My late father — University of Alabama, Class of ’50 — always believed that sports writers were prejudiced against the Crimson Tide. He would have spotted as evidence of such bias the eagerness with which some commentators rushed to put an asterisk after ‘Bama’s 37-21 BCS victory over Texas last night in Pasadena.
Rather than celebrate the Crimson Tide’s victory, all the sports writers want to expend their prose praising the losers. Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy was knocked out of the game on his fifth play, and the ABC announcerrs broadcasting the game almost immediately began making “what if” excuses for Texas.
This morning, the Apotheosis of Colt McCoy was continued by dozens of columnists, including Pete Fiutak of Fox Sports:
[I]t’s going to be hard to ever think about this national title game without thinking about McCoy and how Texas was hamstrung.
This assertion bears strong resemblance to a malodorous substance excreted by the Texas mascot. Injuries are part of the game, which is why there are depth charts. The fact that true freshman Garrett Gilbert was No. 2 QB on the ‘Horns chart — and was manifestly unready to take over, failing to complete a pass until after halftime — is certainly relevant to the overall strength of the two teams.
Furthermore, the “tainted title” argument, also promoted by L.A. Daily News columnist Bob Keisser, treats McCoy’s game-ending injury as a complete fluke, a random incident. This denies credit to Alabama linebacker Marcel Dareus, whose hard hit put McCoy out of the game.
It was a clean hit — there was nothing dirty or illegal about it — and no one wants to see players injured. However, injuries are an inevitable consequence of hard-hitting defense, and the Tide’s defense hits harder than anyone else in college football, which is why they are indisputably the national champions.
Only after the game ended did Alabama reveal that their QB Greg McElroy played last night’s game while wearing special pads to protect two fractured ribs, injuries McElroy sustained in the SEC title game against Florida — but which neither he nor his coaches made public.
McElroy’s stoicism in playing with pain, Dareus’s hard-hitting effort, two touchdowns for Heisman winner Mark Ingram — all of the championship efforts by Crimson Tide players are dismissed by the sports writers as anomalous and incidental. Anti-‘Bama bias is as ubiquitous in sports media as liberalism is among the political press. Unlike politics, however, media bias in sports can’t affect the outcome on the field.