Thursday, September 29, 2011

On This Forward Rebels Business

To the uninformed, which I highly advise that you remain in your category and not fill your brain with the waste of time that's headed your way, Forward Rebels is a group of anonymous Ole Miss fans (or so we assume) dedicated to making Ole Miss better at athletics or something something something.  Recently, they've made news by taking out two full-page ads in various newspapers (which assures very few people saw them at all!), most notably The Commercial Appeal in Memphis and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, criticizing the Ole Miss administration and calling for the firing of athletic director Pete Boone.

Here's the second of the two ads:

On a side note, what's up with the giant gaps between the fifth and six and seventh sentences?  Are we to believe the sixth sentence is so important and well-crafted it needs to be set apart from the other sentences?  Perhaps it would be if everything was not already in bullet point fashion.  How about creating two paragraphs with the sixth sentence set between them?  Then you have two blocks with negative space pointing you toward this crucial sixth sentence with THAT in all-caps.

Also, that logo sucks.

Anyway, back to wherever this was going, since the ads have come out, I, along with every other person for which Ole Miss has an email address, have received letters in email form from the M-Club and the Ole Miss Alumni Association (no idea what the difference is) in which the ads taken out by the Forward Rebels group were described as "malicious", "harmful", and other words that express indignation (note:  "harrumph" was not listed).  Then, today, Ole Miss chancellor Dan Jones decided it was time to issue a response that was not a response according to Ole Miss chancellor Dan Jones.

In his letter to the Ole Miss Family (not directly related to the Auburn Family), Jones said:
"Many are aware of anonymous, malicious and public attacks on athletics director Pete Boone. The Ole Miss family may not be aware, however, that as a part of this orchestrated campaign, I have received threats, promising that if I do not remove Pete Boone, "It is going to get real ugly," and threatening to expand the attacks to other athletics employees.

Friends, supporters and the media have asked how I will react to this anonymous and vicious pressure. The short answer is that I will not react."
"I will not react."  Except by writing a letter that is a total reaction and draws attention to a soap opera-like problem that is entirely contained within the Ole Miss community, which of course will be picked up by almost every major media outlet and put our problems on display for the entire country.  But other than that, THERE IS NO REACTION.  THE NEST WILL NOT BE STIRRED FURTHER.

Great Odin's raven, WHY IS PR SO HARD FOR PEOPLE?  If you're not going to respond, DON'T RESPOND.  Don't write anything, don't say anything.  If asked about the ads, say, "I have seen the ads, I support Ole Miss athletics, and will evaluate all aspects of each athletic team at the end of their respective seasons.  I am happy we have fans who care so much about Ole Miss, and would love to have discussion with them to better understand their position."

Is that total bullshit?  OF COURSE.  But it sounds good and doesn't create a public shitstorm.  Cliches and nothingness are your best friends in this situation.  OH HOW I HATE PR PEOPLE.

As for the war between Forward Rebels and the administration, I understand the Forward Rebels' position.  They're as pissed off as most Ole Miss fans should be and want to make sure something is done about our failures.  Taking this fight into the public arena is what I don't understand, unless they were rebuffed by Dan Jones or whoever he might pass them off to, then those in the administration deserve what's coming their way.  But, assuming that didn't happen, what good does it do to let the rest of the country know we do not like our athletic director?  I can promise you, they give not a rat's ass about what goes on at Ole Miss, unless it concerns us doing something stupid at which they can laugh.

If Forward Rebels wanted people to not get angry at them, they should have stuck to Ole Miss publications, emails, or set something up on a game day.  Instead, they've drug Ole Miss into an ugly public in-fighting scene and caused most to dismiss their efforts.  Now all people want is for them to go away so we don't have to read every week in regional and national publications about the chaos going on at Ole Miss.

Though I criticized Dan Jones about two paragraphs ago, the point he did make, which is a good one, is that no one at Ole Miss is going to be publicly pushed into decisions by an unknown outside group.  This isn't Arkansas or Auburn looking for a new coach.  Now, private pushing, well, that depends on how much money you've got and how well you know how to shut the hell up.  But anonymous groups, who have apparently chosen not to go the way of direct contact and instead selected the public domain as the battleground, will have zero say in anything, which is how it should be.

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