Earlier this week, Dan Le Batard interviewed highly-respected Yahoo Sports NFL writer Jason Cole on his WAXY-AM radio show. It was a throwaway “we have to talk about the NFL during Draft week“ segment until Cole said something in passing that we found very interesting, and a little shocking.
Cole was asked by Le Batard: “The Michigan Wolverines seem to have a running back, a wide receiver, a quarterback and a left tackle who are going to be drafted pretty high. So why did they stink on offense?”
Cole’s response: “Oh, because Lloyd Carr is an idiot. All apologies to him, because he’s a nice enough man, and I think he’s kind of sick, to be honest with you.” (audio link - comment starts at 1:55)
We heard the interview live, and we double-taked when we heard Cole say that Carr’s “kind of sick“. Thinking we may have heard Cole wrong, we went to the WAXY website and listened again. Yep, Cole said it.
Now we’re thinking that there must be some new news out there that Carr is ailing. So we did a Google search. Nothing turned up. The only thing semi-related was a November report from the DETROIT FREE PRESS on Carr’s retirement:
Carr also addressed the rumors that have flown for the past 5-7 years regarding his health, saying he is good health and does not understand where that speculation originated.
“It bothers me,” Carr said. “The thing that’s happened with the Internet is some guy puts something on a blog and it has no substance. People print things that have no basis in fact. I think that’s a problem.”
So has something changed over the past six months? If there has, it hasn’t been reported in the main media.
Interestingly, Le Batard did not follow up on Cole’s statement. The Miami radio/tv/print guy is as good an interviewer as there is, so we were a little surprised that he didn’t pursue Cole on it. Wonder why?
Our guess is that Le Batard ignored Cole’s comment because he was covering for a fellow journo and friend (Cole covered the Dolphins for the MIAMI HERALD, Le Batard’s newspaper, for 15 years).
To ask Cole, “so, Jason, what do you mean by ‘Lloyd Carr is kind of sick’?” is certainly a no-win for the respondent, especially if he doesn’t have hard evidence to back up his claim.
Or Le Batard just didn’t think it was big deal in the first place. Maybe he knew that none of his listeners would care if Carr was sick or not. He might be right.*
To be clear, we aren’t saying Cole doesn’t have proof that Carr is sick. Carr may well be suffering from a medical condition and the media has chosen not to cover it, for whatever reason.
And we’re not out to get Cole. He’s an outstanding writer who we read frequently. We just think, in this case, throwing around a statement like that is “kind of” irresponsible.
* To give you some insight into Le Batard’s show listenership, later in the show he interviewed retired wrestler Koko B. Ware. At least we think he did. He promoted the visit throughout the show but we didn’t stick around for the proceedings.
And yes, Mr. B. Ware featured a tropical bird, “Frankie,” as his closest confidant during his storied, squared-circle days.
So we don’t profess to know Mr. Le Batard’s audience or motivation when interviewing a guest.
But the respected M Go Blog, which first broke the news about Carr’s retirement, continues to suggest Ferentz is in the mix. That has spread to message boards, including this interesting post saying the reason Carr stepped down was because he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease several years ago. (Carr has been medicated, according to the post, and for the most part has been fine.) The post also suggests that Carr and Louisiana State’s Les Miles, thought to be near the top of Michigan’s coaching list, were not the best of friends.“Miles’ and Carr’s dislike for each other played out on the recruiting trail for years. Miles was allegedly one of the first coaches telling kids about Carr’s health and impending retirement and that was 4 years ago. The dislike spiraled and spiraled.
“This is what Carr meant in his resignation speech when he said that certain issues would be left on the recruiting trails [it was directed at Miles].”
We don’t put much stock in anonymous, since-deleted internet message board posts. But that may explain Cole’s claim.
UPDATE 2: We’ve heard from several Great Lakes-based media members today who report to us that the rumors about Carr’s less-than-healthy condition are very strong (we’re not going to get into specifics). Looks like there’s a very good chance that there is indeed a media embargo going on out of respect for the classy coach, and that’s fine by us.
And hopefully Carr is, as he claimed in November, completely healthy.