Monday, August 1, 2011

T-Town Menswear - The Drama!

Cecil Hurt. Or 'Mr. Excitement',
as I like to call him.
Saturday, Cecil Hurt weighed in on the whole T-Town Menswear episode ( - HURT: Al Betar nothing like Ohio State's trouble), and if you've been paying any attention to Paul Finebaum the past week, he said about what you would expect.

That this whole matter with the suits and memorabilia probably doesn't amount to much.

Quick aside on Cecil: is there a more drab sounding person? Does he get invited to any dinner parties?

Of course, this all sprang from my buddy Clay Travis' new website, and how they uncovered (and documented, and re-documented, and re-re-documented...) what seems to be a pretty odd relationship between an suit store owner and college football players.

And, as expected, the reaction from the fan bases has been extreme. Message boards have been buzzing, launching grenades at each others' camp. Facebook fan page sites go straight at the messengers, blasting and praising in the comment sections.

Clay's even picked up a few death threats. And while I don't necessarily know this, I doubt they are his first.

Much longer aside on Clay: Of course, Clay responds to those death threats with his smart-ass demeanor, posting the individuals' phone numbers and email addresses. But that's Clay, for better or worse. To be fair, I don't recall EVER having a death threat thrown my way, so maybe I'd react similarly - I don't know. I think Clay's an alright guy - just doesn't always recognize when it's best to just bow to absurdity than confront it head-on. A quick, abbreviated example:

Never met a redneck he
didn't want to argue with.
I was with Clay back in late June at a Birmingham bar. It was a weeknight, laid back. We ran into a gentleman who was 1) drunk and 2) a redneck - stellar combination. Clay was describing something, and the drunk redneck interjected claiming that Clay was using the wrong terminology. I don't even remember the words that were being compared - just that I quickly realized that 'Neck wasn't interested in reasoning. Clay decided to debate drunk redneck on the matter, and there was a bit of a back-and-forth that didn't result in much compromise. Now, I'm not sure if the phrase "Ass-Whoopin'" was ever actually uttered, but this exchange was definitely heading in that direction. I, of course, pleaded with Clay to just say to 'Neck, "You're right, I should of used that word instead." He never did that, and fortunately another friend distracted 'Neck enough that 'Neck forgot about their conversation.

Again, I think Clay's a good guy, and for the most part, I've enjoyed the few opportunities I've had to work with him. Just sometimes it's best to not battle against folks who aren't interested in reason or rationale thought. But, he likes the debate.

Now, back to the story at hand...

I've had quite a few friends ask me for my thoughts on this situation, and they have graciously offered me their own. And - no surprise - the viewpoints fall right across party lines. Auburn (and non-Bama) fans think Trent Richardson should never play another down, and Alabama fans think that Clay Travis and Brooks Melchior (SPORTSbyBROOKS) are creating this story only in an effort to get web hits for their respective websites. (Clay's website,, debuted during SEC Media Days, 12 days ago.)

I am of the opinion that this whole thing is great gossip, but if you're thinking this could lead to scholarship reductions, forfeited games, or ineligibility of a set of players - I think you'll be disappointed.

1) There's just too many unknowns and jumped-to conclusions/insinuations. Like in the case of Julio Jones' suits, we are asked by OKTC whether or not Julio can afford all those suits. Well, I don't know if Julio can or can't. Did he buy them or rent them? And, as many Bama fans have pointed out, it may not be that many suits - just different shirt/jacket/pants combos.

For me, when the question line is extended further and further, and you have to continue to 'leap' to answers - with no question concretely answered - you aren't getting closer to the truth. You're getting closer to the answer you want to hear.

2) It seems that these days that as long as you cooperate with the NCAA, things will turn out okay. The NCAA just doesn't like to get embarrassed.

Jim Tressel and crew at Ohio State? Misled and didn't inform anyone of what they knew. And that turned out bad.

Bruce Pearl? Said he couldn't recognize his own house. Bruce, of course, isn't coaching right now.

USC? Ka-Boom. (Affording Lane Kiffin the opportunity to coach - and make money - pressure-less for the next five years. Not fair.)

Alabama - as far as the evidence displayed to this point shows - followed procedure when they became aware of what was going on. Sent a cease and desist letter to the business and disassociated themselves from the individual.

Yes, I've seen the questions about it being hand-delivered and whether or not there was an addressee on the letter. That just seems - to me - to be a function of extending the question line further without getting any answers. It keeps the story in the news, but hasn't yet garnered new information. You can make the insinuations that it was fabricated, or you could just as easily say that, "Why was it hand-delivered? Because University Mall is five minutes away and on our intern Joe's way home. We asked Joe to drop it off." That answer is a 'leap' too, but it's just as reasonable as the 'leap' of the other sites.

3) I just don't think it will amount to much. No matter how many articles are written on the subject, this is not a Reggie Bush/Southern Methodist/Chris Webber situation. It's a few autographs, with no proven direct link to extra benefits.

Tom and his boy Trent.
Tom going with the straight scissor clippin'.
Is it funky for college football players to be hanging around this guy, showing up at his store, taking pictures behind his desk? Yeah, it's funky. But the guy's also obviously a HUGE Alabama fan - and HUGE Alabama fans act stupid around Alabama football players. They want to show/brag to their friends how they are 'big time' and are hanging out with the stars on their favorite football team, that the players know his name. It's a big ego stroke to folks like Tom Al Betar, who get there by stroking the ego of these college kids. Not saying that makes sense, but it's real, and it happens.

All in all, I just don't think it amounts to much. Slap on the wrist, secondary violation, whatever. This all blows over once they kick the ball off Labor Day weekend.

And that's really it. This is actually all just a function of everyone just needing the season to hurry up and start. The fans, the radio stations, and the websites. We're past Media Days, which have been proclaimed as the official/unofficial 'start' of college football season. The problem is, there are 5 or 6 weeks in between Media Days and the actual season. Appetites have been wetted, but there is nothing to eat just yet. So everyone clamors to a story.

It seems this story is the one to clamor to. It is a perfect storm of a story, after all. Alabama is a national title contender, and the potential that this 'scandal' could undo that opportunity scares the hell out of Alabama fans, and brings the non-Bama fans unrelenting glee.

But it's just a story, and one that will come to an unspectacular end soon enough.

While doing some browsing around as I wrote this, I came across some fake Twitter handles you may want to consider giving a nod to. My gift to you.

And of course, if you'd like to follow me on Twitter, you can do so: @harry_long
I'd also appreciate it if you 'liked' the Facebook page of A Total Waste of Blog. You can do that at the top right of this page, or you can do it here.
And you see all those buttons under the title of this post? That's how you share this thing. Get to it.