Anti-Duke Manifesto Chapter 3


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“The Anti-Duke Manifesto” was written by Brian Allen, a graduate of both UNC and Duke Law. He has some very interesting points to make about Duke and why people hate the basketball program so very much, it’s a very long read but one that has become the Duke Hater’s bible.  I’ve decided to run this amazing manifesto in chapters.  Welcome to Chapter 3.  Enjoy!

– Chapter Three –

Media Bias

The general public’s unawareness of the above is perpetuated by the sports media’s irrational love for Duke basketball. For reasons unimaginable, sportscasters, commentators, and writers constantly turn blind eyes to the endless reasons to despise the place, all while feeding the myth that Coach K and his Cameron Crazies are embodiments of class. ‘Whats not to like? Theres nothing to criticize,’ is an illustrative quote from Dick Vitale.

The media has become so jaded in its bias that it has taken to viewing Duke players as the victims of unfair and undeserved hostility. Dick Vitale, during Dukes senior night loss to UNC, proclaimed how JJ Redick is the most ‘abused’ player he has ever seen in 27 years of covering college basketball. He went on to lament the verbal abuse and profanity, which, he added, ’should be a no-no in college arenas.’ Again, this from the man who idolizes the Cameron Crazies.

The best example was aired by ESPN immediately after Duke’s second loss to Maryland last season. The network devoted a lengthy segment to the subject of how low opposing fans go to get inside poor JJ Redick’s head. The segment started by showing JJ shooting alone in a quite and dark gym that he considers his sacred home, the absurd implication being that Duke offers a calm and reverent venue. Next, game clips of rival fans, mostly from Maryland, were shown shouting at Redick. From there, JJ himself, in a sickeningly sanctimonious tone of voice, bemoans the startling comments that he has heard from opposing school’s students and fans. Midway through the piece, Chris Collins, of all people, offers his opinions as to what is and is not acceptable from a sportsmanship standpoint. The segment ends with JJ reading poetry and scripture, which he explains, help him through his tribulations. All of this mind you, from a player whose supporting student body annually raises the bar for the most despicable courtside conduct in the country. The entire segment was preposterous, yet, at no point, did ESPN even hint at the possible irony? Well, JJ, to your inspirational book of poetry, please allow me to contribute the following gems, which hopefully will further assist you in your life’s toils:

People who live in glass houses, should not throw stones.

You reap what you sow.

What goes around comes around.

Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

As with its misguided adulation of the Duke student body and players, the media goes to absurd extremes to worship Krzyzewski as the ultimate role model. A classic case in point came in the 2001 season. Duke, in a home game against Georgia Tech, ran its lead to 44 with under a minute to play, due largely to three point shooting that continued long after the point of gratuitous humiliation. Finally, as the clock went under thirty seconds, Duke graciously held the ball for its final possession. Mike Patrick, in his annoyingly dogmatic tone of voice, shouted, ‘Doesn’t that just show what a classy guy Mike Krzyzewski is? He doesn’t want to embarrass anybody.’ It was as if the difference between a 44 and 46 point nationally televised drubbing was somehow a magnanimous show of sportsmanship.

Fox Sports Net recently did its best to promote the Krzyzewski media myth. In its Beyond the Glory series, the network airs periodic one hour biographies on various historical sports figures. As its name suggests, the program typically focuses on the good and the bad of the sports figure at issue. The intent is to reveal the whole person, as opposed to just the already known athletic accomplishments. Drug addiction, gambling, and spousal abuse are examples of the commonly exposed dark themes.

Two years ago, Coach K was the subject. Not once did the program even hint at the possibility of the man having anything short of a model citizen profile. Ignoring the dirty laundry discussed in this writing alone, the entire piece suggested that K was a miracle worker who moved to lowly Durham, North Carolina in order to resurrect a struggling basketball program the same program that played in the national championship game two seasons before his arrival. He was never confronted about his poor sportsmanship, his oft-criticized hypocrisy, the underhanded manner in which he lures players to his school by securing jobs for parents, his controversial television ads, or his gutless buck passing. The only criticism was one from K himself. He faulted himself for underestimating how ‘popular’ he would become after winning his first two national titles. He explained how he attempted to meet all of the endless demands for public appearances, which triggered the exhaustion that forced him to quit the 1994-95 season just as the teams season started its way down the toilet. That Ks only admitted fault from that season was underestimating his perceived popularity says it all.

It is bad enough that the sports media fails to research the mans background sufficiently to expose these easily discoverable facts. But, thanks to the New York Times, we now know that ignorance and sloppy journalism is not the root cause of the medias misplaced adoration. In his ‘Follow Me’ article, Times writer Michael Sokolove rambled on about the leadership virtues of Coach K, actually following select chapters from Ks book in the process. On the first page of the article, Sokolove cited the initial version of this writing as an example of the ‘vitriol’ thrown at Coach K. Sokolove presumably read the paper, as he briefly discussed two scattered points and actually ran a word count on it. Nevertheless, he quickly dismissed the decades of factual evidence and undeniable statistics as the stuff of envy. ‘What the manifesto demonstrates, mainly,’ writes Sokolove, ‘is how satisfying it can be to hate success and, even more so, to hate success linked to virtue.’ Sokolove made no attempt to refute any of the points made, other than to state that it ’seems far-fetched’ to note that much of Dukes success is due to its astounding free throw advantages.

I expect Duke fans to ignore the countless examples that I have cited, but not supposedly objective sportswriters. It is as if the national media is absolutely incapable of objectively considering a well-supported, detailed enumeration of what makes the man so loathsome. Instead these blithely ignorant journalists feed on one anothers misperceptions. It all culminates with absurdities such as Mike Ventres description of Coach K as, ‘the closest thing we have to royalty in college basketball.’

The extent to which the media has become blind in its love for the program as a whole is similarly astounding. Remember a few seasons ago when Duke came back from ten points down to Maryland in the final minute of play? A great comeback, no doubt, but Mike Patrick once again lost all grips on reality by emphatically stating how it was the most amazing thing he had ever seen.

Apparently, Mike missed it when Carolina came back from eight points down in seventeen seconds, with no three-point shot available – against Duke, by the way. Mike also forgot about Duke blowing a 40-19 halftime lead against UVA during the 1994-95 season for the biggest ACC choke in five years.

To this day, we are still afflicted with video clips of Christian Laettner’s buzzer beating shot against Kentucky in the 1992 regional finals. Undoubtedly, it will remain firmly etched in the middle of CBS’s road to the final four for perpetuity. And why? A dramatic shot? Sure. But how many more spectacular – and far more significant – tournament shots have there been? How about a freshman named Jordan hitting the game winner in the 1982 National Championship game? N.C. State’s Lorenzo Charles dunking home the championship winner the very next year in one of the great Cinderella stories? Padgetts dramatic title game winner for Kentucky; Keith Smarts for Indiana? Its also easy to forget that UConn, two years before Laettner hit his shot, pulled off a far more improbable win when Tate George received a true length of the court pass and beat Clemson at the buzzer. Laettner’s shot was good, but please, for the love of Pete, spare us further viewing of this well-worn piece of film.

And how many times have you heard the media use this curious phrase when heralding Duke and Coach K: ‘all of those national championships.’ Normally, when a phrase begins with the words, ‘all of those,’ it refers to a large multitude. There is only one college hoops program deserving credit for, ‘all of those national championships,’ and it is UCLA. It is just one example of the bogus elitism that the media has bestowed upon Duke more on that later.

Mike P and Dickie V

Certain sportscasters become blubbering idiots as they rant and rave over the perceived virtues of Duke. Dick Vitale, for example, during the first Maryland-Duke game of 2006, shouted that Duke is ‘the Uno Number One program’ and Coach K ‘the Uno Number One Coach.’ J.J. Redick struggled through a poor shooting performance in that same game. Finally addressing the issue, Mike Patrick stated that Redick has ‘about one of these [games] a year.’ Apparently Mike missed J.J.s 6 of 19 masterpiece against unranked Virginia Tech, the 6 of 16 performance against unranked St. Johns, or, for that matter, a career shooting percentage that is well south of the fifty percent mark that truly great shooters attain. Patrick was present for J.J.s 5 of 22 handiwork against Georgia Tech only weeks later and still the Duke love fest continued unabated.

A moderate length book could be written on Vitale and Patricks unabashed love for Duke. As all fans know, both men are unable to speak without the word Duke steadily trickling from their mouths. Recently, ESPN aired the Gonzaga-Stanford game from Spokane, Washington. Vitale was assigned the commentary. Duke had defeated Maryland earlier that day in a solid, but not spectacular, eight point victory. Although he did not cover the game, and was 3,000 miles away from it, Vitale mentioned that he had watched Dukes performance on television. He proceeded to comment repeatedly on the performances of JJ Redick and Shelden Williams, seemingly oblivious to the game that was unfolding live before his eyes.

When Vitale and Patrick work a Duke game together, they frequently become so excited in discussing Coach K and Redick that it seems only a matter of time before one, or both, have an accident on set. Who could forget their commentary during the previously mentioned Georgia Tech game in which they expressed the seemingly sincere belief that K could coach the U.S.A. Bobsled team to a gold medal and that Dukes football program should try to hire the man?

Like the sports writers, Dick and Mike take a head in the sand approach to Dukes many negatives. They teamed up, for example, in calling the Duke-Boston College game this year. In that game, Duke received 37 free throw attempts to BCs 13. The stat appeared briefly on screen during the closing moments of the game. Patrick began to address the numbers by remarking how it is frequently said that Duke makes more free throws than its opponents attempt. Vitale promptly cut-in and explained, ‘Thats because Duke takes it to you,’ as if aggressive play explains why a team is whistled for fewer fouls than its opponent.

Exactly two weeks later, Patrick called the UNC-Georgia Tech game in Chapel Hill. In that game, Tech built a big first half lead. UNC came back, primarily by pounding the ball inside to its star low post player Tyler Hansbrough. Tech accumulated a high foul count as it attempted unsuccessfully to stop Hansbrough with physical interior play. Near games end, a free throw attempt stat appeared showing a 31 19 advantage for Carolina. From this, Patrick explained how Paul Hewitt, Techs coach, seemed to have a legitimate beef about the discrepancy. Earlier in the game, Patrick described the free throw disparity as ‘astounding.’ Any objective commentator would have added something to the effect of, ‘Its not quite what we saw in the Duke-BC game two weeks ago,’ but Patrick never even thought of it.

And yet Patrick managed to outdo himself a few weeks later as Duke was losing in its rematch to FSU. In that game, the unthinkable occurred as FSU actually enjoyed a significant advantage in free throws. Midway through the second half, Patrick, with resentment dripping from every word, noted that Duke has been called for ’so many more fouls’ than FSU that it was a good point at which to address the growing complaints of an officials conspiracy. Immediately, Vitale chimed in as the two emphatically berated the absurdity of this complaint. In their combined minds, this single game was enough to balance the scales and to eliminate any suspicions as to how Duke constantly accumulates prodigious foul advantages over the course of a season.

Because they are so lost in their love for Duke, Vitale and Patrick regularly personify the hypocrisy that is Duke basketball. Just look at their treatment of the free throw discrepancy issue. Better yet, consider Vitales comments during Dukes home loss to UNC on senior night. The man actually credited Duke with overachieving this season. The exact quote was that ‘They have rode (sic) the coattails of two star players,’ and gone on to accomplish far more than could be expected. It was a bizarre statement from the same man who, immediately after UNC won the title in April of 2005, announced that ‘the Dukies will be cutting down the nets in Indy next year.’ In that same game in which Vitale stated that verbal and physical abuse has no place in college athletics, Sean Dockery shoved Tyler Hansbrough in the face during a dead ball. ESPNs own replay showed this clear basis for a technical foul and player ejection, neither of which occurred. Vitale said nothing about it.

Again, it is this shameless double-standard that causes us to hate Duke.