Badger Bits: How not to look like you give a crap

Jared Wickerham

The Aaron Hernandez investigation is bringing out expert half-assery by sportswriters and the NFL.

It won't shock you to know that the people who are in charge of things sometimes have ulterior motives, and that seemingly good faith gestures are actually half-assed attempts to slow bad PR. The past couple weeks have been filled with reminders of how dumb important people think we are. The peripheral drama (not the murder part) of the Aaron Hernandez investigation has probably been the most fun, and it thankfully falls within our purview.

Exhibit A: Mike Bianchi's awful column on Urban Meyer encouraging Hernandez to commit murder or something. Tim Tebow is weaved in there for clicks. The whole thing isn't worth reading, just know that it's a testament to the idea that if there is a void, someone will compulsively fill it, like people who used to write "FIRST" in comment sections or my dad adding "not if I see you first" every time I tell him I'll see him later.

Chris Kopech at Land-Grant Holy Land did one of those paragraph-by-paragraph column tear downs that are usually sort of unnecessary, but nonetheless very fun to read. Blockquote:

Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming Meyer for Hernandez being arrested for murder. That would be as asinine as blaming John McKay and Southern Cal for O.J. Simpson's ride in the back of the white Bronco. Hernandez is a grown man and responsible for his own actions.

And that's where the column should end, right?

But there is also an old saying: "If you sleep with dogs, eventually you're gonna get fleas." And, by the time Meyer left UF, his program was like a fleabag motel, infected from the shady characters he recruited and the discipline he failed to instill. The fact is, Meyer gave his players so much rope that you just knew they would eventually construct a noose and choke the life out of what he built at UF.

/facepalm

The column is a butt-naked example of baited hackery -- meant to capitalize on drama, polarizing figures and popular search terms -- and it's kind of hilarious. In 800 words, Bianchi does zero research beyond his belly button. His chutzpah is admirable, but it also shows a clear lack of respect for his readers, much less his own dignity.

Exhibit B: The NFL is mulling over the idea of no longer extending Combine invites to players who are academically ineligible at their respective colleges. The decision would ostensibly be in reaction to bad press stemming from the Hernandez investigation. The problem is that banning players from the Combine wouldn't keep them out of the league, it would just make the scouting process mildly more cumbersome for teams. The NFL is desperate to look like it's doing something to change perception that the league has a thug problem, but it has yet to suggest steps that would actually address the problem.

That may be because there isn't a significant problem to address:

Here is a fact that you may find hard to believe after listening to them: NFL players commit crimes at a much lower rate than their peers in the general population. Around 2,700 players pass through NFL training camps every season, and 1,696 make rosters. Yes, some of them get arrested - about 2 to 3 percent a year. The national arrest rate for males aged 22 to 34? It's 10.8 percent, according to FBI crime statistics for 2009.

In conclusion: People think we're dumb, so they feed us narratives that they think will placate our big dumb heads (but Gary Andersen is probably as good, great, nice and wonderful as everyone says he is).

LINKS:

Meyer finally responded to the Hernandez thing and criticisms about his lack of program oversight at Florida, by the way.

IT HAS BEEN DECIDED: Levy Restaurants will be the food service provider for UW Athletics, and students will soon discover how well Dr. Pepper mixes with the rum in their Camelbak.

The judge in the O'Bannon case has ruled that the prosecution can add a current player to the law suit. There is no word yet whether a player has volunteered. O'Bannon and Co. will likely argue that the player should be kept anonymous to protect him from potential retaliation from the NCAA.

LGHL also had a pretty awesome look at recruiting expenses vs. recruiting and program success.

Maize n' Brew's recaps Wisconsin's 1981 win over Michigan (ignore the other thing).

More disembodied head fun!

Rutgers HATE

Wrapping up: #B1G

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