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Restless In Seattle: Husky Bloggers' Nuanced Takes On Neuheisel

I’d like to shift our attention away from practice notes and chat a little about Neuheisel’s return to Washington on November 15th. If one were to go by the dominant narrative in the traditional media, you’d think it will be some kind of "Hate-a-palooza." Ted Miller over at WWL’s Pac-10 blog posted back in July how "majority of Husky fans simply hate Neuheisel." Yet the more I read impressions from Husky bloggers, the more I question that story line that we will undoubtedly here from the traditional media here in LA and up in Seattle when hat game approaches.

About couple of weeks ago John B over at Washington Husky Sports blog posted the following observation on CRN:

Say what you want about Rick, but in the end the old UW administration treated him like a sacrificial lamb when the NCAA came hunting.

Yesterday race, a blogger at the Husky Half Brains (which is described as "a reality based look at Husky football" (sound familiar?)) followed up with this take re. all that "hate" in Seattle towards CRN:

There is a hatred that has all but ruined this program and is directly responsible for us getting to this point and still being at this point. The hatred of Rick Neuheisel.

A certain magic still lingers when you say the name. Or hate. Rick is a living reminder of the time when we had high standards at the UW for the football program. The dirty little secret that the running dogs of revisionist history don’t want you to remember is that Rick was first hated for the on field performance of the football team.

Except it wasn’t hate then either. It was valid criticism and a concern that we were losing what Husky Football is. While we were winning and going to bowls. But going 7-6 and getting bullied by Purdue wasn’t good enough. Rick was at the crossroads going into 2003.

I have no problem with that concern re. CRN’s 7-6 record. But this is where race’s take gets really interesting (emphasis added):

Rick also did engender a personal dislike that grew to hatred from a vocal segment of the Husky fan base. Many of these same fans will scold anyone who criticizes Ty and accuse them of hate. We call that projection.

Rick’s dalliances with other teams were annoying. His run ins with the NCAA were laughable and most fans defended him. His players acted better than the Lambo years and grad rates hit an all time high. But the SF interview seemed to strike a big blow and combined with the bad season just passed, signaled open season on a man that many never accepted as one of "us".

The idiots at Montlake in concert with the snitch and the Seattle Times (one and the same?) seized on this to take a basketball pool and blow it into a firing offense in June of 2003. The usual lap dogs cheered and proclaimed a return to Husky dominance while anyone with half a brain pointed out that this would destroy the program.

18 wins and 41 losses later, who was right? Should Rick still be here? Unknown. He just shouldn’t have been fired in June.

And it is the hatred that has been aimed at Rick ever since that has been used by the idiots at Montlake to first hire Ty, and then to keep him. The Seattle Times once again did their part in one of the worst pieces of hit journalism ever seen in this town - the 2000 Rose Bowl team smear after the Football President kept our all time loser here.

Whenever Ty is slammed, the spector of Rick is used like parents use the boogeyman to keep their kids in line. Mindless TyBots repeat the myths and legends of Ty’s character and integrity to ward off the 25 losses in three years by this lousy football coach.

We have no desire to get in the middle of what looks like a (very familiar and painful) nasty civil war among Husky fans. What we do believe folks should take note of are those pointers re. the often cited Seattle Times articles re. Neuheisel. This brings a whole new perspective on why those articles. BTW I wonder why no one in the traditional media has asked the question whether the LA Times will run a similar set of articles concerning what took place in Southern Cal, five years after Pete Carroll leaves that program.

Anyway, that post HHB generated some telling comments which included this pointer from iDawg on state of the Husky program the year before Neuheisel arrived in Seattle:  

I love when idiots claim that the program was going in the wrong direction when Rick went 7-6. This after Ty went 4-9 and Rick inherited a program that went 6-6.

As far as talking with other teams give me a break. Everyone lies when they interview for another job, especially college football coaches. It’s the worst double standard that Rick is held to. Did he lie about his interview? Yes, but so what, so have many college football coaches.

And from Yves Montand about graduation rates at UDub during CRN’s tenure:

It’s true that Rick is unfairly held to a double standard with the 49ers interview, compared to other coaches. It’s the same double standard as to why Rick isn’t credited with raising graduation rates like he did.

But just because other coaches have lied, doesn’t justify Rick or make what he did right.

I agree that CRN rightfully faced criticism for some of his actions in Seattle. However, as the Husky bloggers have now pointed out themselves he was being targeted as a sacrificial lamb by the Husky Administration. And RN showed remorse by taking a humbling path to Westwood via his stints at Rainier Beach High School and with Baltimore Ravens.

 I wonder if the traditional media will take note of these nuanced views from Husky fan themselves when breathlessly writing up their storylines on Neuheisel’s return to Seattle. Given their track record, I am not optimistic that they will. Yet it is encouraging to read these notes from die hard and passionate Washington football fans. I have always had a healthy dose of respect and admiration for the Washington program and their fan base or perhaps it was just being envious of that beautiful football stadium by Montlake. It is good to know that not all of them are getting suckered into the predictable narrative that constantly get fed through the traditional media. I hope they get through these tough times and experience either a successful season or get themselves a coach who can unite their entire fan base.

I think the game up in Seattle is going to be a memorable one. As I have mentioned before UDub with Jake Locker and an emotionally charged up crowd behind them will be the favorite in that game (at this point of time). However, with CRN in charge I am sure no one is going to raise the white flag. It should be fun.