I have met the New York Times' Pete Thamel and have spoken to him briefly when the Pac-12 held their media day in NYC.
When I met him, Thamel seemed pretty cool (decent), though a bit standoffish...not really surprising when you work for a media behemoth like the NYT.
At the time it didn't bother me. I am a relative nobody, so I certainly didn't expect him treat me like he would Mandel or Staples.
I get it, he runs in a much bigger and more high-profile crowd journalistically than I ever will so his "looking down his nose" at me, if you will, is to be expected.
It is no secret that bloggers aren't seen as "credible journalists" by the traditional media, so it comes with the territory. Although, I should note that ESPN's Ted Miller was extremely gracious when I met him two years ago! He had some nice things to say about our little corner of the world here on Conquest Chronicles.
Like I said, I wasn't offended, I understood my place and didn't give it a second thought.
For the most part, I think Thamel has written some great pieces and has been, also for the most part, fair in his writing regardless of the subject matter, that is why I was a little surprised at a recent article that Thamel wrote taking a gratuitous shot at Lane Kiffin in Kiffin's pursuit of PSU RB Silas Redd.
Kiffin enters his third year as Southern California’s coach with a team expected to be ranked No. 1, a Heisman Trophy front-runner in Matt Barkley and perhaps the best chance to break the Southeastern Conference’s stranglehold on the national championship. He has done so with fewer verbal outbursts, recruiting squabbles and inflammatory sound bites.
But Tuesday, Kiffin flashed a flicker of his old ways. He offered to counsel Penn State Coach Bill O’Brien on how to handle N.C.A.A. sanctions while simultaneously angling to poach Penn State’s star running back, Silas Redd.
"Sure, yeah," Kiffin said when asked if he would advise O’Brien on his scholarship losses and four-year postseason ban because of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. "I wish there had been someone for me to do that with. There really wasn’t."
While Lane Kiffin may have matured or changed his ways from those of the past, that certainly doesn't mean that he is not going to compete or play within the NCAA's screwed up rulings or guidelines to better his USC program.
Old habits die hard I guess...Kiffin is still an easy target for anyone with an axe to grind.
This was asked of Thamel on Twitter (but I didn't see a return response), but where was Thamel's criticism of those coaches who poached those junior and senior USC players that were allowed to transfer when their sanctions were announced?
Unfortunately, Thamel takes a sanctimonious turn with this passage...
In vintage fashion, Kiffin offered to put one hand on O’Brien’s shoulder while using the other to swipe at his roster. There have been reports that there is mutual interest between Redd and U.S.C., and Kiffin made it clear how desperate the Trojans were to add a quality back.
Vintage? Really? Like I said, it is within the rules. Until the NCAA says programs under sanctions can't participate in recruiting players that can transfer penalty free I don't see what the problem is.
USC's NCAA troubles didn't happen on Kiffin's watch so I don't understand why be a shrinking Violet when PSU's program is getting nuked.
I would have to go back and look, but was Thamel one of those who danced on USC's grave (like Pat Forde,or Mark Schlabach) who practically cheered when USC was hit?
I don't recall that, but I may have forgotten it as well.
I have always seen Thamel as above the fray as a respected writer for the NYT. Comes with the territory. As a Syracuse grad, I wouldn't expect him to fall prey to the regional rivalries that you saw with Forde or Schlabach. Kind of hard to be objective when the media outlet you write for has its hands in the pocket of conferences like the SEC or Big-12. In fact, that is part of the reason why Forde left ESPN for Yahoo!.
Like I said, I thought Thamel was above that.
Make no mistake, USC had some guilt when it came to the NCAA but certainly not the same type of guilt that Tressel or Butch Davis had with their programs...With PSU its a whole different ballgame. USC has paid part of their punishment so why not let it go?
To me, this article once again exposes the national narrative of how USC gets under peoples skin.
Many hated Pete Carroll's approach, they hated that USC was always in the hunt or in the discussion. That pissed off many in the old boy network, something USC has never been a part of and the sanctions handed down by members of that old boy network showed that clearly.
It is too bad that great writers like Thamel have to recycle old, tired stories of old.
Then again, maybe there was more to his looking down his nose at me...