Much like adult bookstores in an era of free pornography, one wonders how message boards are still a thing in 2017, especially given the proliferation of Twitter as a medium to discuss sports.
The answer in both cases probably has a lot to do with low overhead and an endless supply of human beings willing to debase themselves.
In any event, these are rough enterprises.
And yet, I’ve got no room to talk. I’ve been a registered member at MemphisTigers.org for over 18 years.
Every hard core Tigers fan should be familiar with MT.org – the predominant Tigers message board since the dawn of the internet. It’s a virtual place to soak in the glory of a win or (more often) marinate in the angst of a loss, program crushing transfer or other such non-tragedy-tragedy.
So you can imagine my excitement this week when I meandered over to MT.org and was treated to some unsolicited feedback regarding the recent content on BBALLJONES.com.
Some of the comments, having mainly to do with our latest column on Gary Parrish’s incessant disregard for reality, were positive. On the other hand, a lot of them went like this…
HometownTiger: “Who is Jay Brenner??”
Bsquared – 2: “Man talk about someone that has an agenda. I just can’t take him seriously when it seems like his main writing/blogging muses are GP and Calkins. Seems like he’s latched on to their coat tails hoping for a ride.”
memtigbb: “He is a lawyer (possibly ex lawyer) who likes to twist words and make it seems like people say things they do not say, then argue against what they did not say to make it seem like it wins….Ridiculous in every possible way.”
With respect to the first question, Who is Jay Brenner?? I’ve been wondering the same thing for years now.
This is an existential topic that deserves a separate post, maybe even a separate blog. For the sake of brevity, let’s just go with the venerable 70’s band, Kansas:
As to the coat tails criticism, sure, there’s some truth to it. Yet it also highlights the underlying point of much of my recent argument.
Geoff Calkins and Gary Parrish are the two loudest and most influential opinions in the city of Memphis on Tiger basketball. To some extent, Tubby Smith (or any other coach) can become a failure when they begin to loudly proclaim as much.
Negativity becomes toxic. Toxicity influences fan support. Fan support influences recruiting. Etc.
That doesn’t mean Calkins and Parrish are responsible for the fortunes of Tiger basketball. They don’t work for the University of Memphis Athletic Department. They have other jobs that involve the written and spoken word.
Speaking of twisting words for wins, let me make one additional point on Parrish.
We all know he helped shape the national perception of Tubby Smith’s first season at Memphis a few weeks back when he declared in a national column that Smith had “made a mess” of Memphis after the controversial transfers of KJ and Dedric Lawson.
But how did Parrish cover similar program gutting, controversial transfers under former Tigers coach Josh Pastner?
I searched Twitter archives and wasn’t entirely surprised to find no similar declarations that Pastner had “made a mess” of Memphis. This despite the fact that when Austin Nichols transferred in the Summer of 2015, he became the 10th of 17 scholarship athletes to bolt the Memphis program under Pastner.
Other national outlets had Pastner on the hot seat at that point.
So did the Memphis fan base.
Parrish mainly blamed the Memphis athletic department.
His national article breaking the news of Nichols leaving didn’t even mention Pastner’s name.
His subsequent skewering (below) focused almost exclusively on the missteps of Athletic Director Tom Bowen. If you read it carefully, it almost seems as if he’s saying Bowen embarrassed Pastner.
Athletic departments would be wise to learn from the messy divorce between Austin Nichols and Memphis.
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) July 16, 2015
Bottom line, Parrish could’ve absolutely buried Pastner in 2015 and decided not to.
Clearly, there’s an agenda.
But then again, so what?
Everyone has an agenda. Let’s just not pretend otherwise.
College basketball writers, like message board administrators, have a rough job.
Perhaps not as rough as the folks that work at adult bookstores, but rough nonetheless.