Wednesday, November 21, 2007

People are So F***ing Stupid

Far be it from me to defend a coach who lost to Louisiana-Monroe, but what the f*** is the deal with the hyperbolic reaction to Nick Saban invoking Pearl Harbor and 9/11 to make a point? The only way to get exorcised about his comments is if one takes them hyper-literally, but it is plain to any sentient human being that Saban was not saying that losing to Louisiana-Monroe is the same thing as flying planes full of unarmed civilians into buildings full of more unarmed civilians. Rather, Saban was making the simple point that sometimes, people respond to well to significant adversity.

If the media was correct in losing their minds over Saban's remarks, then historical analogies would never be appropriate. I make analogies all the time at work comparing litigation to historical events, usually with the result being that my co-workers roll their eyes and mutter "nerd" as they walk away. I've compared opposing counsel's approach to discovery to Stalin's "not one step back" order in 1941, but I wasn't saying that opposing counsel is a ruthless monster who murdered millions of his countrymen in the Gulag Archipelago. I've compared another opposing counsel's moves to Hitler ordering around imaginary German divisions from the bunker in the final days of WWII, but that doesn't mean that I thought that opposing counsel was about to poison his dog and wife before blowing his brains out. Law tends to lend itself to military analogies. More generally speaking, part of the value of history is that it's a wonderful guide as to how humans react in various situations. Saban, in his own uncertain way, was trying to make a legitimate point.

So why did the media jump all over him? There are a few factors at play here. First, there is a certain degree of political correctness that attaches to 9/11, such that any reference to it comes loaded with baggage in the same way that any reference to race does. Second, Saban makes a lot of money and is coaching an underperforming football team, which makes him the most inviting target imaginable. Third, the media is actively rooting against Saban because they don't like the fact that he lied about his intentions in taking the Alabama job. Thus, Saban has brought a lot of this criticism upon himself, but that doesn't make the criticism at all valid.

4 comments:

Andrew said...

The criticism of the coaching job he has done this year is certainly warranted. This is the exact team Shula had last year (the only difference is they have one more year of experience and strength training), and Shula beat La. Monroe something like 41-7.

As far as the 9/11 comments go, you are probably right, however you have to admit the last couple of days have been fun, since Saban is such an absolute dick face. I think another reason the media is running with this is not only because it is the University of Alabama, but because it happened in the state of Alabama period. The national media never misses a chance to dump on the south east united states, and Alabama and Mississippi in particular. If a coach in California or Maryland said this, it would not garner near as much attention.

Michael said...

Alabama did lose some starters from last year's team, but your general point is right that Shula also could have gotten this team to 6-5. Saban has done a poor job. He won the SEC in year two at LSU; that's going to be a major measuring stick last year.

Anonymous said...

Are you really that jaded? I guess you're entitled to your opinion.

KennyBanya said...

You forgot reason number four - Saban is a complete piece of shit.

Did you happen to continue to watch the conference when Saban shot back at a reporter (who asked a perfectly legit question) with: "Answer Me! Don't Stutter!".

Wow, don't stutter? He is either 5 years old or he think he's a Marine drill officer.

It also would have helped if he followed up his comments with a statement letting everyone know he realized they are not equal comparables, he's just making an example. I can usually forgive a coach who comes out and says something stupid when he's caught off guard, but Saban came out with a prepared statement, ready to go. Regardless of whether you think its ok, anyone should know that comment is going to create negative controversy so why say it?

I think your job as an attorney is a little different, you are being paid to argue and draw connections. Saban is a football coach, his job is to win games.

Not to make outlandish (and I'll admit awesomely funny) statements like "Take Pearl Harbor, that happened, and it led us to, uh, World War II, or whatever".

Honest question, would you be ok if he said

"It was a catastrophe, a lot like the Holocaust was a catstrophe, we will just have to bounce back like the Jewish people have"

I wouldn't.