Filed under: Hate Duke | Tags: Christian laettner stomp, Duke Hate, Gregg Doyel
Our good friend over at CBS Sports, Gregg Doyel, who strangely has been pretty kind lately to Coach K and to this year’s Blue Devils team, is on a mission. He’s trying to figure out how a Duke team that was once loved is now hated.
Maybe Doyel should just spend some time looking through his archives. That would be a good start. There is no better example of a person “turning” on the Duke program. Remember, he’s the same guy who wrote this glowing book (right) about Duke basketball in 1999, but then turned douche bag soon after.
Now we’re going to deal with Doyel in a second, but let’s focus on his most recent article.
The basic idea is, Duke use to be liked, but now they’re not, even though nothing has really changed with the program in that time frame. He comes up with three reasons.
One, Dick Vitale. ESPN has always been the tail wagging the dog in college basketball, and Vitale is the rattle at the end of that tail. Vitale loves Duke and Coach K, and he won’t shut up about it. Doesn’t matter if he’s calling a Duke game or a non-Duke game. He talks about Duke, and he talks glowingly, and people are tired of it.
What more can I say about this reasoning? Vitale throws a ton of praise at Duke. Yes he does. He throws a ton of praise at Coach K. He also throws a ton of praise at North Carolina, Roy Williams, Gary Williams or anything that he sees as a positive towards college basketball. During Duke’s last game against North Carolina, he brought up Jim Boeheim three times that night (and Syracuse wasn’t even playing).
Dickie V is a positive guy and he loves this sport. Hell, I wouldn’t even call him a good X’s and O’s analyst. He’s all about the praise. He’s all about the joy of college basketball. This is who he is.
Now does he talk more about Duke more than other teams? I have no idea. I’ve never counted. But you know what? Neither has anyone else, including Gregg Doyel. Now I’m bias and maybe I’m missing it. Or maybe, when Vitale talks about Duke, it just stands out more and annoys people like Doyel more because he’s anti-Duke.
Bias works both ways people.
Do me a favor…someone, anyone….watch 10 games called by Vitale next year. Go ahead and mark down how many times he mentions any team (including Duke) that’s not related to the game at hand. This would include rivals or upcoming games. For example, if he’s calling a Florida Gators game, at some point he has to mention Kentucky. I wouldn’t count that one. When you’re done, get back to me.
Two, Christian Laettner. Duke’s best player stomped on Kentucky’s prone, helpless Aminu Timberlake in the 1992 NCAA tournament. Laettner was unrepentant. Krzyzewski didn’t punish him. If this is why you decided to dislike Duke, frankly, I can’t blame you. Then again, that was 18 years ago.
Now this would almost be funny if it weren’t for the fact it has gotten so much traction and haters reference it so often. (Quick note: When trying to pick a name for this blog, my original name was “Laettner’s Stomping Ground.”)
If you didn’t know better, you would think that Laettner was Ed Norton going all “American History X” on Timberlake. Of course, if you took the five seconds to find the clip on You Tube, you’ll know that “the stomp” wasn’t…you know what, I’ll let you see for yourself.
Seriously, Doyel? That is what you’ve been screaming about all these years? What Laettner did was cheap and stupid. He was called for a technical, as he should have been. But to act like THAT was some kind of vicious attack on a “helpless” player, give me a break. The second after Laettner got the technical, Timberlake was up, smiling and clapping.
To act like Coach K should have “punished” Laettner for that is ridiculous. No coach in America would have punished or suspended a player for that. None. Zero. Nada. And something tells me you wouldn’t be bringing it up if it wasn’t Duke/Laettner/Coach K.
Now I’m going to talk a little more about this later, but I want to move on to Doyel’s third reason for hating Duke.
Three, Duke’s repeat. Duke went from losing every year in the Final Four to winning titles in 1991 and ’92. By 1992, Duke’s hapless stretch from 1988-90 had been recast into a dominant stretch of five consecutive Final Four appearances, capped by two titles. Duke wasn’t the Minnesota Vikings. Duke was the Dallas Cowboys. And most people hate the Cowboys.
Finally, he puts that nail directly on the head.
For the younger generation, it may be hard to believe this, but Duke use to suck. In fact, when I lived in Durham as a kid, they sucked bad. That was back in Coach Krzyzewski’s first season and I had no idea how to spell or pronounce his name.
Back then, living in Durham, I fell in love with Duke partly because they were the local team (five-minute ride from my parent’s apartment on my BMX), but also because they were the underdogs. The Devils got no love at that time, especially from the local newspapers and sports broadcasters. Everything was North Carolina and North Carolina State and that other school, Duke.
Being a Duke fan, I was rooting for the underdog. And later when Duke got better, the nation felt just like me. As Doyel points out, Duke was the little engine that couldn’t. They kept getting to the Final Four and kept getting their asses handed to them. People felt bad for them.
But then everything turned around and was winning back-to-back titles. Duke was the winning team, ALWAYS winning (so it seemed). I’ve said this before so many times, Duke wins, that’s where the hate comes from. If they were losers, no one would care. Just think, does anyone hate the Duke football team? No, because they’re not good.
Now people have given plenty of reasons for hating Duke. They are bull shit reasons because they name things that every other team and/or coach does. I’ve already been through it and I’m not going to dive through it again. You can find that here.
The point is, if Duke is a losing team, no one cares about the Devils. Hell, look at this year’s team. While you’ll find plenty of “Why I hate Duke” articles out there this year, you can also find some positive articles telling people why they shouldn’t hate Duke. The reason being is the simple fact that group of Duke players are good guys.
You know what though, if Duke was playing in their third final four in four years with this group of kids, no one would like these them. They’re likable because they’ve had to earn their way here. They went from a bunch of kids that couldn’t beat VMI, to one win away from a championship.
Anyhow, that’s it for Doyel’s reasons, but let’s finish up by jumping back onto Gregg for a moment.
The fact is, Gregg Doyel has been one of the most vocal Duke haters out there. He has ripped into Coach K every chance he gets (at least until Coach K took the U.S. team to the Olympics). Why?
What’s his motivation?
If you don’t know Doyel too well, you probably don’t know that he use to write for the Charlotte Observer. Following the 1999 season, Doyel decided to write a book about Coach K and Duke basketball. Problem was, Coach K wouldn’t agree to an interview with Doyel. In fact, it appears Coach K went out of his way to ask former players and assistants not to assist Doyel.
At first, you might think it was a dick move on Coach K, but if you’re at all familiar with Gregg Doyel and his “style” of writing, maybe Coach K had a good reason to not what Gregg Doyel writing his biography.
It’s not like Coach K hasn’t sat down and done interviews for books about Duke and himself before. Hell, he sat down and did an interview with Will Blythe, a diehard Carolina fan who wrote, “To Hate Like THis is to Be Happy Forever: A Thoroughly Obsessive, Intermittently Uplifting, and Occasionally Unbiased Account of the Duke-North Carolina Rivalry.”
Coach K would sit and do an interview with a Carolina fan, writing a pro-Carolina book about Duke/North Carolina, the year the won the title (2005), but he wouldn’t sit down with Gregg Doyel. Again, maybe that says more about Doyel. This is a guy who has a weekly column devoted to “hate mail.” He’s turned being a d-bag into an art form.
Of course Doyel showed his true colors in 2007 when he went after Coach K about the Laettner “stomp,” 15 years after it happened. Remember, he never had a problem with it when he wrote his glowing book about Duke.
Doyel had decided the Laettner technical was going to be his thing and eventually a “cheap foot tap” turned into a life threatening attack” to all the haters.
It’s reasons like that, Gregg. It’s people like you, that help with the hate. People hate Duke because of people like Jason Whitlock, who throw out B.S. theories about CBS cheating for Duke. It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it? One of the reasons people say they hate Duke is because of all the fawning the media does over Duke, yet you can’t turn a freaking page on a newspaper or click on a blog on the main web sites with an article or posting about “hating” Duke basketball.
I can’t blame these people. Remember, I’ve said it before, talk about Duke and you get ratings. Write about Duke and you get hits. Doyel knows this as well. That’s probably why he’s written about Duke more than any other team.
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