Even for a collegiate sports landscape more concerned with optics than decency, yesterday’s snub of Brandon Miller was particularly egregious.
Even for digital media more consumed with hollering first and loudest, the past few weeks of character assassination and defamatory hit pieces have gone beyond the pale.
We’ve been pushing back here, based solely on the legal standard and actual facts as known, using statements from TPD and the Alabama Code, but when you’ve got a soiled diaper to smear on someone’s screen, who cares about “facts” or “law?”
Finally, it seems as though some pushback from the legacy folks has begun.
Our old frenemy ScarBo has been remarkably even about this the whole time. Whoever thought that Scarbinsky would be the voice of reason for digital imprints? Certainly not me, yet he has.
Delete the question mark. Replace it with an exclamation point. pic.twitter.com/NXM84mTr6u— Kevin Scarbinsky (@KevinScarbinsky) March 4, 2023
That was followed up with this column today:
This is paywalled, so I won’t take food off of Kevin’s plate, but the first few ‘grafs give you an idea of Scarbo’s message here — too many people are trafficking in hot takes unmoored from the facts as-known, each one trying to out-screech the next in a shrill race for attention.
And that is an injustice.
There are things we know. These things are called facts. Some of you are interested in them and understand their value. There are other things we believe, based on what we think we know. Those things are called opinions.
There are times when the distance between fact and opinion is so vast it becomes a void. Some of you have thrown Brandon Miller into that void. Short of facts. Long on opinion. With a reckless disregard for the truth behind a senseless tragedy.
Cynically, you may say “well, Scarbo knows which side of the bread is buttered. He’s gonna’ get more subs from Alabama locals using honey instead of vinegar.” Even if that’s true, 1. It doesn’t change the soundness of his position, and 2. does not explain some other national folks have begun to say much that same as Scarbinsky is. A pushback had to happen.
Fortunately, it seems that the pushback is beginning, even if gently.
Brandon Miller is not a wooden award finalist. pic.twitter.com/xNwoABuUCc— College Basketball Report (@CBKReport) March 4, 2023
Only one SEC player among 15 finalists for Wooden Award: Oscar Tshiebwe - and not Brandon Miller— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) March 4, 2023
Brandon Miller and Angel Reese being left off the Wooden Award final 15 is absolutely nuts. Miller whatever he happened off the court, but you can’t sit here and tell me Isaiah Wong and Antoine Davis are better than him. Davis is not putting up these numbers in a power 5.— Gaurav Law (@glawb45) March 4, 2023
This is just insane https://t.co/eqt6khm8pW— Matthew Travis (@MatthewJTravis_) March 4, 2023
Then today the Wooden Finalists were announced, and Brandon Miller’s name was not on the list. Now, I totally understand he hasn’t helped his case winning over the hearts of voters, but the award is for the best basketball players in the country and it’s a simple fact he is one of those players. Voters are allowed to deem his involvement in off the court matters as a reason to not reward his play on the court, but if this wasn’t going on how many voters would leave him off the Top 15? I’d say zero. Just watch him play, look at his stats and it is very evident he’s one of the top 15 players in the nation. If you don’t want him to win it, and don’t vote for him to win it, that’s one thing, but you cannot leave him off the list completely…that’s an insult to the award.
This is where we remind you that just a week ago, Miller had the 4th best Vegas odds to take home the award.
But, perhaps the best straight talk came from well-respected Paul Zeise at the nationally syndicated Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Miller is the highest-profile player on one of the highest-profile teams and naturally his story is going to be one that is told over and over and used as the basis of larger discussions on many issues both on and off the court.
Some of these discussions — like criticism of some of the things Oats said in the aftermath of it all or the pregame ritual of Miller the other day — is earned and fair. Most of it, however, is going to be way-over-the-top shrieking by a lot of people who are ignorant — and many willfully ignorant — of the actual facts of the case.
Then, for the people whose attention span is significantly less than a guppy, he sifts through all the chaff to find the real kernels here — the truth:
The Cliffs Notes version of the facts of the case is Miller gave his teammate, Darius Miles, and his friend, Michael Davis, a ride to a sports bar in the bar district in Tuscaloosa. Miles left his legally registered handgun in the backseat of Miller’s car.
Miller was on his way back to the bar district to pick up Miles and Davis when he got a text from Miles saying he needed his “joint,” meaning his gun. Miller, his attorney said, didn’t even know the gun was in his car.
Miles retrieved the gun and apparently handed it to Davis and Davis fired into a Jeep and killed 23-year old Jamea Harris, whose boyfriend returned fire. Davis apparently got into some sort of beef with Harris, her boyfriend and her group, and that’s what led to the confrontation.
Davis and Miles were charged with murder, as they should have been, but Miller, who had nothing to do with the entire incident, was not charged with anything. So the idea he “supplied” or “provided” the gun used in a murder is patently, 100% false because it wasn’t his gun and he never had possession of it.
The entire thing is worth your read, because it’s no-nonsense plain talk, removed from emotion or pleas for attention on social media.
And if it comes across as a fair interpretation, that’s because under these facts, that’s the only conclusion one could draw.
And the reason he wasn’t charged with anything is because prosecutors said he didn’t commit a crime and therefore they had nothing to charge him with.
Those are the facts, and given those facts, everyone calling for Miller to suspended or kicked off the team, everyone acting as if Oats and/or Alabama are immoral and don’t care that a young woman lost her life is being disingenuous and intellectually dishonest at best and utterly ridiculous at worst.
That sums up Wolken, Mandel, Travis, Toppmeyer, the dunderheaded bad faith merchants at AL.com, and anyone else more concerned with clicks than candor.
Assholes in good faith, I can deal with.
Bad faith, mendacious assholes, I cannot.
And it seems as though the song and dance is beginning to wear thin elsewhere. It’s about time.