Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Mitch Albom's rewriting history again

Today, Mitch Albom wrote of his "Questioning" of Chris Webber during the Pistons press conference. Not surprisingly, Mitch gives himself too much credit, while dissing the rest of the media in attendance. Here's the Little Fella's version...

"at a news conference Tuesday where, for the first 10 minutes, the questions were basically light, bright and easy, I asked what I felt, as a journalist, needed to be asked.

I asked about Michigan. And booster Ed Martin. And money."

From reading that, the Little Fella would have you believe while the other members of the media were tossing softball after softball, he went after Webber with his 6-guns blazing, taking no prisoners. Much in the same way the late Joe Falls ambushed Mike Ilitch and Phil Garner with pointed questions about the direction of the Tigers franchise during their introduction of Garner as the new manager.

First off, as Ian mentioned in the comments to yesterday's "Ironic" post, WXYT's Dennis Fithian first broached the subject with Webber, if in a round about way. But as for Albom, here's the actual question Mitch asked, taken directly from the transcript of the presser posted on the Detroit Pistons website.

Chris, welcome back. Do you want to take this opportunity to talk about the Michigan situation? The Ed Martin and everything that happened. Talk about, “when it’s all said and done, well I will tell everything what really went on.” You have a great forum here and a chance to address that. What do you want to say about that and to the people of Michigan?

Mitch proudly claimed he asked about Michigan, Ed Martin, and the money. If fact, if that was true, the question would have come off a little more pointed and confrontational, wouldn't you think?

Perhaps something like...

"Are you ever going to apologize to the university and its fans for your part part in having the Michigan basketball program put on probation, thanks to your taking money from Ed Martin?"

To be honest, I'd bet that is damn close to what Drew Sharp would have asked. He's known for that kind of grandstanding. That sure wasn't what Mitch asked. The Little Fella gave Webber an easy out in the way he worded his "Tough" question.

I think was really gets me about the column is this little nugget.

"as someone who spent the better part of two years all but living around Webber and the Fab Five, I really hope it works out."

As I said yesterday, no other writer had that kind of behind the scenes access during those wild Michigan years. Which begs the question, how does a player take $280K, and a JOURNALIST not notice?

Something else bothers me about the whole Webber/Albom situation. Was the middle of a press conference the right time and place to ask Webber for his mea culpa in regard to the Martin scandal? In my mind, not even close. Webber is a smart guy. If he had been dumb enough to answer the "Question" Mitch asked, a media feeding frenzy would have ensued. It'd have been open season on Webber, and all questioning about his role on the Pistons would have gone out the front entrance of the Palace. NO WAY was Webber going to say anything, and the Little Fella knew it. It was a pure showboat, look-at-me move by a so-called "Media star."

Mitch also whines that Webber has said for years that "It's not the right time." Thing is, Webber has every right to decide when is "The right time." The cynic in me guesses that the "Right time" will be after Webber retires, and follows the path taken by other controversial athletes (Pete Rose and Jose Conseco come to mind), and has a book/website/TV show/product to pimp.

As a Michigan fan, I'm over the whole damn thing. It's water long under the bridge. And it's not as if Webber is the only one to blame. In the column, Mitch allows Steve Fisher to come off as an innocent in the whole affair, saying that, "He (Fisher) believed Chris." Personally, I find it hard to fathom that the head coach of a major conference team had no knowledge of the shady goings on that hovered around HIS program.

But that's another post for another day.

What it comes down to is this... The only people who haven't moved on from the Ed Martin scandal are newspaper columnists trying to sell papers, sports talk radio hosts trying to grab ratings, and a small handful of Michigan basketball fans who still hold a grudge.

I'm not saying that the vast majority of basketball fans willing to forgive and forget, to live and let live, are right or wrong. It just is what it is...

Personally, I just want to see the Pistons right their ship, rather than continue to talk about a long dead numbers runner and the grief that he caused.

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