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Apologize For Syracuse?  No Way!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I am a fan of the Syracuse Orange, and I make no apologies for it.

Pardon me if I appear to be a bit defensive but I am sick and tired of hearing people criticize me and my fellow Orange men and women.

What set me off was a little blurb by Tony Massarotti from 98.5 – The Sports Hub and the Boston Globe. In addition to taking verbal shots at my alma mater and its loyal legions of fans on his radio show, he also wrote the following about Syracuse fans:

Maybe it has something to do with the preponderance of people in this business from the Newhouse School of Communications, but does anyone else find Syracuse alumni to be disproportionately annoying? We're not saying Syracuse folks have quite entered the arena of Boston College, Duke, and Notre Dame folks, but for a school and program that has been smeared by a succession of scandals of late, Syracuse alums ought to be more red faces and fewer of that unsightly orange clothing.

Where do I even begin to defend myself along with Syracuse University, the men’s basketball program and all of its fans?

Let’s start at the top. Massarotti admits that with the “preponderance of people” in his chosen profession – the media – that are “from the Newhouse School of Communications.”

First off, it’s the Newhouse School of Public Communications, you twit! Not that this oversight bothers me. It’s just that, if someone is going to go out of their way to criticize, you’d think they would try to get it right.

Secondly, there is a good reason for so many Newhouse grads being in the media business. If you had done any research before applying to college, you would have noticed that Newhouse has the reputation nationally as being the best communications school in the country, if not the world. That’s why I applied to Syracuse and was thrilled to learn that I had been accepted.

As for we Syracuse alumni being “annoying,” who died and made you king, judge and jury of what constitutes great, or not-so-great fans?

You may have been annoyed by the number of fans wearing orange that converged on the city of Boston last weekend, but that’s your problem. As a long-time beatwriter who covered the Boston Red Sox for a living, I would think that you could appreciate a team that has such a loyal and passionate following? Or would you rather Syracuse fans treat their men’s basketball program more like Boston College fans treat theirs, which is to say, act like it doesn’t even exist? Syracuse fans pack the Carrier Dome regularly with 30,000+ fans per game and even manage more than 20,000 for non-league games of little interest. BC fans, meanwhile, show up to Conte Forum dressed up as empty seats.

Both Red Sox and Patriots fans are not well-liked by people throughout the country who aren’t fans of either team. Is it because they are obnoxious fans or is it that there is a tremendous amount of jealousy for the success their teams continually enjoy? You know the answer. And the same goes for Syracuse.

You also alluded to the scandals that have surrounded the men’s basketball program this season and, because of them, suggested that we ought to be embarrassed or ashamed of our team. Quite the contrary Mazz!

I am as proud of this Syracuse team of any team I have ever seen in my 27 years of rooting for the Orange. Granted, they will not be playing in New Orleans this weekend at the Final Four, but that’s no reason for us to hang our heads.

This team went an amazing (34-3) this season despite all of the distractions they had to deal with which they had NOTHING to do with.

Is it somehow Scoop Jardine’s fault that former assistant coach Bernie Fine allegedly abused a young man? Maybe we should blame Dion Waiters for the fact that some former Syracuse basketball player allegedly tested positive for smoking marijuana and wasn’t disciplined by the school? Or, as you suggest, maybe us fans should accept responsibility for the mistakes of others and never show our face in public again?

This year’s team, to me, proved to be the most mentally tough team to have ever worn those great orange uniforms. To be able to focus on playing basketball and not get wrapped up in the media frenzy surrounding those controversies is a tribute to both Jim Boeheim and every last player on that team.

You want obnoxious Mazz?  How about OSU alumni who call their alma mater THEEEEEE  Ohio State University.  Maybe we should call it THEEEEEE S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications or THEEEEEE Syracuse University.

The basketball program at your alma mater – Whatsthematter U – may not be a source of entertainment or pride for you and your fellow alumni, but the Syracuse basketball program is for me and my fellow Orange fans. And I make no apologies for it!  And if I had an orange foam middle finger, I'd put it on to salute you.


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