Go Away, Dohrmann

By DJ Byrnes on March 1, 2012 at 2:45p
RT @boring_as_heck The family in this commercial is having so much fun using this brand-name product! They love each other a lot, and also the product."A young G, chasing his dreams..."

On November 6, 2007, legendary former coach John Wooden spoke to 600 UCLA student-athletes. In attendance was Kevin Love, a former starlet of Ben Howland's 2007-2008 basketball team. From this scene, Sports Illustrated's George Dohrmann launched a meandering 1,600 words about his latest investigative findings.  

The last time George Dohrmann dropped a vat of word-acid on a program, it involved anonymously-sourced stories about fixed raffles in the 1980's. (That's the price of exposing crime-bosses like Jim Tressel, nobody is willing to put a name to their snitching.) Now, I was under the impression Reality had done a thorough job of teaching Sports Illustrated the perils of over-hyped "exposés"; yet as best as I can tell, the only lesson SI took was to make its yellow journalism less blatant on its cover.

There is nothing special about this report. It's just 1,600 words chopped into four sections for page views plastered onto a website which looks like it was coded by two AOL developers on a ketamine bender in 2003. (For the record, Sports Illustrated, the internet doesn't work like a magazine. It doesn't have pages which require flipping. Have some shame.)  

As he did with the piece on Jim Tressel, Dohrmann swung for the fences with this "special report". Unfortunately for Dohrmann, like the piece on Tressel, this one reeks of being written in his mind before he ever stepped foot on his subject's campus.

Since this article was dead on arrival, let's start where Dohrmann does, with John Wooden. The Wizard of Westwood has been dead since 2010 and hasn't coached UCLA since 1975. Wooden won 10 of the school's 11 basketball championships. Ben Howland, as Dohrmann spins it, is negligent in his duty to UCLA's glorious history, the same history erected stone by stone by an amicable white guy over 37 years ago. 

SPECIAL REPORT FROM MY MIND: John Wooden couldn't even live up to John Wooden's legacy in this day and age. The first tournament John Wooden's UCLA won was in 1963, and it featured 25 teams. The last tournament won was in 1975, a 32-team banger. Within those 12 years, Wooden had 7 consecutive years of Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton. (Wooden knew the power of having a dominant center: Bill Russell shit on Wooden's UCLA team in the 1956 tournament, a 25-team affair.) 

Pardon me for getting all Jason Whitlock/Bill Simmons/White Guy on you, but it's as the 21st century revolutionary Slim Charles once said, "The game the same, it just got more fierce." I wonder if the systematic payment some UCLA stars received under Wooden could be so easily swept under the rug, especially after Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo torpedoed that private school across town? I wonder if Wooden's Aesop-like "Pyramid of Life" would have been enough to keep his stars from claiming their riches in the more-established-in-the-present NBA? I think even Wooden's wanna-be acolytes would admit Wooden's recruiting/talent advantage would suffer, since more schools are now competitive in basketball. Of course, this all comes before asking, could Wooden have navigated a 68 (eventually 128) team field 10 times in 12 years? I doubt it.

I know Wooden's first kiss was his wife, and this somehow makes him a real-life Wizard in the eyes of the fawning media, but I think Wooden was the right man in the right place in history. Nobody will ever be John Wooden, so why must Wooden's sterling image be used to indict an obviously mediocre coach? Because they worked the same job, 35 years apart? Why do you think Bob Knight has such disdain for Kentucky's current rendition? They're the apotheosis of what an incorrigble Scrooge like Bob Knight has come to hate about today's game; the same game which passed him by as if he were a woman waiving a handkerchief to her serviceman husband's train as it gently rolled by her platform. 

RT @brendlewhat let's fawn over each other about our marginally differentiated, yet identically fetishized, modes of consumption. #CleverDeal #PintrestMore people than Howland failed Reeves.

Which brings us back to George Dohrmann's article on how Ben Howland lost control of a hyperbolized legacy Howland himself never had any hand in making. Here's what Dohrmann's piece is really about: an obtuse coach being shitty at his job. I guess the current Pac-12 basketball standings aren't as juicy as the route Sports Illustrated chose to take with this story. It undoubtedly isn't enough to fill four pages. 

Ben Howland, as the story notes, is a walking reservoir of basketball knowledge, yet seems to be victim of pedantic fits-of-rage which generally spurn arbitrary punishment and disciplinary tactics. In other words, he's just like every knowledgeable coach in America who may be swimming in waters their skills can't handle, Howland's just of the asshole variety

To further demonstrate just how shitty of a coach Howland is, a guy named "Reeves Nelson" is brought into the mix. Again, Sports Illustrated could have printed the picture to the left to illustrate Nelson's knucklehead image. Instead, Dohrmann gave a national, anonymous platform to the teammates of a guy who nearly crippled everybody on the team in the practice. Can the word "investigation" be degraded any further? Reeves' use comes to an end with a woman who named her child "Reeves" lamenting how Ben Howland's disciplinary system screwed her idiot son. This is done without even a hint of irony.

Dohrmann also raises the alarm on talented underclassmen doing drugs. Teenagers doing ecstasy at a rave is bone-chilling stuff, to be sure. Here, I will give him his investigative kudos, because it's not like an affluent sportswriter would know a necromancer who could reanimate John Wooden's corpse in order to see how the Wizard kept his talented underclassmen from doing drugs

On November 14, 2009, the Milwaukee Bucks' rookie point guard, Brandon Jennings, dropped 55 points on the defensively-hapless Golden State Warriors, a career high. A month later he had this to say:

I feel like it’s a curse because of the 55. It’s almost a curse. Now that I’ve scored 55, everybody expects me to go out there and score big numbers every night. I’m just trying to find my way. Not every night is going to be easy.

In May of 2000, as George Dohrmann will be the first to tell you, George Dohrmann won the Pulitzer Prize for his writing exposing academic fraud at the University of Minnesota. On March 1, 2012, it's almost as if George Dohrmann is wondering around college campuses in search of his first trophy to put on his mahogany fireplace mantle in a spot he already has designated. So, the next time he puts on his $24.99 Dick Tracy hat, I hope somebody has told him the game is the same, it just got more fierce.


Comments Show All Comments

AltaBuck's picture

He is also a welcher.

I am Groot - Groot

+1 HS
Buckeye Chuck's picture

I thought the story was sort of interesting for what it was -- it's actuallly not unlike what happened to the Buckeyes following the Jim Jackson years, though the decline has been less spectacular -- but I likewise didn't get what about this situation merited the presence of an investigative reporter.

My guess is that Dohrmann has to come up with at least 2 of these a year to merit his salary in an era of dramatic newsweekly downsizing. Which raises the obvious question of why he's looking into raves near Westwood, and not actual scandals like the systemic corruption in Eugene, Ore.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

+1 HS
NW Buckeye's picture

DJ, nice work.  I know I have not agreed with some of your posts in the past.  But, I like to give credit where credit is due.  Nice job!!!!

BrewstersMillions's picture

I like DJ articles for a few reasons. One-Your inability to put up with stupidity really comes through in your prose. Secondly, you have far and away the highest links per words ratio on the staff. The links are like the toy in a box of Cracker Jacks because you never know what you are going to get.

Other than perhaps AJ Pierzynski, is there a better example of "Guy with Jerk Face" than George Dohrmann? Like when you look at this guy you've already made up your mind about what kind of dude he is. He doesn't have to do anything and you know...oh yes you know....he's a tool.

DJ Byrnes's picture

Thank you, Brewsters. I normally shun compliments, but I will accept this one because I happen to take pride in my link distribution game. My personal favorite this week was the story from Florida about a 26 year-old chick lighting a 3,500 year-old tree on fire while high on meth.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Only in Florida my friend, only in Florida.

William's picture

I have a friend that wrestled for the NC Dream team this year and when the team went to compete at the Disney Scholastic duals a building near theirs burst into a flames. There had been a meth lab in it. Only in Florida..

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Well, to be fair, who hasn't done that at one time or another?

+1 HS
Maestro's picture

About George.........what an asshat.

vacuuming sucks

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

I wasn't aware that sweater came in a smedium.

Jdadams01's picture

Dohrmann wants so badly to stay relevant.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Wait one cotton pickin minute. I missed this?

"I graduated from Notre Dame in 1995"

Is there anything more telling? I mean guys....that explains it all.

Bucksfan's picture

Dohrman could spin an increase in the price of orange juice as indication that the entire orange-growing industry is doomed due a bunch of orange farmers smoked weed in a barn somewhere in Florida.  Did these farmers smoke weed in a barn?  Yes.  Is the price of orange juice going up?  Yes.  Did one cause the other?  Who the f'ck knows?!?!  

He's certifiable at this point.

BoFuquel's picture

If his garbage stunk before my sugestion is don't return to this vomit.I say keep SI, SN,and ESECPN out of your life.If you don't you will only get what you have ask for,from these providers of information.Are you any better off for having partaken of their smutt?As for me I would rather remain ignorant than to have to go to these wells of information.I am a BUCKEYE,and in my opinion they are at war with TOSU.You may colaberate with the enemy if you want to but not me.GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

DJ Byrnes's picture

Do you have Twitter, Bofuquel? I feel I speak for a large part of the 11W community when I say you're the man.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

I agree, and not because he probably carries a knife in his right boot.

WildMan Leather and Lace's picture

Agreed. This guy does not care about these kids or any kind of standard for the university.  As with Tressal, he just wants a story to sell his own name.  And the fact that SI calls this a "Special Report" is pathetic.  I guess it's a sad buissness when any kind of work that esteems to have "journalistic integrity", must coencide with failure in individuals, be it professional or personal.  As you said, Howlands just not a good coach... get lost Dorhmann.

Poison nuts's picture

Yep Brewster - he's got that look for sure...straight up shitbiscuit. Kinda reminds of a skinny version of the guy from Seinfeld...

Heeeelllooo Dorhmann!

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

schooey's picture

Dorhmann is not a good writer and his "work" lacks veracity.

I remember thinking that the grammatical structure of the OSU hit piece was awful due to the rhetorical gymnastics the guy had to perform in order to insinuate guilt. He posed his rampant and hateful speculation as based on facts where there were none. The insinuation of guilt far beyond anything eventually found by the NCAA should rule the guy out of any future awards for his "journalism". What a shit-raker!

I am so glad to see this article here... 11W comes through again. Perhaps one of your fine writers could take the OSU hit piece apart line by line and expose this guy as the hack that he is. I mean beyond the obsurd fantasies of wide spread corruption in Columbus someone should really take him to task for his crap writing.  

I will not touch anything "sports-illustrated" until they give their word that they will never again pay this fraud Dorhmann. He would be better suited to writing ad copy or porn. 

Pam's picture

I canceled my subscription to SI after the Tressel "article" I keep getting emails from them trying to lure me back with cheap deals.  I would not go back if they offered it to me for free.

schooey's picture

 Are those two guys in the photos related? They share a certain quality. 

Enzo's picture

I liked him as Johnny Sack on the Sopranos.