Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Rebuttal

It’s ridiculous that I even have to write this and defend myself, but the sad reality is that there are way too many people who take sports just a tad too seriously and are calling for my head, so I feel like this is the only way to get everyone to put down their pitchforks and torches.  It would be comical if it weren’t so sickening and pathetic.

Here’s what happened:

I’ve been planning for months to write a blog entry about my experience at the Indy 500 because it’s my favorite sporting event in the world and is something I look forward to every year.  After I wrote something about my mom on the day after Mother’s Day, I figured I’d just wait until after the race to post my next blog entry.  But then I realized that if I waited until after the race, there would be a three and a half week gap between each of my posts, which would have lead to complaints from the people who regularly read the blog.  See, that’s what we do here – I try to see how long I can go without writing something and then the people who regularly read the blog playfully give me crap for being lazy.  It’s kind of the ongoing theme of this blog, really.  And it’s made for a great relationship for the past two and a half years.

So as a way to keep my regular readers from getting on me for not writing something in a long time, I figured I’d throw them a bone and write a quick blog post before the race.  I sat down at my computer and racked my brain trying to think of what to write about, before it hit me that I had gotten a handful of emails and tweets from people asking me about the Tressel/OSU football stuff.  Since I had nothing better to write about and was basically just writing a filler post anyway (I explicitly said it was a filler post in the first sentence), I figured “ah, what the hell” and decided I’d just give my take on that issue. 

This notion that I wrote it so I could get attention or more hits on my blog couldn’t be further from the truth.  I have no advertising on the blog, I barely take the thing seriously (which is why the design of the site sucks and I haven’t ever considered changing it), and I infrequently post new entries.  Before yesterday, it had been over a year since the last time I even checked to see what kind of traffic the blog had been getting.  Hell, I’ve been writing about the significance of pooping in front of your girlfriend/wife, Spaghetti O’s, and my mom for the past month and a half.  Why would I write about stuff that has exactly no mass appeal if I cared even the slightest bit about blog hits?  And since I have no advertising, how could I possibly benefit from getting more blog hits anyway, especially when the increased traffic I did get came from maniacal Ohio State fans who would be perfectly fine if I ceased to exist (it’s not like these people are going to buy t-shirts or my book or anything)?  Plus, if I really was trying to start a sh*tstorm, I would have said more than just “the football players always seemed to have nice cars when I went to OSU” and instead would have made up much more scandalous stuff like I saw Terrelle Pryor being handed an envelope full of cash or something.

Truth be told, I don’t want more blog hits and I don’t really care if my blog gets more attention. I’m perfectly fine with my audience of a few thousand who, like me, don’t take things too seriously and enjoy a cheap laugh or two.  We were all doing just fine before the masses of crazed OSU fans from message boards and forums all over the internet flocked here and called for my head.

Now that we got that settled, a few of you rational people might still be wondering what there was to gain by writing it anyway.  Well, my only intention was to give my thoughts to the people who had asked me about it.  Believe it or not, there are people who read this thing and aren’t from Ohio, and a few of them wanted to hear about what’s going on in Columbus from a guy who has been relatively close to it for the past few years.  So I basically just said that while it might seem like I would know a lot about the situation, the truth was that I was just a bystander to everything that went on in the football program and only knew what had been written about in the press.  But having said all of that, any OSU student in the past five years could tell you that a lot of the football players drive nice cars (since most of the people who asked me about the scandal weren’t ever OSU students, I figured that this would be something they would like to know).  You’d have to be blind to not notice it.  I didn’t exactly say anything that tens of thousands of  people on that campus haven’t already noticed themselves.  And besides, it’s not like the NCAA was going to throw the case out until they read my blog.  Nothing I wrote will have any impact whatsoever on the impending investigation, so from that standpoint it’s ridiculous that this is being made a much bigger deal than it really is.

My intent is all a moot point anyway. So many of you are calling me out for throwing my alma mater under the bus, while I see it the exact opposite way – I’m holding my alma mater accountable.  No, scratch that. I’m holding my alma mater’s football team accountable (it might be hard to believe, but OSU has plenty more to offer than just a football team – like this for example).  Instead of brushing things under the rug and trying to justify and defend everything that the football team is being accused of, I’m of the opinion that acknowledging flaws is not only the right thing to do, it’s the healthy thing to do as well.  I know how important the football team is to the school and I know that to many people around the country, the football team is really the only thing they think about when someone says “Ohio State.”  Because of this, I want the football program to be an honorable one (like we thought it was), so people around the country associate Ohio State with integrity and class instead of whatever it is they associate OSU with now.  Pretending that something isn’t going on when all the evidence points to the contrary is incredibly irresponsible and is how we got into this whole mess in the first place (Tressel didn’t speak up when something was amiss).  Call me crazy, but I’d much rather lose every single game with integrity than win a slew of national championships by cheating.

So all of you “real” Buckeye fans who want to disown me as a Buckeye for pointing out an obvious observation after I was prompted to do so, by all means go ahead.  I’m hopeful that for every one of you irrational people there are two other Buckeye fans who feel the same way I do and will welcome me with open arms to Buckeye Nation.  It doesn’t make you any more of a fan than us because you blindly support your team without acknowledging the fact that there is a lot of shady stuff going on (and let’s make that perfectly clear – there is shady stuff going on. Just how much shady stuff still remains to be seen).  We care just as much about the Buckeyes as you do, which is why we acknowledge flaws and want our football team (as well as every other team and all other aspects of the school) to be held accountable to fix those flaws.

In conclusion, I hope nobody took this the wrong way.  In no way was this meant to be an apology for what I wrote yesterday.  I stand by everything I said, because frankly, nothing I said should ever have been made a big deal in the first place.  Some of you got your panties in a bunch because I didn’t have the facts, but I think you misinterpreted what I said. I do have facts.  It’s a fact that I’ve seen football players driving what every other student on campus would consider to be nice cars.  It’s a fact that when I was on a basketball scholarship for two years (which I’m eternally grateful for, by the way, and if you think for one second that I’m not, you can suck my oversized balls), I could not afford to buy the cars that the football players had.  Those are the facts.  The facts I don’t have are how the football players got the cars.  I, like all Ohio State fans, hope that they got them by following NCAA rules.  Sadly, though, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it must mean that these guys are either getting serious discounts on their cars or they’re getting them for free.  Stop being so naïve.

One last point: The bit I wrote about how I would never let protecting the basketball team get in the way of a good story wasn’t meant to be taken seriously (neither is about 95% of what I write).  While I do want the basketball program to be held accountable and I do think they should be called out when they screw up, the fact of the matter is that while I played at OSU, I never once saw anything that seemed to be shady from any of the players or coaches.  The only reason I wrote that yesterday is because I’ve been taunting the basketball coaching staff for over a year now about how I could trash the program in my book if I wanted.  I would never do such a thing, but it’s fun to tease them about it and make them sweat over the possibility of me saying unflattering things about their program.  For the first time in five years, I have some sort of power in the basketball program, which is why I like playfully using it whenever I can.  It’s basically just my way of pranking the coaching staff, so it really shouldn’t be interpreted as anything other than that.

(I know I probably just pissed off a lot of you who had been defending me, since writing this makes me look like a bitter douche who is stooping to the irrational people’s level.  And for that I’m sorry.  I probably should have just let it blow over instead of looking like a whiny bitch, but after about the 1,000th time of being personally attacked and accused of stuff that is the exact opposite of the truth, I had to speak up.  I swear that this is the last time I’ll acknowledge this ordeal at all, but I had to get all of this off my chest before I moved on.  So now that I’m done, I swear I’m done for good.  I’ve got more important things to worry about now.  The Indy 500 is only five days away.)

Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder