Ain't no Fisking like a Rocky Top Fisking 'cause a Rocky Top Fisking don't stop!
On Monday, CBS Sportsline's Mike Freeman wrote an article titled "Cuffs click, cell doors slam shut and Fulmer skates by," which outright calls Fulmer the kingpin of the "rottenest, most dastardly [program] ever... an historic abomination."
I can't deny we've had some problems on Rocky Top, I've shared my disappointment over Gerald Jones' pot charge and Joel's voiced his with Britton Colquitt's DUI. Still, I'd characterize these incidents more as "young people doing stupid things" (really stupid things in the case of DUI) more than rotten or dastardly. And "historic abomination?" Bit strong, yes?
For my part, the egregious nature of Freeman's article will not stand. Not because it trots out opinion dressed as fact (which it does) or because it comes to the party way late (calling out Fulmer for basically the same stuff Adams did last week, and making charges that Fulmer has already defended himself against before Freeman ever sat down to drivel out this tripe). The point of the article was at least in part to be so incendiary that it can't be ignored. And it is. In fact, that's the only thing Freeman did right.
Ok, maybe that's not fair, Freeman does demonstrate ability to use a thesaurus, at different points characterizing the behavior of Tennessee players as "scrofulous ruthlessness" and "scabrous acts." I fully plan on using "scrofulous" at my earliest opportunity.
However, the biggest error made by Freeman is in trying to be relevant and funny... and failing miserably in both. Want bad pop culture references and weak, played-out jokes? Freeman's got 'em:
I can't imagine what it takes for Fulmer to toss someone off the team. A meeting with the Taliban? Eating someone's liver with fava beans?
Look, if you want to make fun of the legal problems Tennessee has had, go ahead -- lord knows we've earned it. Just, if you're going to do it, make it funnier than the Fulmer Cup (good luck). At least what Orson concocted objectively points out what we already know: that lots of programs have lots of kids doing things they shouldn't do.
But to straight-faced state that what's happening in Knoxville is worse than what's happening at many other schools, or what's happened in the past, or that it's being ignored at best and orchestrated at worst by the head coach (a man I'd wager Freeman hasn't talked to for five minutes in his life) is utter folly. And to regurgitate and hyperbolate police blotter into The Worst Thing That Ever Happened is borderline lazy.
The last clue that this Freeman cat is disconnected from anything resembling current reality is one of his closing lines:
What Freeman really wants here, I suppose, is a change in the culture of college campuses. A noble request to be sure, but one that is both unlikely and difficult to construct a reasonable argument for. So instead, he takes the easy and highly clickable route of taking potshots at Fulmer. Unoriginal, unfunny, lazy potshots.
Two words, Freeman: Epic fail.
Update [2008-2-26 20:22:15 by CornFromAJar]: Turns out SMQ wrote this first and wrote it better; read it here. Orson also had his say. Keep it coming, any hatchet thrown at Freeman shall not be thrown in vain.