A while back, I posted something called The Weblogging Disclosure Statement, in which I argued that a weblogger's credibility is dependent, in part, upon transparency.
"Transparency," of course, is just an internet euphemism for "honesty and integrity." We all have biases and, as sports fans, we all have deeply ingrained prejudices for or against particular teams.
I am a Georgia Bulldogs fan from a family of Georgia Bulldogs fans. I hold two degrees from the University of Georgia. I met my wife on the campus in Athens and married my wife on the campus in Athens.
If you were running for public office and Uga was your opponent, there is virtually no chance that I would vote for you. (Photograph from Georgia Sports Communications.)
These are not attributes of mine that I am able to set aside in the name of impartiality and objectivity, however much I may try (and, sincerely, I do) to be impartial and objective when casting my BlogPoll ballot.
This simple and obvious reality explains why MGoBlog's Brian, the creator and proprietor of the BlogPoll, imposes the sensible and minimal requirement that a voter declare a team affiliation, which is shown on the voter grid. This vital information allows us to assess the extent to which a particular voter's ballot is affected by bias.
Accordingly, if Ramblin' Racket's Jeff ranks Georgia Tech No. 7, the Georgia Sports Blog's Paul Westerdawg can call him out for it and Jeff can offer his explanation (while confirming that, whatever other differences may divide us, he and I share an affinity for Tiffani Thiessen). If Frank McGrath, a self-confessed Tulane fan, ranks L.S.U. No. 20, he can be given a hard time by Roll Bama Roll's Nico and made to explain himself.
If former Red and Black entertainment editor Stephen Robinson is reading this, she isn't chubby and you do look like Urkel!
In what can only be characterized as a childish outburst based solely on sour grapes, he attacked MGoBlog with high school-level insults and an elementary school-level command of the English language, offering the following rationalizations in support of his contention that one of The Blogfathers is lousy:
[T]he main reason, is their stupid Blogpoll. It is the most retarded concept I have every [sic.] seen and I am embarrassed that I even applied to be a part of it. . . .
Being the Best Football Prognosticator Ever! (Which is documented!) I decided to offer my detailed insight and witty banter to this so-called "Blogpoll" only to have my offer arbitrarily discarded because the Sedge Court Journal is not "affiliated with any school."
At first I was angry but then I thought: "I don't want to be apart [sic.] of their stupid poll and stupid blog anyways!"
And here is why their poll is so [expletive deleted] stupid. Of all the potential voters out there, I am one of the few experts that is [sic.] truly unbiased. I single handedly handicapped over 169 games last year and personally watched over 75% of the matchups yet despite my honesty, candor, and extensive football knowledge I have been rejected from participating in the blogpoll. The blogpoll is nothing more than a bunch of homers whose knowledge is limited to the top 25 and their own conference.
Well, they can take their "Blogpoll" and go [verb deleted] themselves. I am going to start my own poll and it will be way better!!!
Well now. Let's recap, shall we?
First, he writes:
Then, he writes:
He's "truly unbiased," but he regards anything associated with the Maize and Blue with "automatic" disdain. At least one of his colleagues shares his view.
Do you smell that, boys and girls? That's called intellectual dishonesty. The Polish Prognosticator has a team affiliation---or, at a minimum, a basis for a team hatred---but he doesn't have enough courage of his convictions to tell you up front what it is.
If Mike Cooper isn't ashamed to claim his favorite team, why should anyone else be?
The moral of the story is simple. No matter how much we attempt to protest otherwise, sports fans aren't unbiased. We arrived at our love of the game through our love of a particular team or a particular player and, while we may develop an affinity for the sport as a whole, we never lose the attachment that brought us to that affection in the first place.
I am a college football fan, but I am a Georgia Bulldogs fan, first, last, and always. I am a major league baseball fan, but I am an Atlanta Braves fan, first, last, and always. If I write something about the Auburn Tigers, the Florida Gators, the New York Mets, or anyone else with the poor judgment to wear orange and blue while I claim to be impartial, I'm either delusional or dishonest.
The reason L.D. and Brian, Dan, and Tom keep such close eyes on the punditocracy is that those who influence popular opinion have preconceptions, as well, and everything from their subtle prejudices to their clear conflicts of interest must be taken into account when considering what weight to give to their words.
We all have biases. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to you, lying to himself, or both. Such people, from the most famous E.S.P.N. studio analyst to the most lowly intercollegiate athletics weblogger, should be given the level of trust and attention that liars deserve . . . namely, none.