After the Arkansas vs Auburn game the year before last, John Pelphrey suspended Courtney Fortson. Surely I can assume everyone remembers this. What most might not remember is why Pelphrey suspended Fortson. It wasn't for the flagrant foul he picked up early in the first half. It wasn't because Fortson basically quit in the second half. It wasn't because on three strait offensive possessions Fortson walked to the corner and waved Stephan Welsch off when Welsch was pleading with Fortson to come and get the ball. It wasn't because of the poor attitude Fortson exhibited all night long. It wasn't even about the technical foul Fortson picked up in the second half after arguing with the referee who called the fifth foul on him...John Pelphrey suspended Fortson for a "non-isolated incident".
That's what he told reporters the next morning during his press conference. After informing the media he was suspending Fortson, Pelphrey said, "this one's on me, it's my decision to suspend him". When asked why he was suspending Fortson, Pelphrey proceeded to tell reporters that, "we have to have discipline". One reporter asked him if it was because of the technical, and being the staunch disciplinarian he is, Pelphrey replied, "it wasn't about the technical, I get technicals. It wouldn't be fair for me to suspend players for something I do". (Imagine that people!!!)
I guess that's why Bo Mattingly on his show that day bumped Pelphrey up a rung on his ladder of respect. Bo said, "this guy gets bumped up on my ladder of respect. He's suspending Fortson before the biggest game of the year. That's a guy that cares more about principle than pride. Kentucky's coming in here on Saturday and the game is on National Television, and Pelphrey, a guy from Kentucky, is suspending his best player. I respect that".--- I didn't Bo, and you know it. No one should have.
What happened at Auburn that night with Fortson was bad people, but not near as bad as what the media of this state tried to get away with the following day. If it weren't for someone that was there that night, none of what your reading would be public knowledge. The media, the University, and John Pelphrey would have gotten away with it.
That night in Auburn, Alabama there was a plot hatched. It started the minute the game was over.
When Arkansas dumped yet another half time lead and lost to Auburn, the Razorbacks went to 1-8 in SEC play. After thrilling all of us with their wins over Oklahoma and Texas, and their 12-1 start, this team had managed to plummet to the bottom of the SEC. This fan base was restless and still not sure about John Pelphrey. This team lost by their largest margin ever in BWA, and had their worse start ever in SEC play that year. Pelphrey was on the hot seat, and after his team managed to dump several half time leads only to lose by double digits, the possibilities of winning another game looked bleak.
The media were already in prop up mode before this loss to Auburn. It started after the 0-3 start in SEC play and the departure of Marcus Monk. I remember it vividly. After Arkansas lost to Florida on a Saturday afternoon to go 0-3 in SEC play, Wally Hall wrote an article on Tuesday claiming the program was in "good hands and on solid ground". I found this funny seeing that on Saturday after the game with Florida, one of Arkansas' players was arrested shortly after getting off the plane for DWI. After the 0-3 start and several other player suspensions that year, the program seemed too me that it was in anything but good hands and on solid ground. But as it was, this media base started exhausting their excuse pool right then, and with every loss you could tell they were scrambling for something good to say about Pelphrey. But they always found refuge in their efforts to make Pelphrey the disciplinarian, and it hasn't stopped to this day despite all my efforts to rebut them.
When Arkansas lost to Auburn that night the game wasn't televised here. The media knew this. They also knew this fan base was growing anxious and Pelphrey's tenure was in jeopardy. If they were unable to convince the fans this wasn't Pelphrey's fault, and that he was a disciplinarian, it was going to be hard to maintain him. So they decided to take advantage of the fact fans hadn't seen what transpired on the floor that night. With a little planning they came up with the idea that by suspending Fortson and labeling it "not an isolated incident", they could kill two birds with one stone. They would be able to praise Pelphrey as a disciplinarian, and excuse the next loss.
Courtney Fortson's actions on the floor that night demanded John Pelphrey take action, but this media base ignored their duty, and I was the only person to notice it. Fortson did commit the stupid, senseless flagrant foul early, and he did jaw with the referee after he called the fifth foul on him. However, there were other things Fortson did in the game that weren't mentioned. (check the links at the bottom). That's why everyone was forced to stand by while this media base bumped Pelphrey up a rung on the ladder of respect for having suspended Fortson. Had we watched the game we would have known why Fortson was suspended, and we sure as hell wouldn't have been bumping Pelphrey up on the ladder of respect. Quite the contrary, we would have viewed it as it really was--- Pelphrey lost control of one of his players and his team dumped another game they were leading at halftime. This incident would have reflected directly upon the perception of the coaching ability of John Pelphrey.
In the fans eyes, Pelphrey would have been responsible for the incident---he's the coach. The media knew this and that is why they covered it up. Generally, whenever a team falls apart on the floor, the coach will assume responsibility for the incident, but as we've seen here time and time again, this coach won't. Likewise with the media, whenever they should hold him accountable, they blatantly refuse to do it. That night in Auburn, the fans of this state wanting a new coach were robbed, deceived, and cheated out of the truth.
I really find it perfect irony because seven games later, and a couple of more technical fouls, Fortson was on the floor against Florida in the SEC tournament. This after being caught shoplifting a night or two earlier with Jason Henry at Wal-Mart. This time the media wanted Pelphrey to get the win, and without Fortson they knew it was impossible. They felt sure they could cover it up because there wasn't a police report. In a period of a couple of weeks, this media base covered up two significant incidences in an effort to keep this lame, pathetic coach propped up.
I hope now people will see what the media did. They had Pelphrey say it wasn't an isolated incident so they could deflect attention from the fact Fortson should've been suspended for his actions in the game. Then they stood down and floated softballs at Pelphrey the next day in the press conference. This wasn't a coach trying to make a point with a young man, and it wasn't reporters in search of the truth for the fan base they serve. This was a coach desperate for the media to make him look like a disciplinarian, and a media base desperate to make him look like a disciplinarian. That's why when Fortson shoplifted and Pelphrey played him for the sake of a win, they turned their heads and never mentioned it---and spent the next year telling us what a character driven guy Pelphrey was and how he was restoring discipline back to the program. Well, he's not, and their criminals. They have committed fraud people.
I have posted some links for the reader to look at. One of them is the press conference. Keep in mind we didn't watch the game, and that Pelphrey says it wasn't an isolated incident. Also, remember that had we watched the game, this media base could not have bumped him up on the ladder of respect. We would have known why he suspended him, and that it was an isolated incident---it was because of what happened in the game. This bandying of words by Pelphrey was just a ploy by the media so they could get their talking points changed to Pelphrey being a disciplinarian. If we had watched the game they couldn't have pulled this. Think about it. And oh, listen closely to Pelphrey give his players the green light to argue with the referees and draw technical fouls---Remember the Vanderbilt game when Welsch tried to trip the player going out of bounds. Had he been successful, and had the referee called a technical for it, John Pelphrey would've played him the next game. There wouldn't have been a suspension. I guess now, we know why these sort of things have plagued Pelphrey's tenure. John Pelphrey is the leader of this team and he is no "disciplinarian angel"! I'm Tim From Little Rock, Have a good day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPsq9i1KOkY I wish I had the whole press conference, but I don't.