In life, we’re often forced to make tough decisions. These decisions aren’t always a simple matter of right vs. wrong; sometimes, they’re a little more complicated. Sometimes, our core values are placed in opposition to each other; we find ourselves evaluating what’s truly important to us, and choosing accordingly. I am engaged in such a conundrum even as I sit here punching away at my keyboard. As I weigh both sides of this predicament, I find that my urge to point and laugh at unintentional comedy is greater than my urge to boycott stupidity. With that, I link you to this seemingly insignificant blog entry by the Colorado Springs Gazette writer David Ramsey.
First, a little background. The Air Force Academy has recently revised its media guidelines, making access to coaches and players a bit more difficult. Not surprisingly, Falcons beat writer Jake Schaller thinks this is unfortunate. And it is; those of us who try to keep a finger on the pulse of Air Force football appreciate the work Schaller does, in print and on his blog (even if we disagree about things). Obviously, less access for him means fewer updates for the rest of us. It’s our loss. Schaller used his blog entry to give us all a heads up on how these new rules will affect his coverage. Ramsey, on the other hand, just wants to pick old scabs.
Newspapers, like any other media, make most of their money from advertising. The more subscribers/web hits they get, the more they can charge for their ad space. There are a few ways to drive up those hits. One way is to provide really good journalism. That’s what Schaller does. Another way is to rant about nonsense in the hopes that you’ll get enough people to log on and get angry about the outrageous things you say. That’s Ramsey’s territory. Apparently, his regular routine of pissing off Air Force fans isn’t doing the trick anymore. His new schtick is to try to draw the ire of Navy fans. That’s why he (somewhat laughably) tries to connect the Air Force Academy’s new rules with his old obsession with Paul Johnson.
There was a time when it would’ve been a pretty big deal for a journalist to call someone a liar without any hint of substance to back up his accusation. For Ramsey, that’s just Wednesday. This is not the first time that he’s whined about PJ’s “propaganda” against poor, helpless Air Force. Here, he says that the Academy’s new media restrictions will be harmful to the football program, just like it was back when “vicious” Paul Johnson lied about that fine gentleman, Shaun Carney. You see, the evil and spiteful Johnson claimed that when Shaun Carney was being recruited by Navy, he told players and coaches that he didn’t think Navy could beat Air Force. Ramsey says that he just didn’t have enough time to get a rebuttal from Carney, since the quarterback wasn’t allowed to talk to the media on Wednesdays. Had he been able to ask, Ramsey claims he could have been the noble defender of young Carney’s honor against that lying liar who lies and his terrible propaganda.
LOOK OUT FOR THE STEAMLOLLER!
While hilarious, there are a couple of problems with with Ramsey’s mysterious land o’ revisionism. First, while he might’ve been new to it, everyone else learned about the Shaun Carney recruiting story a year earlier, after Navy beat Air Force in 2003. In his blog, Ramsey refers to quotes from Johnson that he used to write this piece back in 2004. Like he said back then, “In their conversation two years ago, Johnson made Carney agree they would shake hands if Navy beat Air Force.” That’s absolutely true. And after Navy won the 2003 game, Johnson went to midfield looking for Carney, not realizing that he was at the prep school. When Johnson was asked after the game what he was looking for, that’s when we all learned the story. I mean, think about it; why do you think Johnson commented on the story a year later? He was asked about it. So really, Ramsey had a year to get a comment if he would have thought of it. In all fairness, you can’t really criticize someone for not thinking to ask about that story himself. But if Ramsey really cares about the truth, why not just ask Carney now? He’s got the time, TRUST ME. If it only takes 2-3 minutes as Ramsey claims, then there’s no reason not to get the story straight, even for a lowly blog post. Bah, no need! Ramsey’s such an excellent judge of character, asking would just be a waste of time! After all,
I don’t know Carney well, but I know him well enough to state he almost certainly did not speak the words attributed to him by Johnson.
Really? Ramsey got one thing right– he definitely doesn’t know Carney very well. Carney, who was arrogant enough to tell the Times Herald-Record that Air Force would beat Army 49-7 because “We need to run some points up on someone,” is somehow incapable of telling Navy coaches and players that he didn’t think they’d beat Air Force? Good call, Dave! We definitely should take your word for it! (There is a lot more hilarity in that Carney interview, but we’ll let it slide for now.)
This isn’t the first time Ramsey has spoken about Coach Johnson’s supposed “propaganda campaign” against Air Force. If that’s propaganda, then what on earth would he call the crap coming out of his own backyard for years? It appears that Ramsey is a bit far-sighted here. You could see it even in that piece he wrote in 2004. Air Force fullback Adam Cole talks about how much he “hates Navy.” Oh, that? That’s nothing. No, Ramsey instead focuses on Johnson “jumping on Cole’s quote.” As if Cole’s comments as written weren’t enough, Ramsey, for whatever reason, didn’t include the full quote in his piece. Fortunately, Mark Schlabach did:
“It just makes me think of how much I hate Navy,” Air Force fullback Adam Cole told the Gazette in Colorado Springs. “It’s almost like they are holding our stuff. It doesn’t really belong to them.”
Seriously? You don’t think that’s something that Johnson or his players would take notice of? That theme of “Navy doesn’t deserve it” has remained a constant talking point for Air Force players:
“We realized Navy didn’t really beat us, and that was huge for us to realize,” senior cornerback Carson Bird said. “They really didn’t beat us. We beat ourselves.”
And that’s just Air Force players. We haven’t even started on Fisher DeBerry yet. From Schlabach:
Air Force Coach Fisher DeBerry has used all kinds of tactics to motivate his players this week. When Air Force players arrived at their locker room on Sunday, they found pictures of Navy fullback Kyle Eckel, with the words “Eckel for Heisman” written on them. Navy officials said they haven’t promoted Eckel for the Heisman Trophy. The senior ran for 176 yards and one touchdown against the Falcons last season.
Also, Air Force players were apparently told that Navy’s players were given commemorative rings for winning the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy last season. Johnson said his players were only given rings for playing in the Houston Bowl.
And then there’s the pièce de résistance of DeBerry’s asshattery:
Yes, he heard about Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry’s playful poke during a luncheon at Navy’s 0-10 season last year: “Navy is learning a new way to count to 10 – 0-1, 0-2, 0-3 …”
So let’s review the world according to Ramsey. Talk of hating Navy, that the CIC Trophy doesn’t belong to them, that they really didn’t beat Air Force, fake Heisman campaigns, lies about CIC Trophy rings, and directly mocking the Navy football program? Meh. Say that Army-Navy is different, and tell a story about Carney’s recruitment? VICIOUS PROPAGANDA.
Yes, I realize that by talking about his post, I’m doing exactly what Ramsey wants. That’s OK. He’s going to keep writing whether I link to him or not. When he does, I just want to make sure that you guys don’t confuse him for a writer you should take seriously.