Advice to Auburn fans (on the coaching search)

There are in the world scholars whose good nature has worn itself out in seeking a middle ground between antagonistic statements. They are like the little chap who, asked for the square of the number two, when one neighbor whispered “four” and the other “eight,” thought he had hit the mark in answering “six.” —Marc Bloch, The Historian’s Craft

Auburn logic at its finest. “Jacobs wasn’t honest, but he wasn’t lying, either.

He wasn’t honest, but he wasn’t lying?

What the hell kind of rhetorical nonsense is that? Care to define what the meaning of “is” is? Or maybe you’d like to tell us how someone can be a little bit pregnant? Or how a bad tree brings forth good fruit?

You either tell the truth or you tell a lie. It is that simple. There is no middle ground. It is sophistry to claim a statement isn’t honest, but isn’t a lie. That’s a pathetic debating trick designed to confuse. If Jacobs was attempting to deceive it was a lie. 2+2=4; it doesn’t equal five.

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Pilate might have asked, “What is truth?”, but it isn’t that complex a question for practical application. Here is a simple rule of thumb, a statement can’t be true and false at the same time.

Understanding that rule is important when trying to make sense of the rumors and falsehoods swirling during a coaching search.

Also, to make sense of the rumors you must attempt to validate the sources. I attempted to share with Auburn readers important information regarding Tuberville’s termination. The O-A News reported Tuberville’s mother said the coach was fired. The report was filed the night Tuberville was fired and printed December 3.

I offered the judgment that Tuberville’s mother was a viable source because she had less motive to lie than either her son or the administration. But it goes further. Her view was more reliable than statements made later because the conversation took place the day of the termination—from a historical perspective, testimony closest to the event is more reliable than statements made further away as time and agenda have a way of corrupting memory. Also, it was more reliable because the statement was given in an off-the-cuff manner without any PR preparation.

Understanding deeper motivation helps too. With this mildly insulting statement the Auburn fan dismisses Tuberville’s mother because it is Tuberville’s mother, “Moms are awesome, ’cause they’ll say anything if it’ll make you look better or feel better. Why, I bet if you asked the Capstone Report’s mothers, they’d even tell you their blog was worth reading.”

Ignoring the insult, the Auburn fan might have a point—a mother might want to make Tuberville look better. But this is where a detective, historian, journalist, intelligence analyst earns his pay—what would Tuberville’s mother say to make her son look better?

I guarantee it wouldn’t be that Auburn fired him. It would make her son look bad to be fired. Her generation isn’t a generation to brag about being fired. Her generation valued work and didn’t embrace the modern slacker work ethic. Tuberville’s mother is more than just a mom—she is a product of her time and values.

One last thing to consider: lies are told for a benefit. Who had the greatest incentive to lie? Tuberville’s mom or Auburn?

When making sense of the Tuberville termination or wading through the volumes of information filtering out from the coaching search, don’t become apologists for the administration. Find the truth and hold the leadership accountable.

Other Auburn coaching search readings
O-A News columnist believes Tuberville’s mother

Student’s protest Tuberville’s firing

AU interviews to continue beyond New York

Richt supports Garner

Coaching community confused about what is happening at Auburn