UCLA Football is getting a lot of attention this off-season and it is not because they are once again going to have a tremendous team heading into the fall. Nope. It is because of the fact that there has been a lot of negative events surrounding the up-and-coming Bruin program, yet for the most part, UCLA has done nothing wrong. Sort of.
February 15, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Recording artist Puff Daddy (Sean Combs a.k.a. Diddy, P. Diddy) during halftime of the 2015 NBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden. The West defeated the East 163-158. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
These events were amplified on Monday when rapper/producer Sean “P. Diddy” Combs attacked strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi. Combs was arrested. Alosi was not. Unfortunately this event tops a series of mishaps involving UCLA football and are getting a lot of bad press about it.
Example given, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times had something to say in regards to it in an article where he takes several unwarranted shots at the Bruins and head coach Jim Mora. Now I get it, he has to sell papers and get page views or he gets fired, like every reporter, but if he actually took the time to analyze these events surrounding Bruin football, he would know (1) some of them were not caused by UCLA football and (2) many of these events happen to every Division I college football team (which does not excuse them).
Plaschke writes that there have been several “Bruin embarrassments” and that “it is not in the best interest of the Bruins program that has always prided itself on ‘gutty’ to suddenly be viewed as ‘grimy'”. He even wrote on his Twitter linking to his article: Diddy just the latest in a string of UCLA football stumbles.
Really? Because from what I have seen, and sure I may be a homer, is that UCLA has unfortunately been linked to several events and have done everything they can to immediately correct any wrong doing. But that does not sell papers.
Let us start with the Roquan Smith/Jeff Ulbrich saga. Smith was one of the top linebackers in the nation that committed to UCLA on National Signing Day. Smith then de-committed when it came out that Ulbrich was planning to join the Atlanta Falcons. Plaschke writes about this incident as if the Bruins were as evil as the “Deflategate” New England Patriots.
Plaschke writes, “In a sport where coaches will say anything to coerce a recruit, lying is sadly part of the game”, basically calling out Ulbrich for misleading Smith. Yes, lying is sadly part of the game, but it does not just involve coaches (though this was not great timing by Ulbrich).
Sep 25, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Players have been caught up in lies as well, like when USC‘s Josh Shaw lied about saving his drowning nephew. But when Plaschke wrote about it, his article was like a slap on the wrist to the Trojan football program that ended with a silver lining, “[Josh Shaw will] probably come back before the end of the season. At that point, quite amazingly but understandably, Trojans fans will be cheering for him to make a big redeeming play and, if he does, the media will happily chronicle it.”
In his article about UCLA football, Plaschke has no such happy ending.
UCLA has unfortunately been linked to several events and have done everything they can to immediately correct any wrong doing.
Plaschke then references offensive line coach Adrian Klemm who was suspended for breaking NCAA recruiting rules and claims that it is a “crack in the Bruins institutional armor”. Not once does he mention the fact that UCLA immediately self-reported Klemm to the NCAA, unlike USC who vehemently defied the NCAA in regards to that whole Reggie Bush fiasco.
Plaschke then references the arrest of 5-star running back Soso Jamabo, which UCLA had NOTHING to do with. Jamabo was a first time offender that has most likely learned from his mistakes, but it did not stop Plaschke from piling it on UCLA football.
He then goes back to the P. Diddy incident stating that “all these crooked roads lead to Monday’s events [between Combs and Alosi]”. Really? How?
How does Smith de-commiting from UCLA, Klemm making a recruiting mistake and Jamabo (who committed a crime in Texas on his prom night) lead to a rap mogul assaulting a UCLA coach and swinging a kettle bell at an intern’s head? Our only hope was this was a first draft and that Plascke accidentally hit “publish” before he could revise, but sadly, this is his belief.
Feb 4, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Recording artist Snoop Dogg stands beside his son Cordell Broadus who announced his commitment to UCLA during a press conference at Bishop Gorman High School. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Unfortunately he goes on. Plaschke questions the integrity of the program being involved with Diddy and claims it is for “monetary and recruiting benefits”. He then goes on to attack UCLA in regards to famed rapper Snoop Dogg and his son, UCLA WR commit Cordell Broadus (who earned his scholarship), stating the UCLA administration is “questioning” the Bruin’s scholarship offer to Broadus and because of it, Mora “is being possibly viewed with as many raised eyebrows as expectations.” Now I do not want to get into the stereotypes Plaschke is alluding to, because that would be a messy article all together, but in regards to Mora and UCLA, Plaschke is flat out wrong.
Here is the thing about Mora. He has dealt with players when he has needed to. He has dealt with coaches when needed to. He has dealt with the media when needed to. To villainize him and UCLA when they have run a pretty clean program is ridiculous. Any wrong doing has been immediately dealt with and for the events with Jamabo and Diddy, how can a columnist with his credibility call out UCLA for being “grimy” when they had nothing to do with the cause of either situation?
I guess Plaschke will not be writing a column about all the good Mora has done anytime soon, which is sad because he can gain a lot more UCLA followers rather than lose them as he did with his article.