The following has been transcribed from an audiotape. The recording is of a conversation between a blogger from this website and an Alabama Athletic Department ‘Whistleblower,’ who wishes to remain anonymous.
[Background sounds of a busy café or bar. The sound of two cups being placed on a table]
Bama Whistleblower (BWB): I think it’s time.
Scorched Colon (SC): Time?
BWB: It’s time to break the silence. About everything. About Texas A&M. About the Red Elephants. About the fact that I have a nervous rash every time I think about Nick Saban. This conversation never took place. It would be dangerous for both us if this went public. Understand?
SC: No problem. So please begin. The first thing I want to know is, is the ‘old guard’, these Bama Boosters are going after Johnny Manziel?
BWB: The ‘old guard’, as you call them, they are still in force but they’ll soon all retire, or fade away. And that’ll change things forever.
SC: Is that a good thing?
WB: The old guard has done a lot for Alabama football. They shaped this whole Manziel “pay for autographs” mess that is going on right now. They were the big thinkers who cooked up the autograph session and then turned him into the NCAA.
On the other hand, there are some older boosters that are just hanging on, complaining that things aren’t like what they were in Coach Bryant’s day. Well, of course they’re not. To be frank, they need to stop holding the Alabama program back. They need to realize that we are facing increasing pressures from other teams and don’t have the time, money, or energy to lose one or two ballgames a year need help from friendly pollsters to back in the BCS title game.
Remember when we didn’t win the SEC title back in 11? And still “backed into” the BCS? Coach Saban’s ass was chapped over that. We had to rely on other teams to beat teams ranked higher than us? The AD doesn’t want a repeat of that situation.
SC: So you are admitting that Alabama created this scandal to press their advantage?
BWB: Of course! [Laughter] You do remember the Cam Newton scandal, right?
SC: Of course. But Cam played against Bama anyway.
BWB: Think about it. I don’t know how all this will play out or for how long it will drag on. But the crazy thing I noticed with Cam and the other mudslinging that had all the substance of a fart in a hurricane was how often I could log on to an Alabama football forum and lo and behold, some “long time poster” (he extends his fingers in the air, creating air quotes) there could have so much insider info.
It was uncanny how every time the next bomb was going to be lobbed Auburn’s way, one of our fans would have a few days to a week of a heads up on it. They’d predict it down to the day or so when it would drop, what media outlet was be doing the dirty work and some allusions as to what it would be about. It really shows how far we can go whenever some team threatens us in any way, somehow an Alabama fan is in the thick of it with more insider knowledge than the fans of the team in question.
The strategy is this: proof is irrelevant. Just dig up as much mud as you can and fling it in waves. After a while, it won’t matter if there’s no proof whatsoever of what they accuse you of. The mere volume of accusations and innuendos put you under a “cloud of suspicion.”
We basically put Auburn through a colonoscopy from the press and the NCAA. They went over phone, email, bank and other records with a fine toothed comb. They were getting fed information from Bama fans like it was a telethon for tsunami victims. Not a shred of any of it, Cam or otherwise, came to anything. It even prompted the unprecedented steps of the NCAA publicly smacking down Danny Sheridan and issuing a formal and public close to the investigation at Auburn.
SC: What will happen to Manziel?
BWB: What do you think? In 2013, I’d say it’s a pretty SAFE bet he will play. Just look how much aubarn suffered by not suspending $Cam KNEWton . . . . . – yea – ZERO. Same for O-Lie-O State, they basically got a slap on the wrist. It’s their own (Auburn) fault for not taking the bowl ban immediately in 2011.
I don’t know where aTm stands these days in NZAA politics, but my bet is they are pretty strong they are tied with the barn for MOST NZAA PROBATIONS in the SEC, but haven’t been caught in a couple decades.
Based on events of the past 3-4 years, I suspect they will be advised to “Full Speed Ahead” and just apologize later if they can’t cut a good deal. Remember, the NZAA “Cleared” $Cam in about 24 Hours. . .
Look – NO ONE at aubarn regrets flipping the bird at the NZAA in 2010!!!
I DO very much hope Johnny Goofball DOES play – As sick as we are of “If only Colt had played” – I Do NOT want to hear for the next decade, “If only Johnny had played!”
SC: So in your opinion, Manziel will play against Alabama?
BWB: I don’t care if he plays or not. I do know one thing; he would not be playing for Coach Saban.
Even if Manziel does play against Bama, this mess has now created a huge distraction that will adversely affect A&M. Ol’ Bama can continue to plug ahead, mind their own business and get ready for the season without any clutter or scandals. Advantage = Bama
SC: Isn’t personality a plus point for Manziel? After all he did beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
BWB: [Dismissive laughter] Nope. The real issue with Manziel is he is a rich entitled kid who’s always got everything he wanted and done whatever he wanted and now he’s got a bunch of camera’s and attention he wasn’t used to getting… basically what I’m saying is, the kid probably isn’t doing anything different than he ever did, we just get to see what that is now, on a daily basis it seems, thanks to social media…
SC: Please tell me that the NCAA’s investigative expertise will outgun the men in crimson?
BWB: Not a chance. We’re a program full of worthy intellectual types. Perhaps they need to be more enterprising
SC: I can’t believe you’re saying this. What else should I keep an eye on?
BWB: This story is going to dominate the news the next week, but I fully expect the NCAA will find a way to let little Johnny boy off the hook. Besides, if the so-called sources for this story didn’t see money exchange hands, that’s all the NCAA needs. This story is going to end up resembling the $cam Newton ordeal. The NCAA will say there isn’t enough evidence or find some loophole to clear Manziel, but everyone will know that Manziel was guilty. Our guy did a crap job on that. I wouldn’t want to do it. Would you?
SC: This isn’t about me.
BWB: There are tons of arguments about this but it really boils down to First question asked in any NCAA investigation is, “Will a sanction benefit Alabama?” If the answer is “yes” or “maybe” then the investigation is over. Case closed. We may as well all go home.
SC: Do you think A&M boosters are a threat?
BWB: Some Texas A&M people think that we could be responsible for Johnny’s autograph troubles, out of spite and vengeance, and that we want him ruled ineligible. There’s no way to make people understand that what we really want is for him to be eligible, in good health, and in less than top form when we meet again. It stems from an inferiority complex. But much as they hate to admit it, people SEC really need us winning championships. They can come up with the most imaginative campaign in the world but they need us to test it and to provide some kind of context for their work.
SC: So what are the folks in the Athletic department worrying for?
BWB: We’re petrified that some inexperienced idiot in a football department will make some statement that this is a Bama operation and it’s nothing more than a revised and upgraded blueprint how we tried to take down Auburn, when they were winning that is.
I know there are some real concerns from our boosters about the potential power and influence of the Aggie boosters.
SC: Do you really think the Aggies are capable of taking on the Bama machine??
BWB: Absolutely. We need to be tougher – more professional – stand our ground. There are some brilliant Aggie alumni out there but there are also some who are complete bumpkins.
I was talking to one of our booster’s, who was involved in the Manziel planning phase. He told me the difference in A&M and the rest of the SEC, “Here’s the difference. This isn’t Auburn this time; it’s Texas A&M. Which means that ‘Bama is ****ing with Texas. You don’t **** with Texas. I fear they have the resources and power to crush us with ease. This is a different ballgame we are playing now.
When A&M joined the SEC, we told them they had better show some damn respect for Bama, our tradition and our classy program and told them if they did that, then it would be business as usual We figured that we could bully them around like they were Auburn, L$U, etc. I hope we aren’t wrong. I firmly believe you will begin to see the tide turn very quickly in our favor”.
SC: So there is some fear of the Aggies in the Alabama boosters ranks? This isn’t the same level of rivalry as Auburn, right?
BWB: You’re correct; A&M is not Auburn you are right about that. UT Austin historically had the power influence to keep A&M down and now they’ve caught our attention. So instead of having one of the most powerful alumni/fanbases(Texas) with all of their lawyer, business, and media contacts working toward tarnishing your name and brand you now have two. Good luck with that!
I really wish the Aggies the best, after we play them. I’ve enjoyed watching the sleeping giant awake. We have all the money and resources to eclipse anything they’ve ever had.
SC: I understand, but just one more thing. Please. If you had to give a young blogger a piece of advice, what would it be?
BWB: Only come into this industry if you really want to be here. Remember it is about making money, not creating the perfect scandal. Stop blaming everything and everyone and start changing things. That’s it. Look I really have to go now…
SC: Of course, and thank you. The drinks are on me.
For this article Scorched Colon spoke to three senior Alabama Athletic Department officials and boosters who agreed to comment ‘off the record’. Their views have been combined into a single voice. All of the responses have been printed verbatim, although none, understandably, can be attributed. Thanks to all of those who gave us such time and candor.