Monday, March 12, 2007


No, just kidding - Cal as expected has closed spring practice to the public. I'll never understand why fans bitch about this. I'm as big a Cal fan as the next guy, and the quality of my life isn't compromised by JT closing practices. What are we missing? Half-assed critiques of player performance on a message board? This isn't a knock on Cyberbears at all, which features some incredibly knowledgeable football analysts. I just prefer to analyze Cal's talent based on what I see with my own eyes.

I for one am more than content waiting for the coaches to tell me who's doing well when they leak stuff through Heater and other scribes, or when they release an early depth chart. Until then, we can find other things to obsess about:

* Like Erik Ainge's torn meniscus. I for one hope that he makes a quick recovery, though it's certain he'll miss all of spring practice. Meniscus injuries are odd things; sometimes athletes recover in a few weeks; other times it takes much longer to get back to 100%. It's not so much that Ainge needs the work; but he is trying to establish chemistry and timing with a fleet of new receivers.

* Or Cal's '08 football recruiting. UCLA has a bunch of very early commits; good for them. Some early commits stick; lots look elsewhere as it gets closer to signing day...eleven months from now. It's better to have them than not, though, since it can create momentum in a region like LA (where the Bruin commits hail from). For those interested, Cal has only one '08 commit - OL Tyler Rigsbee, whose dad is the AD at Butte JC. For the record, I'm not worried.

* Or DeVon Hardin's draft status. His returning to school seems like a no-brainer, but stranger things have happened (Jamal Sampson). Never underestimate the NBA's willingness to whisper sweet nothings to players who have more upside than achievement on the resume. Here's hoping that the big guy makes the right call and returns to Berkeley next year. We don't want yet another mulligan for Mr. Braun.

* And finally, the complete and utter lack of white supremacist symbols and rhetoric associated with our football team. Are we just going to let USC set the standard for everything in this conference? Seriously (for those of you who didn't get the sarcasm) I'd like to hear from someone - anyone - who can justify the fact that USC is washing its hands of the affair. Boys will be boys, but boys usually don't juxtapose flaming swastikas with their school's logo on Facebook. Our friends at Conquest Chronicles are suitably outraged (as is every other Trojan I know), but the school is looking the other way. What gives?


At 10:24 PM, Anonymous practice makes perfect said...

closed practices can't u just get on top tite wad hill and watch or join da trees itters and watch from there?

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Rick Santorioaza said...

someone said da trea satters may attackey the ployers thaas yeer...

At 10:11 AM, Anonymous osito said...

can i get oski dressed up in da costume 2 come 2 my daughters quincenera? she is a big fan.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Seth said...

I don't think we should be able to see the practices. Simply put, the players need to concentrate. And the coaches need to feel they can say what needs to be said, without it ending up in the Daily Cal or SF Comical.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Pete Morris said...

On the USC Facebook fiasco:

I, too, breathed a big sigh of relief that this wasn't Cal, while at the same time shaking my head in disbelief--yet again--at the level of naivete in Trojan land. For a program so centrally in the national spotlight, it's quite remarkable how its players so consistently put themselves in such stupid positions. There is no question that Clay Matthews and Co. should have known better.

All that said, I'm inclined to cut them some slack on this one. By all appearances, this was intended as an inside joke, one that sarcastically poked fun not at Blacks or any other racial/ethnic group, but instead at racists themselves. Think Swift's Modest Proposal, just much more awkwardly done. I normally consider myself to be a proud leftie and to view "politically correct" as a terribly overused label; racism most certainly remains no laughing matter in the U.S. today, but perhaps in this case, we are being just a tad too serious.

Still, how stupid and naive can you get? Of course this wouldn't remain an inside joke and of course it would ruffle a lot of feathers. I blame it on the Will Ferrell effect. To his credit, Pete Carroll maintains a very loose atmosphere around Troy, which a lot of his players respond to. But perhaps there is a less-than-attractive flip-side to that same "Old School" attitude. It's times like these that make me appreciate the value of having such a serious hard-ass like Tedford in charge of our boys at Berkeley.

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous dude bear said...

maybe they r tryin 2 keep da mormons away from da practices. so they can keep longshore from goin on his mission.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Tightwad said...

Pete, I'm with you up to a point. And that point is where the SC players put cartoons, symbols etc on the Facebook page that could (and almost surely have been) taken out of context. Put another way, there's a high hurdle for anyone who seeks to use a swastika in a humorous or satirical way.

I agree that there's no need for over-reaction, but I am surprised to see so little reaction from SC's administration. Carroll basically brushed it aside. You'd think that the players in question would benefit from - at the least - some education about how hate groups use the Net. Would it make a difference? Probably not. But if I'm a USC football player, Carroll and the administration haven't given me a good reason to think twice about this sort of stuff in the future.

At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your take is practically identical to mine. I really thought this was a typically overblown story at first. I spent too much time at UCLA listening to hypersensitive whiners trying to demonstrate how every perceived racial slight, minor or otherwise, meant the imposition of Jim Crow laws and the return of Bull Connor to take this story too seriously. But the swastika, even in this context, is just so over-the-top and inexcusable that I wonder just what behavior Carroll and the USC adminstration have to be confronted with before they get serious about discipline. I take the players and coaches at their word when they deny harmful intent and the ethos of the locker room is obviously different. Acceptable conduct in the locker room may not be acceptable outside the locker room, and it is understandable that these guys simply acted foolishly in not seeing the boundaries better. But I can't imagine how these guys thought the locker room mentality was appropriately transferable to Facebook and public consumption, especially using the swastika. At best, this was a tremendous lapse in judgment, and I am surprised, as you appear to be, that the whole thing has been simply waved off with no adverse consequences of any kind, other than perhaps PC telling the guys to be more discrete.


At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Jebidiah Smith said...

mormons are gonna get tedford and longshore!


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