Questions, questions. So many questions. But the questions aren’t the ones you might think.
Auburn has done an admirable job of answering thinly sourced accusations with cold, hard facts. So my questions are about other things.
* Are former Auburn players who have or will stand trial on armed robbery charges really solid sources for at least two news stories and a convoluted television show?
* Did synthetic marijuana really make them do it? Really? Thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of college students have tried synthetic marijuana, not to mention the real stuff. How many of them have been charged with armed robbery?
* Are college football players really so immature and so dependent that they have to be saved from themselves? Is there no personal responsibility? Who is responsible for saving “regular” college students who have substance abuse issues? Do they not matter as much?
Where are the stories on an epidemic of underage drinking on college campuses? Is drinking a case of beer you’re not legally allowed to possess OK and smoking a joint you’re not legally allowed to possess isn’t? Aren’t both against the law? Won’t alcohol, when abused, also affect judgment in a big way?
Why is there no gasping in disbelief when Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, who has not yet reached legal drinking age, is photographed with a cold beer in his hand? Why aren’t ESPN’s legions descending on College Station, Texas, to investigate whether underage drinking was covered up during last season?
Is Dakota Mosley really believable when he says half the team was smoking synthetic marijuana before the BCS Championship Game? How would he know that? Did he see them? Were 50 of them all in one room smoking it together? Was he even around the players who were going to play in the game or was he with the others who, like him, were taken on the trip but didn't even dress for the game?
Did Mosley’s father really try synthetic marijuana and call Auburn to tell coaches about it? Did he not feel any responsibility as a parent to do something about his son’s issues, regardless of what Auburn did?
Is somebody at ESPN scared of Les Miles? Of do they just think he's cool? Is it really appropriate to make Tyrann Mathieu, who said he stopped counting at 10 flunked drug tests, a heroic figure on the front page of ESPN The Magazine’s draft issue?
Is ESPN to be taken seriously when commentators who call themselves journalists have apparel deals with Nike and others? Are we to assume their “opinions” aren’t impacted by those who write them big checks?
The biggest question Auburn people are asking – and with good reason – is why Auburn? Why not Oregon, which has admitted major violations? Why not USC, which received one of the harsher penalties in NCAA history? Why Auburn, which has been examined top to bottom by NCAA investigators three times in three years and come out clean every time and which has not been found guilty of a major violation in football in 21 years?
To say ESPN, along with numerous others, treats Auburn fairly is to ignore the obvious.
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: In early 2009, ESPN was planning to do an indepth look at why more African-Americans had not been hired as college head coaches. They informed Auburn that the centerpiece of the story would be Auburn not hiring Turner Gill instead of Gene Chizik.
The show never happened. Whether Auburn stonewalled or got someone to listen, I don’t know.
When did reporting, particularly by some “national” writers, become about forming an opinion and trying to prove it instead of a search for the truth?
Questions, questions. So many questions.