Monday, June 08, 2009

I have to write something about the Franklin thing, don't I?



So like everyone else in Auburnland I've gone over Josh Moon's Advertiser piece on Tony Franklin "airing Auburn's dirty laundry," and my reaction's pretty well in line with with Will's--this isn't the "airing of dirty laundry," it's the journalistic equivalent of clothespinning one pair of old socks to the line. The story's not useless--Franklin's too good a quote for any story featuring him this heavily to not be worth some kind of look--but there's just not that much here. (Unlike Will, though, I don't blame the Advertiser for trying to milk the story for whatever bit of attention they can get--we're talking about newspapers, so it's desperate times, desperate measures, and all that.)

I would say there's one truly new piece of public information here, and that's Franklin's "all they do is pray" characterization of Tubby and crew as, well, blithering zealots. While Franklin may have a point that this isn't the approach most likely to create a friendly, comfortable atmosphere for an incoming coach, the main thing I learned from these comments was: Tony Franklin is a horse's ass. Not that we didn't know that already, more-or-less, but publicly bringing your former colleague's expressions of faith into a discussion on why you failed at your job? Publicly accusing them of a crime as deeply personal as false piety? Attention Tony: Jesus had the right to call out the Pharisees for this stuff by virtue of being, you know, the Son of God and all. I don't think you've quite earned the right.

Other than that, I don't have too much to offer in the way of reaction. Aside from the religion comments, Franklin continues to be what he's been since the minute Tubby dismissed him: an engaging guy who should earn plenty of sympathy by virtue of the impossible task he was asked to perform and the (genuine, I think) lack of bitterness towards his former employers and colleagues ... but who just loves hearing himself talk and seeing his name in the paper too damn much to ever take the higher road of "no comment, I've moved on." The story's opening line--"Tony Franklin has never been one to chase the spotlight"--has been proven so demonstrably false time and time again since December of 2007 I almost have to wonder if Moon and his apparently guileless editors are trying to be ironic.

As for Tubby, the administration, the rest of the Tuberville staff, it's all the same song-and-dance we've heard before. It's nice to have third party confirmation that the scene behind-the-scenes was as tense and confrontational as we've believed, but I don't know of anyone who's looked at the last few years of public interaction between Tubby and his bosses and come away thinking "Oh, everything's fine."

And, for all the hubbub, surrounding the piece, that's it. There's nothing else to see here. I wish Franklin the best--still--but here's to hoping this really is the last time Auburn hears from him. There can't be anything left to say; surely, surely the vultures have finally picked this carcass clean.

15 comments:

Joshua said...

Jerry, nice commentary. I agree, this is not groundbreaking by any means. The only thing I question is "Why now?" I guess this is just another example of the AL state media taking a non-story and slanting it negatively towards Auburn. You remember the Big Cat weekend? All that was ever written in B'ham was "SECONDARY VIOLATIONS," while ne'er a word concerning the success of this staff's recruiting efforts. Why doesn't the Huntsville Times go up to UT, and question Lance Thompson about his hatred of Saban? This is an agenda, no matter how you look at it. The NCAA is breathing down Bama's neck, and there has to be something negative about AU to be used as a counter-attack. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but when things like this happen over and over, it's not just a coincidence. This is a pattern. It is not a conspiracy, but a true behavior of the state media.

Hobbes said...

If Josh's piece makes Will post more, than it can be all bad.

Hobbes said...

I meant "can't" Not "can"

Marcus said...

I'm with Joshua on this one. Why has there never been an interview with Applewhite discussing why he took a demotion to leave one of the "premier coaching destinations in CFB"?
The religion comments are just dumb. Short of Mother Teresa, there is not a person on the planet that can pull off something as simple as saying grace without looking like a grand standing hypocrite in the eyes of non-believers. However, I just think back to some of the things Dansby said and did and have to believe that at least some of the folks (Chett in particular) are legit. Remember the Arkansas game where Dansby circled the stadium 13 times like Jericho. That gave me chills (well, once they won the game that is).

Anonymous said...

When I read the Advertiser piece, I wanted to say something about xCTF's rant re: religion in the Tuberville regime, but did not have the platform or the appropriate words. Jerry, you have both...thank you!

WDEwg said...

Do we think that because J Jacobs (or whomever dictated to him from the BOT- -if inclined to believe that) picked Chizik, and there was a fresh start- - are the issues outlined by Franklin gone? Not speaking of the religious aspect, but instead the tension/pressure/etc. between the football coaches and admin?

Secondly, do you all think that Chizik has the freedom to operate the football program the way he sees fit? It would seem to me that so far, it looks like he does.

Comm'r of Flesh Wounds said...

Nice analysis, Jerry. I wish there was some journalistic traffic cop who would blow his journalistic integrity whistle on Moon and the other hacks ... "Nothing to see here folks ... move along ... nothing to see here."

Franklin IS a horse's ass and I refuse to acknowledge that his lack of decorum and good judgment is some type of badge of honor, as Moon would like us to believe. Are we supposed to be impressed when he "admits" that he bears some responsibility for the utter failure of the offense last year? "Wow, really? That's a pretty gutsy admission, chief! Next topic: are credit default swaps overrated or a sound financial instrument??"

I disagree that Franklin bears no grudges and is not malicious. Playing the "no hard feelings" angle is the only way someone like Franklin believes he can take a sledgehammer to his former employers and not be dismissed (as he should) as a vindictive hack. This piece (and particularly the comments about religion) just wreak of a sad and bitter man with a malicious axe to grind. The trouble is that, through his proxies and other sources, there's simply no substance or interest in the "TONY FRANKLIN TELLS ALL" story. No one cares. No one is interested. TF is just a shit stain on the AU underpants at this point.

Whether Franklin has reason for feeling aggrieved is besides the point. His objectivity and credibility are in the toilet and, therefore, his "insight" is not worthy of print (to anyone but the most desperate - point taken, Jerry). If TF couldn't get the job done at AU (which he admits), then why is he griping about getting fired - especially when he's still being paid!!?? Seems to me like the guy could salvage some credibility by declining comment but he simply is incapable of shutting his cavernous pie hole.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Thanks all for the nice words.

WDEwg, seeing as how Jacobs--at the very least--is going down with Chizik if the hire turns out to be a bust, I'm sure the Chiznick has the full support of the administration. The previous administration had an investment in Tubby's failure, since it would make them look less like the braindead back-stabbing chimps from the CareerBuilder commericals and more like guys who knew what they were doing all along. The opposite is true for Chizik.

Commish, I do happen to think that Franklin is just far-too-happy-than-he-should-be to speak exactly what's on his mind rather than an axe-grinder and grudge-holder ... but I also wouldn't necessarily disagree with your take, either. I think either interpretation is valid at this point, and whether Franklin is a socially retarded dumbass or a vindictive snake or some combination of the two, I think we can all agree we're done with him.

WDEwg said...

Hillarious reference to the chimps from career builder.

This site is my homepage. Keep up the great work.

sw-al said...

Ooookay, I'm probably going to come off as a Josh Moon fanboy here, but anyways...
1-Unless things have gotten really really really bad at the MA, Moon's not the one writing the "dirty laundry" headlines or promoting the piece to high heaven. The dude's a sports writer.
2-While it's entirely possible Moon just got bored one afternoon, picked up the phone and just happened to get Franklin on the line last week, that's rarely how those things go. More likely, it took a long time to get to that point. Too long for the story to still be relevant, but hey, that's never stopped most editors with a hard on for a particular story. As Jerry says, desperate times and all.
3-It could be the reason you've never read similar stories from Applewhite, Thompson, et al is because they actually have some impulse control over their mouths when talking to the media - something Franklin obviously lacks. And really "I've called UT 15 times and he hasn't returned my calls" doesn't exactly make for scintilating reading.
4- Totally agree with Marcus -re: religious stuff.

Okay, I'm done now with it too.

Here's a Jerry Springer translation for those not wanting to read the previous: "Y'all need to stop hatin' on Moon, Y'all don't know him!" hahaha

Jerry Hinnen said...

sw-al, I think the opening line was obviously a bit much given Franklin's track record, but I don't have anything against Moon for writing the story or even the Advertiser for promoting/running it. I don't think it's going to be held up as a beacon of editorial integrity or groundbreaking journalism anytime soon, but if Franklin was willing to talk, they'd have been silly to turn him down. The days of papers taking a higher road is long over.

OTS said...

I do not see how you can legitimately say it's a 'Bama-centric media just out to get Auburn in this case. At the same time this comes out, the Tuscaloosa News -- after filing at least one FOIA request over the possibility of another PLOI -- is writing stories complaining about how UA is not telling them everything they want to know about the textbook investigation. Likewise, Finebaum keeps tattling on about Internet rumors over the Gadsden stuff, etc. It's hard to claim that's the behavior of a media group looking to protect Alabama.

As for the Applewhite situation, the big reason why there has been nothing on that is because he wasn't willing to talk. I think it's pretty obvious that he was effectively forced out, but again he would have to talk to really get a story (or someone, for that matter), and comments like these made by Franklin are just too damaging for your coaching future, and no one has done it there.

The truth of the matter is that all of these institutions are in the business of making money, end of story. Particularly with print media being a dying technology, they are looking for any way possible to make a buck, and if writing a piece bashing the local school is what it takes to increase the readership, then so be it. Again, that's not conspiracy or a "true behavior" pattern, that's a dying medium trying to stay alive and make a buck by appealing to the lowest common denominator.

tiger7_88 said...

"Publicly accusing them of a crime as deeply personal as false piety?"

Valid point, Jerry. Franklin really had no business going there.

Now, when the newspaper business that you always seem to defend so long and hard decides to get out of the business of accusing (or at least vigorously implying) their political adversaries (i.e. non-liberals and non-Democrats) of false piety, we'll be making some progress, won't we?

easyedwin said...

TF is a total da. In the state of Alabama, one does not dis guns or religion. Obviously the man is not accustomed to prayer, nor is he aware of the power of prayer. Self first is NEVER a good thing. Put a scab on him so he can heal!

Hobbes said...

My 80 year old mom says "of course Franklin thinks religious folks are hypocrites, because if he were religious, he would be one too."