a Vegas oddsmaker peddles his own rumor and innuendo to influence the line, there’s a definite stench of impropriety.
On the same day Sheridan painted pictures of imaginary bag men, he also went on record as saying Auburn coach Gene Chizik would be a complete failure and should return part of his salary if the Tigers failed to win at least nine games in 2011. But wait, he simultaneously noted that he would make them underdogs in seven or more games.
Math, Mr. Sheridan. Do you speak it?
Even the most optimistic Auburn fan recognizes that the loss of 20-plus seniors, the early exit of a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, a Lombardi winning defensive lineman, and the team’s leading receiver added to a brutal road schedule that includes trips to Fayetteville, Baton Rouge, Clemson, Columbia and Athens builds a difficult course for the defending national champions.
What Sheridan accomplished was exactly the objective in mind when Finebaum brought him on the show. He stirred up the trolls.
He took the focus off real football talk from SEC Media Days and repurposed it into the circus atmosphere that is Finebaum’s forte.
What was it Finebaum said a few days ago?
“If we banned the callers who call here just to talk about each other, who’s going to call? I’d be talking to myself for four hours.”
We certainly wouldn’t want a sports talk show to actually waste time on talking about sports, would we? That would be crazy.
So Sheridan stirs the trolls and Finebaum gets to avoid for another day the possibility of actually being a sports-talk show. Instead he takes the easy path, agitates the howling mob that forms the core of his show day after day and opens the gates for their storm of bitter, putrid vitriol to come pouring forth.
And that brings us to another facet of this issue as a whole.
When the Never to Yield Foundation was formed we explicitly stated that we are not an anti-Alabama organization. Frankly, we don’t care what happens to, for or with Alabama. They are one of Auburn’s biggest rivals and there is no other sports rivalry that carries the same passion and intensity that the Auburn-Alabama game does. We appreciate that rivalry and cherish it as a cornerstone of college football.
That’s where it ends. Beyond the formerly friendly confines of the rivalry, Alabama really means nothing to us. The Auburn-Alabama game ceased being our football alpha and omega (if it ever were that) in 1982.
Our purpose here is to be for Auburn. Being for Auburn doesn’t mandate being against Alabama. That’s a distinction far too many miss.
What we want — demand — is that media coverage in the state be fair, and we will occasionally point out what we believe to be inconsistencies or bias in reporting, but only as it pertains to how Auburn is portrayed. That has nothing to do with Alabama or any other rival.
As the last nine months have played out, however, it’s become increasingly obvious that there is a strong negative undercurrent flowing primarily from our Crimson Tide compatriots. What has always been an intense but ultimately respectful rivalry has become to a large extent rancorous.
In the interests of maintaining a pro-Auburn stance and refraining from delving into anything that could be construed as anti-Alabama, we have failed to address what has become readily apparent.
Let’s put the cards on the table and play the hand we are dealt.
The simple truth is that much of the negativity of the last nine months stems largely from a small but vocal segment of the Alabama fan base. There are a few hounds of other stripe (noticeably purple/gold and black/red) baying at the empty trail, but the driving force behind the maelstrom has a crimson tinge.
This aggrieved and obsessed group is responsible for the majority of the rumor and innuendo that has dogged Auburn since it became clear the Tigers were on a national championship course in 2010.
The negativity is based in jealousy and fueled by a false sense of entitlement.
What’s sad and disturbing is that a disproportionate number of these instigators have no real affiliation with the University of Alabama. They’re not alumni, they’re not donors, they’re not students.
Those who did go to the University typically don’t have the same animosity toward Auburn — and they don’t get it in return. They understand how to keep the rivalry in perspective.
To the rest, Alabama football is their life. Without it there is no meaning.
These detractors were stung when Auburn won the national title because in doing so, the Tigers essentially erased their entire sense of self worth. If they couldn’t lord a national title over those “Aubies” what did they have left? The fact that Auburn demoralized their team on their home field on the way to the title was the last straw.
When Auburn hoisted the crystal football, it became an all-consuming mission to find some way to invalidate that. They want it expunged from their memory, truth be damned.
Over the last nine months you’ve seen evidence of that as these hate groups concocted rumors and spread lies. Watching the development and lifecycle of a rumor on one of the many sites devoted to the demise of all things Auburn would be almost comical if it weren’t so pathetically sad.
I saw a picture of Dr. Dre and he had on an Auburn hat. The picture was from the 90s. He probably got it from Pat Dye. Hey, Snoop used to be on the sidelines at USC. Snoop and Dre are friends. We know what happened to USC. I bet Snoop learned that from Dre. And Dre knows Luda. And Luda lives in Atlanta. Cam Newton was from the Atlanta area! BOOM! Smoking gun. We got ‘em!
As far-fetched as that sounds it’s probably one of the sanest concoctions you’ll find on those sites.
Truth is irrelevant. The idea is to make noise and lots of it.
Clay Travis addressed this in a Wednesday column, writing:
“The NCAA’s ten-month investigation is further complicated by the continuing fount of allegations, many untrue, levied by Alabama fans in the state. These allegations have thrust ordinary citizens into the forefront of the rumor machine. ”
Travis went on to discuss a rumor spawned on one of those asinine sites which he claims the NCAA investigated at least perfunctorily.
Travis contends that the NCAA is somewhat obligated to chase down these rumors to ascertain whether they have any substance.
If the NCAA standard is truly that it will expend time and energy tracking down a rumor generated from a whackadoo website with zero credibility and a transparent agenda of destroying a rival program, then the NCAA needs to mobilize and army of about 400 investigators. They should probably purchase a fleet of Winnebagos, because they’re about to be running nationwide 365 days a year.
If some random dweeb at a keyboard making wild speculation is all it takes to get the NCAA involved, you can bank on fruitcake rumor-spewing blogs popping up in Ann Arbor, Eugene, Tulsa, Stillwater, Lubbock, Austin, Athens, Cedar Rapids, Boise, Tuscon and every other college town in the nation.
Fictionalize some mud, fling it up the flagpole and watch the NCAA come rushing in to investigate your rival. Now there’s a dangerous precedent.
As Auburn fans, we’re tired of the recycled rumors. If there’s something amiss, let’s find out and deal with it.
We want and expect our coaches, administrators, players, alumni, fans and friends to do what’s right. If somebody is outside those lines, we want it rectified.
Until there is some evidence that something did occur, however — and as we sit here ten months into the discussion there is nothing of the sort — stop the infantile crying.
That small but strident group who peddle rumor is like a spoiled brat who didn’t get the toy he wanted and is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the store.
You have three options in dealing with the bawling baby.
You can give him what he wants. We all know that’s not going to happen.
You can ignore him and let him squall until he tires of the sound of his own voice.
Or you can put him over your knee and give him a reason to cry.
Right now, we’re doing our best to ignore the constant caterwauling coming from the bawling babies who didn’t get their way.
But there’s a limit.
If you’re going to point out dirt on another’s porch, you better make sure your own is swept.