Gray Ghost's article almost two months ago seemed worth revisiting in light of some comments last week concerning Notre Dame and Charlie Weis. Gray earned numerous Pick of the Days for the article, "Four Ways to Earn Your Props in the B/R College Football Community."
Gray opened with:
"Let me establish from the beginning that this is not another 'Let’s take Bleacher Report to the next level' article. However well-meaning those may be, that is not the intent of this article. My purpose is simply to offer some suggestions on how you can gain a hearing from your peers."
I wish to highlight some Gray's Four Ways with recent examples. My intent is not to embarrass anyone.
A selection of comments or passages from this past week follows each of his explanations.
1. Don’t Insist on Identicalness
“His (Timothy Croley) cyber-friendship means more to me than trying to best him in a verbal slugfest over which team (Georgia v. Alabama) is going to triumph this weekend. That will be settled between the hedges, not on Bleacher Report.
"Debate is great, but cutthroat comments won’t add one point to your team's score. What those types of comments will do is destroy your credibility with thinking people.”
— "Notre Dame: Lousy team even worse on the road" (by miamimitch.com)
— "Ever wonder what happened to Spanky from Our Gang? He's the confused coach of the Notre Dame Irish, that's what" (by Dan Boone)
2. Don’t Overstate Your Importance
“I will give you my opinion when I comment on your articles, and I hope you will take the time to consider what I say, but I will not attempt to force my opinion down your throat. I have always despised a bully and have had my fair share of trips to the principal’s office because I stood up for someone who was getting shoved around.
"A keyboard bully is no less reprehensible to me.”
— “You would think that superior talent and the decided schematic advantage that Weis promised upon his coronation as Notre Dame messiah would allow the Irish to at least kick a field goal against Boston College. That's naive thinking. You don't understand the damage being caused in South Bend by Willingham's recruiting in Seattle.
"And if you can't understand that, then you surely can't grasp the self-serving motive of Weis retaking over his offense with two weak opponents on the schedule.
"It's no secret. I dislike Charlie Weis and despise the free pass he was given by the media when he was handed a huge contract extension for doing less than Willingham.
"Weis is a bully and a coward, and his well-timed announcement that he would abandon this 'head coach stuff' so he could bail out his offense proves my contentions...
"Weis is an average college head coach with horrendous people skills....
"Weis is in over his head coaching the college game.
"There are rumors that Notre Dame might pull the plug on The Great Weis Hope if he loses to Navy.
"I'll be rooting for Notre Dame this weekend. I want Charlie Weis at Notre Dame as long as I'm a columnist. His failures and the rationalizations offered up by Notre Dame fans are worth two to three columns a year.
"Hell, I've written two this month and could easily get a third if Navy pulls an upset. Stay tuned."
(by Jason Whitlock, who also termed Weis a blowhard, lacking in reasonable character and integrity, and more.)
“There is a difference between reacting and responding. Reaction requires no real thought process. You hit me, I hit you—we both deal with the consequences later. Graveyards are full of reactionaries.
"Response, on the other hand, requires that we engage our gray matter—that we take the time to consider our next move.”
— "Get Used to Notre Dame Irrelevance. Notre Dame has been in a free fall for a while now, and Weis seems only capable of preparing himself for Slimfast commercials rather than preparing this team to win football games." (by Larry Burton)
— "Is Weis Hot Seat Scorching? Rumors are starting to circulate that Charlie Weis will not return next year if the Irish don't go bowling this year. Of course, they are just rumors, but the performance Weis has turned in this year seems to warrant some huge red flags—bigger than last year's red flags." (by Lisa Horne)
"We are a community, and we expect to have to earn our stripes. We do not ask that anything be handed to us. We may not agree on some of the issues that arise on the various threads of this site, and we may argue from time to time, but we will have each other's back.
"If you want respect, then show respect. If you want to feel accepted here, be willing to accept others—regardless of how their opinion differs from yours.”
— "Navy. Oh for crying out loud, why the hell is Notre Dame favored? I'm rooting for the Middies to make it two straight over the Irish, and finally experience Weis' alleged genius mind since he's calling the plays." (by Lisa Horne)
— "Navy. They have a winning record, right? Then ND can't beat 'em." (by James Doker)
(from their Picks of the Week article)
Gray said: "We bring many different things to the table. We are from the North, the South, the East, and the West. We are also wired somewhat differently. Some are positive, some are negative, some are analytical, and some don’t want to be confused with facts.
"We all love our teams, and those of us from the SEC even love our conference (as if you didn’t know!).
"With all of these variations, how do we keep from verbally killing each other? Please don’t hurl the 'Content Nazi' label at me. Remember: these are merely suggestions on how to gain a hearing from your peers here on B/R. You may write whatever you please, but we don’t have to read, or reply."
I don't know if any of the BR writers above commented on Gray's article. I wholeheartedly agree, "you may write whatever you please." I guess "journalists" now feel that rumors are worthy of reporting without any reference to their source (another journalist?) or to give the subject an opportunity to respond (to rumors?) before writing.
In so doing and in engaging in articles that amount to character assassination, don't they lead the way to lower level of communication? I prefer Gray's approach.
Feel free to comment if you wish.