From dirty Huskies let’s segue way into talking about bunch of bitter Huskies up in Seattle. We already brought your attention a series of articles the Seattle Times ran few weeks ago about the legal problems concerning the 2000 Rose Bowl team few weeks ago. Up until now CRN didn't provide any comment on those articles. However, recently he talked to Matt Hayes from Sporting News about it:
"There are some things I could have done differently," Neuheisel said. "In Jeremy's case, I should've been harder on him after the reckless driving incident. I should have sent a message."
As for the Stevens rape allegations: "I listened to our athletic director (Barbara Hedges) on how best to proceed. There's a proper (legal) code of conduct there. In retrospect, considering what happened with the Duke case, it's easy to say someone is guilty. I am not claiming guilt or innocence -- we simply had to follow the proper code of conduct."
As for the rest of the series: "Most of that stuff happened before I got there," Neuheisel says.
Neuheisel says he refused comment to the Times on the investigation because he still feels the newspaper has a personal vendetta against him. He told me the same thing four years ago when I went to Seattle to write about his lawsuit against the NCAA and Washington.
Going back to present Hayes exposes how this time around the people from the Seattle Times who decided to drudge up the past might have had some other motives behind running these articles. I am going to excerpt liberally from Hayes piece in the Sporting News because I think everyone needs to read these grafs:
Boardman's answer was, "...We did not intend to impact UW recruiting one way or another, though in retrospect the story seems more likely to hurt recruiting by UCLA, where Neuheisel is the new coach, than it does at (Washington)."
That response was published Sunday, Feb. 3 -- three days before National Signing Day.
Let me explain something, everyone: This is the executive editor of a major newspaper; the only higher authority at the Times is the publisher. The paper gets its direction, its philosophy, from the editor.
That response takes on more of an anti-Neuheisel spin after you read the reaction Ted Miller had to the Times' recent series on Washington. Miller is currently a columnist for the Seattle Press-Intelligencer, the competing paper in the city. The Times took a veiled shot at Miller, the P-I reporter assigned to cover the Huskies in 2000, and a story he had written about another Washington player, Jeremy Pharms.
In his take, Miller finally responded. Miller notes that the Times twisted the words from his original story, claiming he had "raised a series of questions that suggested Pharms might be innocent." In actuality, Miller's story said Pharms' case was "a question not of innocence but of degree of guilt."
Miller asserts that the Times' presentation of facts indicates they slanted coverage, as well as placed the majority of the blame on Neuheisel.
At the very least, two sides of the story give some semblance of balance. In no way am I trying to shield Neuheisel from blame; he obviously deserves criticism because -- like it or not, fair or not -- the coach is ultimately accountable. Even he says as much.
But when the editor of a major newspaper -- an editor with a graduate degree from Washington, no less -- says the series could affect UCLA recruiting, it exposes the core of the investigation.
Was Rick Neuheisel an angel during his time at Washington? Of course not.
Was the series fair? You decide.
Anyway again we will keep a close eye on CRN here in Westwood. As we have said before we believe he is too smart to blow this opportunity and he knows he is in charge of a program where the community rooting for it will demand accountability if there is a concerted pattern of impropriety. That said while the hacks in Seattle and other Neu detractors sling away mud we are going to root him on to do it right, now that he is home in Westwood.