"Your current posting status of banned prohibits you from posting."
With the appearance of that one sentence, I had reached an Notre Dame sports blogger's nirvana. I am banned from posting on "NDNation.com."
Most Irish fans are familiar with the site, which is a forum for Irish fans to communicate their feelings about all things Notre Dame. Venting is the one word that describes most of the information exchange.
Over the last few weeks, the venting has been extremely negative. When folks have disagreed, the regulars and board ops folks have taken retribution. These boards are not about free and open discourse. If you disagree with the "Board," you will get banned.
My own path to ostracism started when I opined that the University of Notre Dame would retain Charlie Weis. The Board had been ripe with emotion and vitriol, but firing coach Weis did not make logical sense.
As I pointed out in another article on Bleacher Report, a pure cost-to-benefit analysis showed that the coach should be retained. I never argued that he was doing a great job. I believe that Weis is a smart man who can coach but does not know how to teach. He had shown a willingness to make changes, though, and I thought at the time that Mr. Swarbrick would give him at least one more year. The calls for banning me started with some of those first posts. That I have coached football in the past and that I was positive that the real issues with the team were self-evident did not hold weight with some of the most vocal Weis detractors.
The next straw on the proverbial camel's back came when I questioned "El Kabong's" (a.k.a. Mike Coffey's) plan to lay siege to the University's general fund. My cousin and I had both been Notre Dame Scholars. We had both relied on the stipend that came with that designation to defer the cost of tuition. We would never have had the wherewithal to attend the school without it.
My cousin went on to receive a PhD in math. After a short career as a teacher, I have spent 20 years serving my country. I think that the university shaped both of us. But we gave back as well. We brought a perspective to it that others there with us might not have understood.
The idea that Notre Dame alumni and friends would withhold money because of the football program is repulsive. When I wrote that my cousin and I would quite likely have been on the outside looking in. Mr. Coffey replied that this was my call to arms and that I should want this action. Had I not been banned shortly thereafter, I would have told him that I had actually approached the university about a seat on the Board of Trustees. Somehow, that seemed like a better plan than taking money away from the university.
Then, Will Yeatman announced that he wanted to leave. The Board began to view his parting as some sort of martyrdom.
I am a Marine. We have Lance Corporal's who might have survived the first strike against Mr. Yeatman, but they would never have made it passed the second. Some of these minors have seen combat in places quite unlike Notre Dame Stadium. Usually, after the first strike, if the decision is to retain, the young Marine gets a lecture on how they need to be a model citizen. They need to avoid the opportunity to fail. Regarding Yeatman, I felt that that he and his lawyer probably had a similar talk.
I wasn't at the house the night that the South Bend cops and the Indiana excise folks decided to raid it. I wasn't there, and Yeatman should not have been there. The cops may have been ill-behaved. They may not have had 100 percent cause to go into that house, but there was definitely one minor who should not have been anywhere near that place.
The issue was personal responsibility. Funny, from the statements I have read from Will Yeatman, he knows this. And for that reason, I wish that he would stay. I voiced my opinion and I was banned.
Notre Dame is the greatest University on Earth. I believe that. I love Notre Dame football, but Notre Dame would still be Notre Dame without football. It would be a different place, but I believe it would still be great.
If Notre Dame is going to have a football team, the program should be at the top. Domers are competitive in everything that we do, and we expect that commitment across all our endeavors.
My hope is that those who frequent the Irish blogs do so with caution. These sites make no claim to being free and open forums. Participation is at the discretion of the administrators, and their bias may affect the content that is presented. They have an agenda.
Right now, that agenda appears to be forcing the administration to fire coach Weis.