Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just stop, Auburn

Auburn fans, I ask a favor of you: Stop patronizing Paul Finebaum.

Just stop. Stop listening to Paul Finebaum's radio shows. Do not read his newspaper columns. Do not attend events where Paul Finebaum will be speaking. Stop.

Not because Finebaum's brand of shit-stirring tripe strips the sport of college football of its dignity, demeans its fans by trusting they'll continue to scoop up his pablum no matter how foul-tasting, and helps portray my home state of Alabama as mere state-shaped arena for a new, dumber version of Hatfields-vs.-McCoys--though of course it does all these things. Finebaum is beneath us, but so was that bag of pork rinds I ate for lunch two weeks back. Certain guilty indulgences simply have to be indulged, I know that.

But there's a line at which there's just too much damn guilt. The War Eagle Reader illustrates that line in their report on Finebaum's radio interview with Thom Gossom, Auburn's second-ever black football player, whose memoirs have just been released. TWER reports:
He refers to Auburn as '… a school that’s always had a rap with the racial issue …'and as having 'a reputation as a bad place for black players over the years.' He wants to know if 'that’s been rectified' and also 'why every time there’s a black quarterback down there it’s an instant controversy, one of those may be going on right now … '

Keep in mind this was while discussing a book written about, among other things, Auburn’s leading role in integrating college football in the state of Alabama.
TWER defends Finebaum's contention deftly--
Keep in mind that Kodi Burns is not only the current fan favorite for the starting job but the latest in a long string of black “fan favorite” quarterbacks going back to the early 80s. Pat Washington, Reggie Slack, Dameyune Craig, Jason Campbell and now Kodi — Campbell, Craig, and Slack are arguably the three most popular quarterbacks in recent Auburn history.
--but the implication that a) the Auburn coaching staff's decision on which quarterback to start may be racially motivated b) that Auburn's fanbase, apparently made up of troglodytes fresh from the latest Citizens' Council meeting, will not support black quarterbacks is so utterly ludicrous it needs no response. Finebaum, as always, is more than aware of that and is delighted we're outraged enough to comment. This is his job, his called-to career, the reason he punches in every day.

But there is a point at which a person--well, a person with any kind of integrity--realizes that common decency requires the necessities of the job to be laid aside for a moment. You would think the story of Thom Gossom--pioneer, actor, scholarship football player for Shug Jordan--would be one of those times, a time to celebrate Gossom's remarkable story and marvel how far the state of Alabama has come in only 30-some-odd years.

But Paul Finebaum cannot do this. He cannot marvel, he cannot celebrate, at least not where Auburn is concerned. He has to kick our little hornets' nest and have a laugh at us when we come storming out to defend ourselves. And though I'm quite aware I'm overreacting--of course I am, no need to tell me he's done and said worse--for some reason this feels like a good time to suggest we Auburn fans should do our best to stop ourselves from storming out any further, from wasting any more time on this sad little man.

So, proposed: We do not buy Paul Finebaum's books. We do not patronize the advertisers of his radio show. We do not visit his website of read the blogs of those who associate with him. If we are the sort of Auburn personality who is asked to appear on his show and can afford not to--a request that applies to .000001 percent of Auburn people and a flat 0 percent of JCCW readers, I'm sure, but I can dream--we turn him down. We stop. We just stop.

I'm not an idiot. I know this little call to arms will accomplish precisely nothing. I can't even exactly participate; without the capability of listening to his show, it doesn't mean much that I'm not going to. But I'm not going to click on his columns, not visit his site, not link to anything about him or mention him again. Not because it's going to "make a difference"--it won't mean a damn thing to anyone else.

But like skipping that next bag of pork rinds, it'll mean something to me. And if you're an Auburn fan, I hope maybe it would mean something to you, too.


Anthony Dodd said...

I live in the Birmingham area and I have already turned his station off in the afternoons. I cant stand the Alabama Big-ot. War Damn Eagle!!

Sullivan013 said...

I don't like Finebaum either, but I do like Pat Dye and enjoy his take on Auburn every Monday. Paul can go pound sand, but Dye's take on football in general is usually golden.

Some of his other interviews are worthwhile - Stallings, Theisman, etc. With the download mp3s, I have the option of fast forwarding until the interviews.

Anonymous said...

I am with you on this one. I quit listening to F####### back in April.

Hobbes said...

About five years ahead of you Jerry.

Anonymous said...

As a Bama fan, I'm pretty sure you'll click on his column - and maybe even dial up his webcast - should Auburn get # 7 in November.

Joe Blow said...

You're talking about a guy who, on the OD every Monday, makes a joke about having Pat Dye on that evening, and then mentions that Gene Stallings will be on later that week...followed by a praise. He's said, on several occasions, that one of the main reasons he moved to Birmingham is so he could cover Bryant. He got teary-eyed and was audibly shaken after Logan Young got convicted. I could go on and on.

Acid Reign said...

.....I swore off Finebaum after the way he pumped up the Bowden/Lowder feud. No need for facts, just make sh__ up, and pour on the gas!

.....I won't listen to it, won't read it, if the Toad's name is on it.

Kenny said...

I listened to that same interview, and I did not take that meaning that the wareaglereader took from it at all. The interview with Gossom was mainly about how difficult it was to integrate in the 60s. I do not think that it would surprise anyone that it was not an easy thing at all.

I suppose if you listened to the interview, and did not understand the context you could take it as a slam on Auburn. I think it is obviously safe to assume that Alabama and probably every other major school in the south had those same problems. This is an issue that is not pretty, and if you are looking at it from the prism of today, I think you are missing a lot of what the interview was about.

As to the criticism that Finebaum has said that Auburn is having a quarterback controversy because of race. I would say the person is either not listening to the whole of the program, or is taking out of it only what they want to hear. I do not think it would surprise anyone that the idea of racism in the quarterback controversy was brought up by Alabama fans. For whatever reason some people think the same thing that happened between Andrew Zow and Tyler Watts, is the same thing happening at Auburn. While, perhaps it may not seem that long ago I think times have dramatically changed in the sports world, and the idea of a black quarterback is not an issue any more. I have constantly heard Paul say that he does not believe that, especially in relation to Tuberville and Franklin.

I will just say that people are being too thin-skinned on this issue. The real issue is not whether there is a race issue at Auburn, it is does Auburn have a legitimate SEC quarterback? Obviously we will know a lot more about that after tonight.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Kenny, thanks for your thoughts. It's technically possible, I suppose, that TWER got the wrong gist of the conversation and it's also true my take is another step removed and sorta hearsayish.

BUT the TWER guys know what they're doing and aren't the types to exaggerate, and regardless, Finebaum (as so many others in this thread have pointed out) is best ignored anyway. Again, I'm glad to have an opposing viewpoint aired, but I stand by the post.

Joe Blow said...

And you should stand by it. A coworker had him on this afternoon. He hasn't sounded that giddy since the 2004 bowl games were announced (Finebaum, not my coworker).

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more and have sworn off Finebaum for the 2008 season and could not be happier. Dunaway & Brown on AM 690 in B'ham is a MUCH higher quality show, with better quality callers and actual discussions of relevant topics by reasonable, intelligent hosts.