Let me get my bias out in the open. I'm a UH graduate. Class of 1988. Graduated with membership in the Honors College -- only then it was just the Honors Program. I've attended various UH sporting events from before I started at the school, to the present. I've donated money -- not much, but every little bit helps I hear. I've always been proud of my school, and of my having been able to attend and graduate from the university. Sure, I complain about it from time to time, but show me a graduate of any school that doesn't complain about his/her alma mater. I don't think such a person exists.
This past year, I've been lucky to be credentialed so that I can cover Houston Cougar sports. I'm not like Steve Campbell -- who does a great job for the Houston Chronicle -- in that I'm not able to spend all of my days on campus at the athletic facility. I haven't been able to get know all of the athletes or the staff. But I've been to every media event that I could make. I've been to every football or basketball game that was played on campus. I've covered most of the team's home baseball games. I was on campus for the Tom Penders resignation and the James Dickey hiring. I've questioned coaches and players before and after games.
And do you know what I discovered? While Richard Justice likes to write about the UH, and while he likes to mock the school and the coaches and the athletes and students and facilities, what he doesn't like to do is actually come up to the campus for anything. Since August, I've seen him four times at the school: the Texas Tech media luncheon, the Texas Tech game, the day Tom Penders resigned, and the day James Dickey was hired.
What I'm getting at, I guess, is that I'm tired of this guy, who doesn't give a damn about the university, constantly trashing the school and offering up his remedies. He did this on Tuesday in a very mocking blog post in which he denigrated the Cougars while touting all things Longhorns.
He mocks the UH graduation rate while failing to note UT's not-so-stellar rates. He accuses UH and James Dickey of running a crooked program, while not noting the arrest stats for the UT football program. Just go read it. It's pompous. It's condescending. It's like George W. Bush lecturing the UN on the rule of law. And then the post was gone, as if it never existed.
Because late Tuesday afternoon, in its place, was a post in which he instead makes the case for Texas and Texas A&M to stay in the Big 12, and for them to bring the Coogs and TCU into the conference with them. Suddenly, after saying there was no way in hell that the Horns would ever play the Cougars again, he's making a case that would have the schools playing every year.
That's nice of him, I suppose, but it's not what he believes. It's not what he thinks. It's not honest.
This is not the first time this has happened. I've seen Justice do this on many occasions, usually involving the Texans. He'll write something while they're losing, then after the game, delete everything and replace with mild criticism or praise. And this just isn't professional. If you're going to write opinion pieces, then write opinion pieces and don't be afraid of those opinions. It's not like Justice has never trashed the Cougars before. He seems to live for trashing the Coogs, so it's just kind of hard to understand why he went with the flip-flop.
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I might be a graduate of UH, but I strive for fairness and accuracy in everything I write about the school, whether it's a game story or an opinion piece. I don't think I'm a homer, and I don't want to be a homer, and if homerism ever gets into my UH stories, then I hope you'll let me know.
I'm not asking Justice to be a homer. I'm asking him to be fair. If he's going to write about the Cougars, then make an effort and show up every now and then. Don't just show up for the big games, or the major press conferences. Come out for the games against Marshall and SMU. I know that's probably beneath a big journalist like Justice, but give it a shot for once.
And damn it, if he's going to write something, have some guts and stand by it. Don't delete it and replace it with something innocuous. That's not the way to earn respect. That's the way to earn contempt.
(Thanks to Coogfans.com for grabbing the original post in a browser cache.)