Thursday, March 28, 2013

5 comments Phil Mushnick Can't Allow Other Humans to Feel Joy, Has to Crap on Florida Gulf Coast University a Little

There's always that guy. I probably have been that guy on a few occasions. He is that guy who always has something negative or contrary to say no matter how great a situation may be. He's the guy who always says, "Well, they will never repeat" when a team wins a championship or points out the championship/game wasn't won in impressive enough fashion. I thought we had avoided that with Florida Gulf Coast University and their run through the NCAA Tournament, but I was wrong. How can anyone dislike a team that plays with such abandon and becomes the first #15 seed to make it to the Sweet Sixteen? Well, it can be done. Phil Mushnick doesn't like TNT and CBS's coverage of Florida Gulf Coast University because of the way the Florida Gulf Coast players behave during a game. It's too "look at me" for Phil Mushnick. This is rich coming from the guy who sometimes seems to write specifically for the purpose of gaining attention.

One would think I would like Phil Mushnick since he has criticized Joe Morgan, generally doesn't like a lot of what ESPN does, and calls out announcers for inaccurate comments. Just because we like many of the same things doesn't mean we are born to be best friends. Anyway, Florida Gulf Coast University (or FGCU as I will call them out of pure laziness) is what's wrong with college basketball, while TNT/CBS are rewarding this "me first" behavior, and blah, blah, blah.

It’s unlikely Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports — and the son of Jim McKay, for crying out loud — would encourage the kids in his life to acts of excessive, public immodesty.

If it helps out ratings, which it shows that it seems to have done, I bet Sean McManus would encourage any non-vulgar acts of public immodesty a person could think of while celebrating.

Throughout the first week of CBS/Turner’s NCAA Tournament presentation, the networks went ESPN on us. Although four networks televised the games, none was inclined to present basketball as a sport.

I watched every single hour, except two hours on Sunday, of the NCAA Tournament coverage and have no idea at what point the games weren't presented as a sport. Perhaps that occurred during the middle of the Iowa State-Ohio State game or at the beginning of the Temple-Indiana game and I just missed it.

The message was clear and repetitive: If you act like a self-impressed fool, we’ll minimally reward you with a slow-motion cameo.

This really wasn't the message at all. The message was "if you win a game in the NCAA Tournament then we will cover the fact you won a game, including showing footage of you celebrating the fact you won this game." I can see how Phil would have such an issue with guys like Marshall Henderson since Phil seems to treat any "urban" display of celebration with the disdain he rightfully believes it deserves. After all, there are right and wrong ways to act. To show the emotion of happiness while being a college student who helped his team win an NCAA Tournament game is not the correct way to act.

And the more you betray the sport as a sport, the greater the televised rewards. Heck, for as long as your team lasts, we’ll make you a star!

I think this is a better policy than going to a black screen whenever a player for the winning team is celebrating on the court. The NCAA Tournament is full of 18-22 year old kids, what kind of celebration is appropriate for them when coming one step closer to winning an NCAA title?

Friday and Saturday we were force-fed Mississippi gunner Marshall Henderson as a don’t-miss wild, zany, fun-for-the-whole-family act, when he’s a garbage-talking, garbage-Tweeting, chest-pounder whose bio shows a month spent in jail for purchasing drugs — with counterfeit money! — followed by parole violations.

I never really enjoyed Marshall Henderson's act. It was an act. College basketball writers seemed to be the ones more enamored with his actions during the SEC tournament and the college basketball season. Otherwise, he was just a scorer who requires plenty of shots to get his points who was playing a role he knows he gets attention for playing. I found him to be putting on an act, but it isn't TNT or CBS's fault Henderson's team beat Wisconsin and there are people who enjoy watching him play.

And to be fair, Marshall Henderson had a public profile before the NCAA Tournament. TNT and CBS didn't make him a star any more than every other network that showed Ole Miss games this year or web site that gave Henderson attention made him a star. CBS and TNT didn't create Marshall Henderson.

Ole Miss won because, 1) Wisconsin played horribly and 2) Henderson’s teammates played incredibly hard, especially in pursuit of Henderson’s missed shots.

But Ole Miss won and Marshall Henderson is the best player on the Ole Miss team. Why did Wisconsin play horribly? Was it because of the excellent defense Ole Miss played?Wasn't Henderson a part of that? I don't understand the outcome Phil Mushnick wants to achieve. Does he want CBS to not show Marshall Henderson at all? That's depriving the viewers of a player that want and have a right to see.

Although it was repeatedly explained to us that Henderson “fires up” Ole Miss, no one explained why the Rebels would need to be “fired up” to play an NCAA Tournament game.

Perhaps Marshall Henderson fires up Ole Miss when they shouldn't need being fired up in the same way Derek Jeter leads a Yankees team by example when they shouldn't need an example or Ray Lewis motivated a Ravens team before games where they shouldn't need motivating.

Saturday, during Michigan-Virginia Commonwealth, Greg Gumbel twice told us an interview was coming up with the “outspoken” Henderson.” Outspoken? On what? The minimum wage? Fracking?

He's outspoken on why he is trying to do well in the NCAA Tournament, in order to get paid and make it in the NBA. Perhaps someone needs to fire up Phil Mushnick to do some research prior to writing a column. Henderson is well-known for saying (unlike most college athletes) he is only playing now in college so he can make money as a professional later.

He’s outspoken on only one issue: himself.

And of course the only one who is allowed to be outspoken is Phil Mushnick. Henderson is outspoken in regard to his attitude towards playing in the NBA and his relationship with opposing teams' fans. So that is what he is outspoken about. He comes off as honest, even though I personally find his act to be a bit dishonest and contrived...but mostly because I am jaded.

Friday night, Florida Gulf Coast’s upset of Georgetown lost some of its wonder glow as FGCU guard Sherwood Brown seemed eager to show how ungracious and self-smitten winners can be.

So Marshall Henderson should not be shown celebrating because he didn't play well when his team won, while Sherwood Brown should not be shown celebrating because he played well and his team won. I'm pretty sure Phil wishes the players would wear a suit and tie at all times on the court, never acknowledge the fans or celebrate a good basketball play, then calmly walk off the floor after completing a historic upset.

And TV, as always, was there to help him out, encourage him.

For three good reasons:

1. Fans want to see the players react with joy upon completing a historic upset. It helps ratings because fans like to see it.

2. Brown had earned some television time by playing extraordinarily well against Georgetown. He, along with his teammates, deserved to get some attention from the cameras.

3. As screwed up as college athletics are, it is nice to see a player at a small school getting excited about an accomplishment.

Near the end of the game, Brown, playing to the crowd and the TV cameras, walked over to Len Elmore, Reggie Miller and play-by-player Kevin Harlan and shook their hands. “Hah, hah, hah! He’s loving it!” we were told.

He shook their hands? What an enormous amount of disrespect for the game of basketball!

I was watching the game at a bar and the UNC-Villanova game (and it was a tight game with a good amount of UNC fans at the bar) was on, but most eyes were watching FGCU-Georgetown and appearing to really enjoy what they were seeing. Brown going over and shaking Elmore, Miller and Harlan's hand was fun because who the hell does that? Most players ignore the announcers during a game and begrudgingly do a postgame interview.

If you see FGCU play like that and don't understand what a tremendous and remarkable upset you have witnessed, but instead focus on a player's joy being too "me first," then you simply shouldn't watch college athletics. What FGCU has done over the last week is what college athletics should be about. Sherwood Brown was a fucking walk-on, while Brett Comer was overlooked when playing high school ball on the same team as Austin Rivers and they absolutely dunked all over Georgetown and San Diego State.

Sherwood Brown's reaction wasn't him focusing selfishly on his accomplishments, but basking in the glory of the moment he helped created.

But if only one of them had refused his hand and pointed him back on the court to finish the game and show it some respect ...

Then that probably would have been a dick move. Naturally, this is what Phil Mushnick would have done.

Saturday, CBS had FGCU coach Andy Enfield and Brown in a live interview. As Brown spoke, CBS showed tape of him, after hitting a short jumper, in a demonstration of great self-regard.

It's exciting to see Brown hit these shots and then react excitedly. HE hit the shot, and HE helped FGCU upset Georgetown, so it is a moment of self-regard because he created the moment.

That was the chosen clip.

What would have been a better clip to show? Sherwood Brown walking out for the tip-off, him sitting on the bench drinking water? If viewers of the live interview had not seen the game the night before then the clip of Brown hitting the short jumper could show them the emotion and excitement they had missed during that game.

During Indiana’s blowout of James Madison, the Hoosiers’ Yogi Ferrell’s check-me-out gesture after hitting a shot became a chosen slo-mo.

Just too urban. Who are these minorities insisting on showing everyone how good they are? Whatever happened to writing a semi-racist column in order to get attention?

Countless times when CBS or Turner went to commercials, the cut-away was accompanied by the chosen, edited image of a kid show-boating. Is that really TV’s sense of what basketball’s all about, how it should be played?

No, the sport isn't supposed to be like that necessarily, but it shows the excitement the players experienced during the tournament. Where was this complaint when J.J. Redick did the shocker after making a three-point shot or after every other NCAA Tournament when players who won a game were celebrating? These are 18-22 year old kids who most likely aren't going professional in basketball, so let them have their time in the spotlight.

But that’s the bag we’re in. Wonder what would happen if we typed “Down” into our GPS?

The GPS would show a picture of those assholes at FGCU celebrating the two historic upsets they managed to serve up. How dare they celebrate these upsets though. They should simply walk off the court and not acknowledge the history they managed to make.

Any stat, any time: Spero Dedes, during Arizona-Harvard on Saturday, said the Wildcats were “on a 15-3 run.” Given that the score, at the time, was 20-5, that kinda figured.

Really? So if I had just tuned into the game and saw the Wildcats were winning 20-5 then I could figure the Wildcats were on a 15-3 run? I think the point being made was that the Wildcats were in the middle of a run that very minute and Harvard had not just scored five points in a row.

Sideliner Jaime Maggio had a funny way of putting things, reporting that Arizona’s Grant Jerrett is back on the bench after injuring his elbow, and “could return to this game if he feels up to it.” She made the tournament sound like staying home or going to a movie.

Again, we get what she was saying and anyone who isn't looking for a mistake to be made would see what she meant. The game was a blowout and if Jerrett felt like going back in the game, as opposed to resting his elbow for the rest of the game, then the doctor had cleared him to come back in the game. The point was to make it clear returning the game was up to Jerrett, not the team doctor.

Give studio guys Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson credit. They knew that we knew that they knew that they were just filling time with say-anything stuff at halftimes and between games.

Yes, they should get credit for being mediocre. They are useless and knew it, which means they did an outstanding job in Phil Mushnick's mind.

So kudos to Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith for being mediocre, not knowledgeable and useless, but how dare those Florida Gulf Coast players celebrate their historic achievement within the view of a camera. Phil Mushnick is going to be very upset when he finds out CBS will be showing ON CAMERA FOR EVERYONE TO SEE the eventual NCAA Tourney champion hoisting up the trophy in celebration of their achievement and loudly celebrating this achievement. What a selfish display that will be.


Anonymous said...

There probably aren't any comments because you did such a thorough job of decapitating this dope. Other than this piece which I sought out after your read, I would never read this jerk. How does an editor read that crap about what may have been the best college game of the year and a feel good story to boot, and allow Mush to keep his job? Being in the process of looking for a University teaching position, I can say that tenure is a terrible thing. Mush's ability to still have a job baffles me. . .he must have tenure! Anyway, thanks BGF for a great post. @BigCityJob

jacktotherack said...

Why doesn't Mushnick just call this article "Get Off My Lawn"? What an out of touch moron. The tournament has been awesome this year, and FGCU is the best story left in the field. So players showboat a little when they make a big play. So-fucking-what!! Is this a new phenomenon?? Did Mush miss the early 90's UNLV teams or the fucking Fab 5??

I swear you have to be over 70 years old to get bothered by this kind of stuff. Unless its something really outrageous or really dumb (like a guy pounding his chest when he dunks and his team is down 30) then I almost don't even notice it. It's an emotional game, these kids have their season on the line every single game, some their basketball careers will be over for good once they lose. How does Mushnick expect them to act??

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, the editor probably enjoys the pageviews crap like this gets for him. That's my only guess. I think a lot of these writers have tenure and they just give up thinking hard about what they write.

Jack, that dunk when Georgetown was starting to creep back into it was awesome. Everybody was completely tuned into the game where I was at and I don't think FGCU were "me-first" at all. They were a team who played a tough schedule and it paid off with two big wins in the tournament. They had a reason to celebrate.

What's irritating is Phil Mushnick would get pissy if they pounded their chest when down 10 points or up 10 points. He's just being grumpy.

jacktotherack said...

Ben, I was watching the game with a friend when they pulled off that oop and we went crazy. FGCU has had the top 5 dunks of the tournament in the span of 2 games.

Bengoodfella said...

Jack, no kidding. I was watching the game in a bar full of Carolina fans and they were keeping track of the FGCU game as well. It was just a great and exciting display of basketball. So what if the players made it about them and their achievement for the night?

That one dunk to Comer was absolutely brutal. It was awesome and it came at a great time.