Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lively debate or crossing the line?

In the last few days the comments on this blog have taken a turn for the worse. A relatively simple post stating that junior linebacker Will McHale has been voted captain for next year's team turned into target practice on McHale's leadership ability and bordered on character assassination. Rather than spend part of the holiday season deleting more of these comments, I made the decision to delete the entire entry. One reader asked me for an explanation since he/she viewed it as a lively debate.

I have a different opinion. I think it was a case of people sitting behind the their computer and posting hurtful anonymous comments about a college junior. If comments were directed at me, as some have been over the past three years, I would post them since I am getting paid to deal with it. The same thing with Yale football coach Tom Williams and athletic director Tom Beckett. However, I found some of the comments directed McHale as crossing the line. It is not the first time I have felt that was. I have always been amazed at the cattiness of some of the comments to this blog. Quarterback Patrick Witt is a popular target as he was subjected to utter nastiness even on entries announcing an honor for his academic achievement. Now it is McHale in the crosshairs.

I have taken great pride in maintaining this blog and providing updates on everything from scheduling, recruiting and even the results of the JV games because I believe Yale fans deserve to have this beat covered in the same manner with which we cover UConn football and basketball. However, I am beginning to wonder if I am catering to the wrong crowd. Most of the 500-700 hits this blog gets on a daily basis come from the silent majority of fans wanting to keep up with the team's progress. There is a select few who look at this blog as their sounding board where they can take shots at anybody they choose. This is not a message board nor do I have an aspirations for it to become one. It is a forum for me to provide updates on the team and state my opinion on matters surrounding the team. There is at least one message board dedicated to Ivy League football and if you wish disparage members of the team without anything to back up those attacks, I would suggest you take the comments there. I seem to have appealed to the lowest common denominator  among the Yale fan base and may have to rethink how frequently I provide updates since I seem to be giving these people a forum to spew their propaganda.

Look, I know this is a tough time for Yale football program. This year's squad was too good to finish 5-5 and get lit up by Harvard 45-7. Add in the tragic accident in Lot D before the Harvard game and the internal investigation surrounding Williams claims of being a Rhodes Scholarship candidate combined for a rather forgettable week. I am sure there are some frustrated people out there but if anybody thinks that this blog will be the place to take those frustrations out on Yale's newly-named captain couldn't be more incorrect.

Finally, I want to thank people who frequent this blog. I regret taking this step but everybody has their breaking point and enough is enough.

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13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with your positon, Jim. I'm one of those who is very critical of where the Yale football program is, but personal criticism of the players (college students who work so hard and sacrifice so much)is definitely out of bounds. I urge you to keep up the good work.

1:24 PM 
Anonymous Steve Moyer said...

Well said. I think you made a good decision. I don't understand why people do that kind of thing behind the cloak of anonymity.

1:36 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo.

2:48 PM 
Anonymous Truly Blue '59 said...

Jim:
You did the right thing. Bill Wallace had to lay down the law in his weekly communique on Yale football.
That said, I beg you not to eliminate or reduce your superb coverage of something that, for better or for worse, has become a lifetime addiction for so many of us.
Cheers,
Truly Blue '59

3:29 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim - Is there any way to simply turn off the ability to leave comments? Seems like the easiest solution. Your updates are valuable and should be continued. If moderating the comments section makes you question continuing the blog, don't let the tail wag the dog -- nuke the comments section forge on! Just my two cents -- thanks for listening.

4:47 PM 
Anonymous Chuck Goodhue said...

Hello Jim, I for one have been critical of your sometimes lack of coverage, not realizing you will ill at the time. I love your blog and feel I am lucky to have a team where true college student choose to represent their
school.Sure I'm disappointed but not with the hard working students but with the admin. people.Please continue with this blog and please continue to delete where needed
Yale fan, Chuck Goodhue.

7:15 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The funny thing is that I was simply going to suggest that you somehow make it impossible to be anonymous, but I can't figure out how to leave my name!I guess I'll just tell you that I'm a Midwestern father of a 2nd team LB who graduated last year.(43) Anyway, I agree with the bloggers above. Keep up the good work Jim. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

8:40 AM 
Anonymous John Walsh said...

I agree. While none of us are happy with the status of the program, negative remarks directed at the players is cowardly.

I was always amazed at the hateful tone people took towards Witt, and, although I have to admit I missed the McHale comments I can imagine what they were like.

You blog is very informative and I urge you to maintain it, even at the cost of a comments section.

8:44 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim,
You are the main conduit for unbiased info re the Yale football program. Keep up the good work!

10:38 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim,

I agree wholeheartedly with True Blue '59 and the other comments above. I grew up in Westville, have been a fan/addict since 1966 and deeply appreciate the depth and fairness of this blog. You offer honest commentary on both upsides and downsides (e.g. your comments on the 2009 Y-H fake punt were the best I saw), and are very observant about players' strengths, emerging performers, the depth chart... the whole enchilada of Yale football.

Please don't let a few bad apples spoil this blog, and keep on leading us through Portal XXXI.

Bill A., Seattle

2:02 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim,

I am the mother of a current Yale football player. I agree with you 100 percent that personal attacks of players are completely off-limits. These young men are committed to improving the football program. No one goes out on that field on Saturday with the goal of losing. These kids are up before dawn during the season in order to practice before their classes begin. Many of them stay over the summer to lift weights and condition for the upcoming season. It infuriates me that people have the audacity to belittle any Yale player.

Go Bulldogs!

7:35 PM 
Anonymous Bob S. said...

I agree with you 100 percent. You write a swell blog and for most of us --those without axes to grind or ancient scores to settle -- it is the one reliable source of Yale football news we have. Bob S. NYC

12:33 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim,

Please add my name to the chorus of cheers for your blog. Living a long way from New Haven, your blog is my life line to Yale football. Your writings very much enhance my enjoyment of Yale football, and I urge you to keep up the good work.

Belitting student athletes is, of course, beneath contempt, and you're certainly justified in censoring the small minds that stoop to that kind of behavior. They do not have the best interests of Yale football at heart.

Mike Harrington, TD'69
Sugar Land, TX

5:03 PM 

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