Selena Roberts, once a writer for the New York Times who now writes a blog with her dog, recently weighed in on former Auburn coach Pat Dye’s objection to appointment of Condoleezza Rice to the panel that will select college football’s final four playoff teams. She started her clumsily misguided rant by noting that Auburn, her alma mater, was “dismayed” that she attended. We started to just ignore her, because attention is clearly what she craves. But her shrill diatribe was so sodden with personal pain and bitterness that we, as caring individuals and true Auburn men and women who believe in the Auburn Creed, felt compelled to reach out to her.

Dear Selena,

selena_tshirtWe’re not dismayed that you went to Auburn. It just saddens us that you didn’t learn anything while you were there.

The Auburn Creed, third line:

I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.

You skipped that one. In a desperate and bitter grab for personal relevance, you abandoned honesty and spat on truthfulness. For that you lost respect and confidence. Look around you. It’s why you are who you are and why you are where you are.

The Auburn Creed, sixth line:

I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all. 

You’ve also lost the touch, Selena. In your rush to prove that you’re better than the Auburn you left behind, you’ve lost the ability to see the school and its people in a rational, human light. It’s all about scoring points and transferring your personal shame back on to anything associated with Auburn. You’re more concerned with making everyone see Auburn in the narrow piggish light you do. Your career path is to find the negative and wrap yourself in it.

The Auburn Creed, last line:

And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it. 

You don’t believe in Auburn and love it. You believe in yourself and are lost.

You take every opportunity to slam Auburn. Most recently you joined the chorus against former coach Pat Dye who expressed his opinion on the selection of Condoleezza Rice to the selection panel for the College Football Final Four.

You have that right.

It’s the manner in which you chose to speak that betrays your bitterness and bile.

Disagree if you will, but you lower yourself to characterize Dye as a “coot” and to make Depends jokes. Somehow you managed both of these, as well as the use of the term “lady balls” all in the first sentence of your drivel. That’s not as humorous as you thought it would be when you heard it in your head. It reeks of classlessness.

While we are certainly not professional journalists we do recognize shoddy workmanship when we see it. Your entire piece is juvenile, poorly worded and reads more like a high school sophomore’s editorial on prom fashion than it does the work of a seasoned journalist.

Beyond those glaring issues, you also completely missed the point of Dye’s comments.

You’re so wrapped up in your own insecurities and in scoring points against Auburn that you failed to understand what Dye said.

Coach Dye didn’t say a woman had no place on the panel. He merely said that anyone without a football background was unsuitable to make those decisions.

His point was that if you haven’t played the game, coached the game or made a career in the game you see things only as a fan does.  And from his viewpoint a fan doesn’t have the same understanding and experience.

It’s not our place to debate the merits of his position. The least you could do as a so-called journalist, however, is understand what he said before setting your hair on fire.

Consider this:

You claim to take your profession seriously. Suppose Dye or Tom Osborne or Bobby Bowden were appointed to a panel that selected the only four writers  allowed to cover the championship game. How would you react?  You’d howl in seething protest over their lack of qualifications.

He’s not a journalist. He’s never written under a deadline. He doesn’t understand what it takes to do the job. What right does he have to make that type of decision, he’s just a casual reader not an editor.

You’d be right.

Dye, Bowden, and Osborne may be  great football coaches, but when it comes to understanding your chosen profession, they don’t have the same insight that you or your (badly needed) editor would.

Yet you couldn’t see the forest for that one maddening tree.

You were so blinded by your single-minded hate that you didn’t bother to stop and consider his message.

You were also so consumed by your desire to vent your personal bitterness on all things Auburn that you failed to recognize that Dye isn’t exactly a lone wolf in questioning Rice’s appointment.

Former Alabama coach Gene Stallings expressed a personal position that mirrored Dye’s. You failed to comment on his soiled undergarments.

Dye entered the conversation only because he was specifically asked  to react to statements made by David Pollack in reference to the appointment of Rice on ESPN Gameday.

Despite his noted lack of general cootiness, Pollack began this discussion. And it was his reaction, not Dye’s, that was more clearly gender-motivated.

But that didn’t fit your rage, did it Selena?

It’s a real shame that you left Auburn with a belly full of bitterness and a self-serving need to smear Auburn’s reputation.

We are a family and whether you like it or not, whether we like it or not, you’re a part of it. We hope one day you’ll remember that.

We hope you’ll come to accept Auburn as it is; to embrace the beauty, history, tradition and love that defines the Auburn spirit. Perhaps then you’ll stop trying to create an Auburn that is as you, and only you, think it should be.

Auburn is bigger than any one person, Selena. It’s bigger than Bo. It’s bigger than Cam. It’s bigger than Dye, Heisman, Shug, Barkley, astronauts, engineers, Oscar winners, CEOs, authors and artists. It’s bigger than us. It’s bigger than you.

We aren’t dismayed that you went to Auburn, we simply wish you’d start acting like it.


NOTE: Out of respect for Selena, we’re not going to provide a link to her commentary. If you’re interested in reading it, you can find it online, but you may have to search for a while.


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