Thursday, September 11, 2008

UAB Sports Fans Tackle the Legal Schnauzer Case

This might be my vanity talking, but I've always thought UAB sports fans were a little more intelligent than your average fan.

Now I have proof to help support my theory.

I'm a little slow on the uptake here, but I just discovered that one of the UAB Blazer sports forums included a discussion of our Legal Schnauzer story--particularly my termination from UAB.

The discussion, in the political section of the Blazer Talk forum, started when a member made a post that included a link to Raw Story's piece about my unceremonious firing. That sparked a lively discussion that touched on folks like Don Siegelman, Bob Riley, Alice Martin, and more.

Naturally, it was nice to see that most of the Blazer fans seemed supportive of yours truly. One poster apparently had made my acquaintance and described me as an "honest, fair, and trustworthy journalist."

I like the sound of that. Then, the poster said, "He's also the nicest man you'll ever meet. Two of the primary names mentioned in this story are not."

(I swear to God, the poster wasn't me! And I know it wasn't my wife because she would never say I'm the nicest guy you'll ever meet. She's seen--and heard--me whine and gripe and bitch too much for that. Mrs. Schnauzer's favorite line is this: "I'm always hearing about women who want their 'man' to open up, to share his feelings. Well, they should be careful what they wish for. I've got a man who shares his feelings all the time. And it's not all it's cracked up to be.")

Whoever this poster is, he certainly knows a thing or two about key personalities at UAB. Wish I could hire him to do PR--except I can't afford to pay him.

Aside from a discussion about my woes, I was glad to see that UAB fans took on a number of weighty matters. Someone included a link to the superb USA Today piece on the Alex Latifi case in Huntsville, noting Alice Martin's starring role in that fiasco.

That led to a wide-ranging discussion that touched on civil liberties, civil rights, the war in Iraq, and more.

One poster noted that he had a family member--his brother-in-law--die in Iraq. That statement hit home to me. I don't know if the poster is a UAB alumnus or not, but I do know that many UAB alums do not come from what you might call the "privileged class." Many of them are first-generation college graduates, and many work and raise families while going to school.

They are the kind of folks who might actually know someone who has suffered because of the war in Iraq.

Even after being unlawfully fired by UAB--and treated like a criminal in the process--I still find myself following Blazer sports. In fact, I find it difficult to work up a good, honest hatred for UAB in general--a school that I have long considered my "second alma mater"--even though the current administration has certainly given me reason to be bitter toward somebody.

I guess old loyalties die hard. Plus, I know that only a handful of unethical people are behind my termination. And I suspect the idea did not originate on the UAB campus anyway. Sadly, UAB's current leaders are too weak to stand up to corrupt influences and unethical pressure tactics.

In my rational moments, I know that the actions of a few weak and corruptible leaders on the UAB campus are no reason to hate an entire institution--particularly one that has been good to me in many ways, and continues to be one of Alabama's most important institutions.

And I continue to be fond of UAB alumni and the university's sports fans. UAB athletics lives in giant shadows cast by the University of Alabama, Auburn University, and the Southeastern Conference. And yet Blazer sports, thanks to founding father Gene Bartow and a bunch of other hard-working, dedicated folks, have enjoyed remarkable success and carved out a niche in the Alabama sports scene.

I've always thought UAB sports fans were a special and interesting breed. And I'm glad I discovered this forum discussion that helps prove that.

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