An idiot speaks nonsense, and the world listens. Shame on the idiot? Nah. That's what idiots do. They speak nonsense.
But shame on the world for listening.
Shame on any of us -- well, shame on any of you -- who have taken seriously Steve Spurrier's runaway ego or fabulist Paul Finebaum's runaway imagination. Those nonsensical idiots.
|The crystal ball -- actually, two of them -- says Gainesville is much better for Urban Meyer than South Bend. (Getty Images)|
In fairness to the truth -- yo, Finebaum, that's spelled t-r-u-t-h -- Meyer started the rumor himself. He's a devout Catholic and a former Notre Dame assistant, and when he was asked in December about Notre Dame, he stupidly but honestly called it his "dream job." That's where the rumor started, but it's a dumb rumor. It's intellectually dishonest to believe it, much less to spread it.
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But Spurrier spread it in May when he went on Finebaum's radio show somewhere in the South -- Google Finebaum if you care; I can't believe I'm even typing that huckster's name -- and said, "They've still got that rumor down there that if [Meyer] has about one more big year he might be the Notre Dame coach."
Finebaum expanded last week on Spurrier's jealous-speak with a column in a paper in the South -- oh hell, here's the link; see this guy's "work" for yourself -- where he wrote, "Urban Meyer is probably leaving Florida after the season to go to Notre Dame."
Finebaum's source? He doesn't mention one. Because he doesn't have one. His source is either Spurrier's "rumor down there," or that vast empty space Finebaum calls his skull. (Does it seem personal, my viewpoint on Finebaum? It's not. I don't know him. Don't want to know him. Don't respect him. Don't believe him. That clear?)
Normally, I'm staying out of stuff like this. Meyer coaches at Florida, I graduated from Florida, and the whole conflict-of-interest thing bores me to tears. Write something nice on the Gators, and people call me a Gator homer. Write something mean -- which I've done a lot more frequently -- and people ignore my background. Until I write something nice again. At which point I'm a homer again. The whole thing is tedious. I root for one thing, and one thing only, and that's for MMA to become the biggest sport in this country. Everything else, including Florida football, is a bug under my microscope. I'll study it. I might even be fascinated by it. But I won't cheer for it. Gross little bug. ...
But this? I can't stay out of this. I can't sit back and watch Spurrier, out of sheer envy, try to torpedo the guy who has eclipsed him at Florida. True, Spurrier laid the foundation there. He won a national title. Won more than anyone had won at Florida. Made it a football school -- until Spurrier arrived in 1990, Florida was a women's gymnastics school -- that could attract the likes of Urban Meyer.
Spurrier laid the foundation, then built a mansion. Ron Zook replaced Spurrier and was replacing the mansion with a trailer park when he got fired. Meyer came in and rebuilt Florida into one of the three most exclusive properties (with Southern California and Texas) in college football. And Spurrier doesn't like it. He's a UF alum, so he wants the Gators to do well. But this well? Better than when he was the coach? Nah. Spurrier doesn't want that.
So Spurrier takes a comment Meyer made in December about Notre Dame being his "dream job" and turns it into that rumor down there.
And then Finebaum, a third-rate hack with a fascination for fiction, wrote the same thing last week.
And it's just not fair. Not fair to Florida as a program or Meyer as a coach. Yes, he made that "dream job" comment, but allow me to expand on that.
As a kid, Sports Illustrated was my dream job. I wrote letters to the editor until they finally published one (on Hakeem Olajuwon) in the Dec. 12, 1983 issue. I was 13. Jim Brown was on the cover. It's in a frame on my wall. Even now, given my background, Sports Illustrated is probably my "dream job." But if they offered me a position tomorrow, would I take it? No. Because Sports Illustrated isn't what it was in the 1980s.
Kind of like Notre Dame.
But the Meyer rumor won't leave. Newspapers in Gainesville, Fla., Nashville, Tenn., and Orlando, Fla., have written about it, all in the past six days. Why? Because of Spurrier. And Finebaum. Neither of whom has given this any thought at all, because Meyer could have taken the Notre Dame job in December 2004 when he left Utah for Florida. It was offered to him. He said no. And in the 4½ years since then, the Notre Dame job has only gotten worse, while the Florida job -- two national titles in three years -- has only gotten better.
I'm not saying Meyer won't leave Florida some day for another job. Smart people do stupid things all the time. Spurrier, for example, left Florida in 2002 for the NFL. Will something like that happen with Meyer? Don't know. But I do know this: For Spurrier to speculate that the dominant coach in his own conference might leave for Notre Dame is patently unfair. And then for Finebaum to write it a month later, in even more assertive terms, is even worse. Journalistically, it's offensive. It's fiction. That's all it is.
And then for the world -- websites, blogs, newspapers, radio and TV -- to build on the quicksand that is a Finebaum column and give the rumor so much weight that it seems almost believable?
When Florida visits South Carolina on Nov. 14, I hope the Gators score a late touchdown to make it 55-3 -- and that they then go for two points. Because Spurrier deserves it.
As for Finebaum, well, it doesn't matter what I hope happens to that guy. He'll scuttle on unscathed. Cockroaches always do.