Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 43 - A Babbling Brooks?

My last article was in response to the unfounded allegations by Auburn Rivals writer (and part time soft porn writer) Jeff Lee. In that article I pointed out several inconsistencies with both Lee’s allegations and his thought process. Since that time, it appears the Lee did succeed in causing a media swarm around Alabama’s recruitment of Russellville, Alabama’s Brent Calloway. The latest to jump on the “Bama did something wrong” bandwagon is www.sportsbybrooks.com. While I generally enjoy reading Brook’s articles, his latest columns do very little to make me think he knows as much as I previously thought. 

Brooks seems to be reaching far and wide to support the ill reported story of Mr. Lee. I’ll take a few minutes to introduce you to all of the players in this scandal before proceeding:

Brent Calloway – A 3 to 5 star athlete (depending on which recruiting service you are viewing). Brent played both Linebacker and Running Back at Russellville High School. Alabama was recruiting Calloway more for the Linebacker position while Auburn was recruiting him as a Running Back.

“Peaches” Winston – Mr. Winston is Brent’s adoptive father who has a history of helping kids throughout the years. Mr. Winston has gone on record several times stating that he just wanted Brent to “do things the right way.” 

Darren Woodruff – a longtime friend of Winston and confidant of Calloway. Woodruff has stated that he is an Alabama fan but likes Auburn as well. Woodruff has been a part of Calloway’s life since Calloway moved in with Winston at the beginning of his freshman year.

Jeffrey Lee – Auburn Rivals web site editor. Mr. Lee has a long history of slinging mud at anything related to the University of Alabama. Mr. Lee has released the personal information of another internet message board contributor to the public simply because the aforementioned person had some less than flattering things to say about Cam Newton and Auburn University.

Brooks – The namesake of the sports related news site www.sportsbybrooks.com . Brooks is known for posting “more to the point” articles relating to sports matters across the United States. Brooks has a large following of which I must concede I am a part of.

Doug Goodwin – Russelville High School football coach until January 19th, 2011. He coached Calloway throughout his high school career. Goodwin was named the head coach at Homewood High School circa January 19th, 2011. Goodwin is a former Auburn University football player and alum. 

Now that we have the cast in place and have a little background on them, let’s see if we can nail anything down to Brook’s latest claims. Brook’s seems to think that Winston has unknowingly incriminated Woodruff by saying that Woodruff has helped with Calloway’s recruitment since his freshman year. He has supported this thought process by taking a statement made by Calloway that he transferred to Russellville High School to increase his chances at getting noticed by a major college. Brooks seems to think that these two statements have now branded Woodruff as a University of Alabama booster. I wholeheartedly disagree.

First off, a statement made by a teenager while a freshman in high school cannot be considered as bankable. When I was younger, I had delusions of grandeur about the possibilities of me playing for the Atlanta Braves. I may have even made that statement publicly to those that I went to school with, at church or other kids I played ball with. Sadly, my dream never came to fruition, but if it had; does my statement from years earlier mean that I knew it was going to happen? Of course it doesn’t. A lot of kids THINK they are going to be this or that when they get older only to find out that life’s circumstances get in the way. In other words Brooks, that part of your inference does not hold water for me.  
Secondly, the statement by Peaches Winston saying that Woodruff had been helping with Brent’s college recruiting since the 9th grade means absolutely zilch. There is no way you are going to get me to believe that as a 9th grader Woodruff, Goodwin or Winston could possibly know that Calloway was going to end up being a highly touted recruit. Sure there may have been signs that he could be, but there are way too many variables that could change the final outcome long before Calloway reached his senior year. He could have become a kid that got in with the wrong crowd and been kicked off the team as a freshman. He could have had a career ending injury as a sophomore. He could have just not developed in the mental aspect of the game to a point to where he was ever a factor even at the high school level. So, once again, your inference that Woodruff was acting as a “handler” for Calloway just doesn’t hold water. Woodruff was a family friend before Calloway and will be one after Calloway. Calloway’s choice to become part of that family endeared him to Woodruff as well. You can’t expect the elders in a kid’s life not to give valuable input on a kid’s future. Furthermore, Woodruff is less of an Alabama booster than I am as he gives no money to the University nor does he hold season tickets. These kids have real lives and will interact with adults. Those adults that genuinely care for the kid have a right to give advice in that kid’s best interest. Winston plainly said he would support Calloway if he went to Auburn as did Woodruff. As a matter of fact, I think Woodruff stated something to the effect of, “I am a Brent Calloway fan.” That doesn’t sound like someone pushing the kid anywhere. Winston simply wanted his son to honor his word as it relates to the original commitment he made to Alabama. He wants his son to do the right thing in the right way. From the tone of your two articles relating to all of this, it seems to me that you would have the kid either not listen to the advice of his family or better yet, let a coach that may actually have some underlying reason to steer a kid to a particular school play that role. Honestly, I don’t think you have looked at it from that point of view.

Speaking of coaches… Goodwin was still involved with Calloway’s recruitment after he was no longer the coach at Russellville High School. To me, that should be raising your eyebrows more than a documented relationship going back 4 years or so. Goodwin’s AU ties most likely had a good bit to do with Calloway’s flip from Alabama to Auburn in the first place.  At least it appears that way to me and many others from this neck of the woods. So, if you’re looking for a story, I suggest checking into that side of things. While you are at it, you might want to look into some of the other allegations floating around Calloway’s recruitment from the Auburn coaching staff. I’ll bet if you start digging in that hole, you’ll find more to write about than Calloway’s relationship with his father and a family friend. 

Add to all of this the fact that the writer that started the whole thing is less than credible. In your article inferring booster status to Woodruff, why didn’t you point out how everything else Lee claimed to be fact was debunked? Hard to pay a man’s mortgage off when that was done 15 years prior. Hard to produce a new car for a kid that rides the bus every day. We can go on and on here. Like I said, I am a fan of yours but in this instance I feel like you are reaching for a connection and I don’t understand why. Is it because you have been bombarded by Auburn supporters with emails calling you a Bammer or the like? Is it because you needed to get more clicks on your site to meet a quota of some kind? Just what is your reasoning here? I submit that you have lost focus on where the real issues may be.

The sad thing is this (and it doesn’t matter if you are an Alabama or an Auburn fan): This whole thing instigated by Jeff Lee has put the future of Brent Calloway in jeopardy. This was done simply because of Lee’s hatred of Alabama. If there is a wrong doing in this case on the Alabama side of things, I submit that it was done by Calloway’s family being ignorant of the NCAA’s multitude of selectively enforced bylaws regarding a prospect’s recruitment. I also submit that Lee’s actions will at most make Calloway ineligible before he has ever even enrolled at Alabama. So, Lee has tainted a kid and possibly ruined his entire future. Way to go Mr. Lee, I think you are better suited for the position of part time porn industry writer. 


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