Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More Mush From the Wimp


The character count made it impossible to reply in a comment, so you may have to read another post. Sorry.

But I really do think it’s kind of unfair for you to ask all of those questions and then tell me no more long diatribes because it’s making it hard to root for me (that’s me whining again). But you’re right; I really don’t care if you root for me.

Up front, I forgive you for not reading everything or having all the facts, but if you had them you wouldn’t be asking some of these questions. Nonetheless, because it’s you, I’m answering.

1. You complain that you're not in the HoF, you complain that you don't know Henry tells you why, and then you complain that Henry is spreading information that is supposed to be anonymous. For cryin' out loud.

No, I am not complaining that I should be in the HoF. I do know why. What Henry did was justify his vote (which I don’t think he even had to justify) by publishing confidential information in the form of a false accusation from an anonymous source that he had no business disseminating without verifying it. I am not a cheater. He should not have put that accusation out there. I am mad about that.

2. You're parsing sentences and dissecting words like a Rabbinical scholar: Henry wrote "revile" rather than "deplore", does that prove that he's biased against you? "Judge for yourself." Yeah, really, this is worth discussing?

My point is that even Henry, who has gone to such lengths in an attempt to guarantee impartiality, is probably biased without even realizing it. Nonetheless, I can’t argue your point (assuming that this is your point) that in the larger context this probably doesn’t really matter much.

3. Argument by innuendo seem pedantic and petty, as well as a bit craven. If you think specific other HoF voters are biased against you, say who they are and why you think they're biased.

I tried to make this point early in the post. Without knowing which voters participated in the process and to what extent, I, like everybody else really, am kind of in the dark. I just don’t know who reviewed the anonymous cheating and steroids accusations, although I know that the HoF made them available to every voter. I also know what Henry said about the process:

Instead there was an extremely arduous private discussion about 100 messages long amongst a group of Hall of Famers and workers who did a ton of work to get as much data, and fair data, as possible to allow everyone to reach as informed of a decision as possible.

So my general point is that anyone who took such anonymous accusations into consideration without thinking to question them is probably biased. And if the discussion was as long and arduous as he says it was, and no one questioned the use of those accusations (as I was told by The Official), then it stands to reason that a good many of them are biased.

4. It looks like you devoted a whole post to dissecting the meaning of the word "cheating" (again, the Rabbinical scholar) and concluding that everybody cheats so it's unreasonable to hold cheating against you. (Or something; I confess, I only skimmed this.) You also posted something a while ago in which you talked about ripping a disc out of another player's hand to deprive him of a goal, more or less bragged about it, and said you're not sorry. You've gone out of your way to thumb your nose at anyone who thinks 'spirit' or even sportsmanship has the least bit of relevance. So it's a bit rich for you to be shocked to be accused of cheating.

I think you went too far here, Phil. I’ve gone out of my way to thumb my nose at anyone who thinks sportsmanship has the least bit of relevance? That’s simply not true. I have ridiculed some sentiments, like that intimidation has no place in ultimate, because I think they’re worthy of ridicule. I have also pointed out that the vague language in the spirit of the game clause leaves it open to myriad interpretations, and thereby implied that it is difficult to come to a consensus on precisely what qualifies as good or bad spirit. But I don't think I've ever even suggested that sportsmanship has no relevance, nor have I thumbed my figurative nose at those who think that it does.

As for the play you refer to, I have since clarified it. No goal was denied, no call was contested, the play had no impact on the game or the score. As for cheating, as you point out, cheating enough and well enough to change the outcome of a championship game would seem to be difficult. Personally, I think it’s pretty much impossible. The closest I’ve seen any one player come is by making a questionable call on universe point, getting the call and subsequently winning the game (and I don’t think that necessarily qualifies as cheating – who’s to say the caller doesn’t honestly believe the call?).

5. Outrage is easy. It seems like everybody is outraged. Tiger Woods was outraged that people accused his wife of trying to beat him with a golf club. Floyd Landis was outraged that people accused him of cheating in the Tour de France. I get it that you're outraged. What I want to know is whether you were a cheater. That is a completely different question. It is one you have touched on, only obliquely, in only a few of the hundreds of your sentences I have read. To me, it's the only one that matters, when it comes to whether you should be in the Hall.

I was not a cheater. I am not a cheater. I never took steroids. But let me ask you, Phil. Is this how it should work? Should I have to make those declarations because I, a known person, was named in anonymous accusations? Why aren’t you asking the anonymous accusers to step up, identify themselves, and offer proof of those accusations?

And I know that’s not your job, so really what I’m asking (and what this is really all about) is why did the UPA HoF and the UPA’s administrator take those accusations in, go to the trouble to check the information to verify the person filling out the form played at that time, and then circulate those accusations without thinking to question the source, delve a little deeper, make a fucking phone call for chrissakes? They themselves said they knew the information was “toxic,” and yet they figured, “Hey, somebody who played at that time said it while requesting anonymity, and that’s good enough for us.”

I mean, come on, Phil. You’re a bright guy. Think of people in the HoF or who have made the slate of 8 voting. If this kind of accusation came in about them do you really think they wouldn’t question it? Even toss it out? But it comes in about me and they pass it along without even batting an eye? That’s tailoring the handling of the information differently based on the subject of the information, and that’s bias.

6. If you do want to get into the Hall of Fame, here's my advice. Drop all the bullshit. Instead, get a bunch of your former fierce competitors to step up and say publicly that they played against you in important, hard-fought, close games, and that you weren't a cheater. If they won't, try to live up to your own promise, and "suffer the consequences of [your] actions humbly and without recrimination."

Drop the bullshit? Are you kidding? Five hundred visitors a day to this blog, and the vast majority of them during the workday. I'm a one man economic slowdown. You think I'm giving that up?

I do appreciate the advice, but I don’t want to get in the Hall of Fame. Period. I filled out the form they asked me to fill out. The last question was something like “Tell us why you think you belong in the Hall of Fame.” I wrote, “I never said I did. You contacted me. Remember?”

But I also don’t want the Hall of Fame to use anonymous accusations to malign my character and question my integrity without having to answer for it. None of this ever had to happen. They don’t want me in their club. Fine. Stand up and say, “We don’t think Kenny Dobyns belongs.” But to say they didn’t let me in because I’m a cheater and a steroid user, and they know this because people have anonymously accused me of it and I can’t prove otherwise, that is weak. You’ve been pretty sharp-penned with me here, and I accept it because you’ve got a sharp mind so your pen should match. But when you see how the HoF handled this, do you really think I’m the one you should be calling petty and craven?



Phil Price said...

There's undeniably something compelling against this whole brouhaha. So, here I am again.

You are correct that there is a lot that I don't know, and you may be right that if I knew the answers I'd have a stronger sense that a great wrong has been committed. As it is, in spite of my mistyping of the word "anonymous" when I meant "confidential", I don't actually know that the accusations against you were anonymous, nor did I know that there were only two of them. All I saw from Henry was the statement that there were accusations [plural] that seemed credible.

It's good to hear you say unambiguously that you were not a cheater. (And I'm not talking about steroids, an issue I find it hard to believe anyone cares about. In a sport where they're not allowed, fine, that would mean something, but in Ultimate? Maybe one person pretends to care, and you spoke to him.) Of course, you'd probably deny cheating even if you were a cheater, but it always gives me pause when someone doesn't address an accusation directly, they just say "I'm outraged" or "you have no proof" or whatever, so I appreciate the directness.

I'm going to run out of characters unless I get terser.

* You assume the HoF voters didn't think to question the accusations. I doubt that. They likely tried to evaluate the credibility of the source (or sources) of the allegation (or allegations). Some apparently found them credible.

* "But I don't think I've ever even suggested that sportsmanship has no relevance, nor have I thumbed my figurative nose at those who think that it does."

Huh. I've always thought you didn't put much stock in "spirit of the game", and indeed, that you thought the idea was a joke. Maybe if I get bored at work tomorrow, I will dig back through 16 years of RSD posts. Maybe I'm remembering wrong.

* "Why aren’t you asking the anonymous accusers to step up, identify themselves, and offer proof of those accusations? "

OK, Ken just for you: All you anonymous accusers, man up and come forward with your accusations, so Ken can refute them (or not). Don't be a fucking coward. What are you afraid of, why hide behind anonymity? Seriously.

* "But when you see how the HoF handled this, do you really think I’m the one you should be calling petty and craven?"

I don't know how the HoF should handle this. They probably should not have released any information at all: when asked why Dobyns didn't make it, they could just say No Comment. Instead, Henry made the mistake of telling the truth: there were accusations that at least one voter found credible (and probably more than one) that your SOTG was so poor that you might not merit inclusion in the Hall. You're probably right that Henry should not have told the truth. Too late now.

Here's the thing: What does Ken Dobyns want? You don't want to be in the Hall of Fame...well, you're not, so that's easy. You don't want to be accused of cheating without a chance to face your accusers and rebut them...good luck, but probably not going to happen. Seriously, what is it you are trying to achieve?

A character reference (not a petition to admit you to the Hall) to vouch for your integrity, signed by Pat King and Steve Mooney and Jim Parinella and Mike O'Dowd and so on, at the least would restore your image to the world if that's really what you worry about. And it might get you into the Hall next year, not that you care (supposedly). If the people best able to judge your integrity won't vouch for you, then the fact that people know about some unsubstantiated accusations is not what you should be worrying about.

Here's what I want, not that I'll get it: Accusers, step up. Supporters, you step up too. Dobyns, quit complaining.

Anonymous said...

-1- In all the HOF discussions last fall, there was ZERO discussion of steroids about anybody. Kenny, you'll need to find something else to rail against because nobody wronged you on this by using a confidential comment (not accusation).

-2- I don't know what that official person told you, but he couldn't have told you that steroids were discussed because they simply weren't. YOU, Kenny, are the person bringing this topic up in your blog ... seemingly to draw sympathy for some great false accusation that has harmed your sterling reputation for never even getting close to the line of what's right and fair.

-3- Somebody else more knowledgeable on the topic will need to chime in here, but I was under the impression that spirit and sportsmanship were an important part of what makes our sport special ... and that there's quantifiable data from fairly recent surveys done by the UPA across a broad spectrum that a large majority of players (we own this sport) value sportsmanship and spirit. This is not some dinosaur spirity guys jamming something down the throats of the rest of us.

-4- There's also quantifiable information, gathered via survey of the Peer voters, who nominate candidates, that also shows that they/Peers value spirit and sportsmanship as one of the top-3 things they use to decide who is a worthy candidate for HOF consideration.

-5- There's also quantifiable information, gathered via the Peer voting process, that indicates that some of the candidates, including Kenny, are viewed as having 'spirit that negatively impacts their candidacy' or something like that. So, it's not like there are accusations gathered from peers, just a broad, simple to decide, thumbs up, thumbs down or no opinion that lets the later HOF voters know that a bunch of guys who played with and against and/or saw candidates play ... it just gives those HOF voters something quantifiable to work with to make the tough decisions about who deserves to represent our sport and be in the HOF.

-6- Majority of players think sportsmanship/spirit is important. Majority of Peer voters think sportsmanship/spirit is important in a HOF candidate. The peers don't think Kenny, and others, have showed spirit that enhances their candidacy.

So, what is a HOF voter supposed to do with this information ?

I think that some people figured that championships and individual excellence on the field outweighed any spirit considerations and voted for Kenny (and other candidates) , but the number of folks who fell into that camp were less than 60% of the total HOF voters, and Kenny didn't get in. (btw there were 23 or 24 voters or close, pretty much everyone who 's already in the HOF, plus the traditional couple of admin volunteers who also vote)

Kenny, can you start writing and blogging and entertaining your readers about some new topic, something else important to you other than the HOF. Maybe you and Phil can regale us with size comparison insults or something.

dj said...

I'm starting to find it very curious that several people leaving comments seem overly concerned with Ken and his writing, i.e. they want him to stop complaining, stop whining, stop writing about it on his blog. On his blog. To all of these people, including Kyle Weisbrod, Phil Price, Anonymous and Anonymous Jr., just stop clicking the link. Ken is not in the middle of the public square with a megaphone or haranguing you on the subway as you head to work. If he wants to write about this issue, which I'm amazed that so many still either miss or ignore, then he is allowed. That's the point of a blog. If he wants to share this with the rest of the world, that's also his choice. Your choice is to read. Make your own choices; it is never a good counter-argument to tell someone to just shut up.

And, again, Henry passed on allegedly confidential information that Ken was accused of CHEATING. If Henry had just said that he has been denied HoF admittance due to bad spirit, then this would be a different animal. (I guess people are getting hung up on the great philosophical issue, does spirit or lack thereof ever get so bad as to constitute cheating? I think that some of the anonymous posters are convinced of this fact and have convicted Ken already.)

Phil, you seem to argue the point of bias but inadvertently reveal that you've got your own. You name two sports figures caught cheating (in one way or another) in comparison to Ken. Both were not merely accused of cheating, there was actual proof. You didn't use an example like Lance Armstrong, someone who was outraged when he was accused of cheating in the past and no proof was ever found. Of course yeah I realize that this may just be because it actually is really hard to find a good example as it seems every sports figure who has been accused of cheating has eventually been proven to have done so. Still, you picked two examples of people who were outraged but have been shown to be liars and cheats. Not a fair comparison.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1, once you've done one set of size/stamina comparisons, you've done 'em all, and KD and I did that way back in 1999. Still available online, you can look it up. (A Google for [Phil Price Ken Dobyns staying power] will do the trick). But you knew that already.

dj, whining about other people whining is one of the longest-standing traditions in Ultimate, and I won't have you piss all over it. Fortunately, whining that other people are whining about other people whining is part of the tradition, so your contribution is quite welcome. Thank you.

I don't actually know for sure that Erin Woods tried to beat Tiger with a golf club, although it seems fairly likely and I think we all assume it to be true. And Landis is known to have cheated. I used two people believed/known to be guilty on purpose. (Actually I originally had three, including Bill Clinton's outrage at being accused of having had sex with "that woman, Miss Lewinsky," but I had to cut that reference because of the length limit.) Choosing people who are known to be guilty was not an "inadvertent" expression of bias, it was a deliberate selection to make the point that even guilty people express outrage, so being "outraged" doesn't tell us anything about whether someone is guilty.

If I thought Dobyns was a cheater, I would say "Dobyns, I think you're a cheater and you don't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame." Instead, I have explictly said that I don't think Dobyns is a cheater and I do think he should be in the Hall. See the difference? There's no need to look for inadvertent revelations of anything.

To come back to the subject of bias, I think the word is being overused. If someone has a negative opinion of Dobyns, that doesn't necessarily indicate 'bias"; some people deserve to be thought of negatively. I think Dobyns is an asshole, but I don't think that's "bias", it's just my opinion based on things he's done and said.

Finally, I don't know why so many of you people -- people who post on this blog or on Parinella's -- choose to remain anonymous. Just fill in your name in the box down below, it's really really easy.

Kyle Weisbrod said...

I think you are mischaracterizing what I said. I have no problem with the significant majority of KD's writing. Yeah, as he's admitted, the quality isn't as good as some of his previous work but the topic is engaging and it's still better than pretty much anything else out there that's Ultimate related.

My only issues were:
1. If you want communication and candor from the UPA, it's probably counterproductive to criticize so harshly on the rare occasion when they are public about a controversial subject.

2. I thought it was out of line for KD to accuse me (in his English teacher ways) of lying and hypocrisy.

But yeah, I have no problem with Ken continuing to write on the subject. It's created an at times thoughtful discussion of what the Hall of Fame (and in some cases the sport) should be. It's shed light on a process that clearly needs some reform. It's produced some great anecdotes and hilarious satire. It's wasted hours of American workers productivity. Kudos to Ken's blog!

Oh, and I should have contributed this to an early thread. But my favorite KD story dates back to a time when RSD was relatively spam free, the game was dominated by nerds, and Callahan hype was conducted through haikus instead of video:

I recall smiling with my roommate at the time, Harper, with that open Norton's anthology as he traded barbs with a minor hero of ours on RSD. 10 years goes by so quickly.

Leonardo said...

the steroids thing, to me, and from the research i did similar to Ken's -- seems out of left field. No one mentioned the accusation to me (including the Official) and as someone pointed out earlier, steroids aren't illegal in the sport anyway

plus anyone who knows ken knows that he's a big guy. i have to say that I think, ken, you bringing up the whole issue is a little disingenuous because i truly don't think it was an issue in the HoF discussion and that it was simply overstated by The Official.

however, i wasnt directly involved in any of the hoF voting, so i may be wrong for suggesting you might be disingenuous.

I'm just saying the people i talked to mentioned everything else here (the 100 emails back and forth discussing the "spirit" issue, the peer group, the voting criteria, the percentages, etc) but nothing about steroids came up, as well as it shouldnt

that issue, to me, isn't an issue at all.

what i think is patently clear is that this goes back to Eric Simon (now Sholom Simon) versus KD and Stork vs KD and Irv Kalb and TK and Mooney vs KD. And not in such stark battle lines -- but those guys are some of the core guys of the ethos of the game during the 70s and 80s -- just as much as KD, Glass, Gewirtz, Mooney, Danny Weiss, Peg Hollinger, TK and others were a core of the ethos of the game in the later 80s and early 90s.

That core group with Simon and Stork at the forefront has fought long and hard to maintain the Spirit clause within the strictures of the UPA. KD and Glass's candidacies fell, quite clearly to me, directly on that spirit line, with about half of the HoF feeling that KD qualified and the other half wanting to preserve the importance of Spirit.

denying KD into the HoF (its inevitable, Ken, that you will eventually be in the HoF even if it's kind of a joke that you arent already) could be taken as a message, albeit a badly expressed one, that these core Spirit guys are still fighting for its importance and relevance

whatever the case, maybe these guys like Stork and Sholom need to pipe up sometime instead of leaving fall guys like Henry and The Official to fall into the yawning pit. this question is only going to be raised every year for the next 10 until we have some more clarity

i mean.... think about it.... when is Gewirtz going to be eligible?? And god bless us all when the Mike G campaign begins in summer of 16

Anonymous said...

I clearly think Dobyns should be in the hall of fame. However, the below is an (attempted) impartial assessment of the HOF.

The most inconsistent and frustrating thing about the HOF is the inclusion of King and Weiss.

Dobyns was by most accounts the best player and leader of the best team (of alltime). Clearly by that he should be in the hall of fame, which means that his omission is solely due to his lack of spirit and cheating.

If his cheating was so great, (as possessors of HOF-worthy spirit) King and Weiss have an obligation to either boot him off the team, or form a new team. By staying on the team with him, they are either complicit in his behavior or are declaring that his behavior is undeserving of reprimand.

The UPA suspended Gerics for a year, why was Dobyns never suspended?

Since King and Weiss are in the hall of fame, that is an admission that the NYNY championships are legitimate and not achieved through cheating. The only outcome now that seems logical is if some HOF voters would make a statement similar to baseball HOF voters with regards to certain steroid users, "He is a clear HOFer, but I am not voting him in on the first ballot."

I see no way to simultaneously justify the inclusion of King and Weiss in the HOF and exclusion of Dobyns.

Leonardo said...

i came to a similar conclusion very early on -- and you're missing one -- Nob is a HoF member and was also on some of those NYNY teams.

The response I got was that those peer reviews really pegged KD and not King or the others.

I never played against those NYNY teams so I can't really say why it was that way in the peer review thing. Either KD drew more attention (indubitably) and thus more ire, or he was totally ragin' on a cocktail of winstrol, PCP and colombian marching powder.

Probably the latter.

Phil Price said...

Anonymous says "Dobyns was by most accounts the best player and leader of the best team (of alltime)." That is an overstatement. Dobyns was the extremely effective leader, and one of the best players, on the best team of its time, and he was among the best players in the sport for eight years or so. (If there were no other considerations, that should be enough.)

Leonardo says "when is Gewirtz going to be eligible?" I dunno, but that guy should definitely not be in the Hall of Fame. The worst incident of cheating that I ever saw at a high level was committed by Gewirtz at Worlds in Vancouver in, hmm, 1997 I think it was, when Gewirtz laid out into a player (from a Canadian team I think; I could figure it out if I had a schedule from that tournament) who had already caught the disc, to prevent him from throwing a score. One of the top contenders for second-worst I ever saw was at NW Regionals in about 1999 or 2000. If Gewirtz is ever on the candidate slate, I'll certainly submit comments to the HoF committee. And I won't do it anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Phil says: "if there were no other considerations, that should be enough" ... to get into the HOF.

But there ARE other considerations, right?

In fact, it seems like the importance of sportsmanship and spirit is more important in this particular sport than other sports.

And 'the bar' that is set to receieve the honor that goes to some very small percentage of 1% of all players who have ever played, shouldn't be Gewirtz-like gutter-level, it should be something that we can all be proud of.

The fact is that there is no magic formula for 'the bar'. But it sure seems like it ought to be higher than what would allow a guy who had a significant run at the top but spent it sneering at the idealism of playing with spirit and mutual respect for opponents (that most of the rest of us tried very hard to follow), and seemed to relish exploiting whatever he could to win, because his personal value system simply didn't place a very high value on earning the other kind of respect, not measured in wins or trophies, but the kind where opponents and teammates view him as a decent competitor who fairly earned by his own physical efforts all his successes, without stooping to successively lower levels of questionable calls, bullying & intimidation that gained advantage but had nothing to do with on-field skills ... and perhaps even outright cheating play (note: leaving biological cheating out of this discussion, but obviously that's also a pretty low approach to success, without even much respect for yourself).

I'm guessing that a lot of the folks who are posting about how the HOF is a sham without KD are in fact pretty minimally invested and their arguments hold less weight because they are never going to get within sniffing distance of the HOF themselves, so they really don't have to think long and hard about whether they want to actually share a hall with an asshole. So far, less than 60% of the guys (& women) are ok with that idea.

Maybe he needs an asssssterisk and he could be acknowledged for all his championships and wins etc, but also make it clear that his horrible attitude simply doesn't jive with the ideals of the sport and significantly higher standards for well rounded sportmanship of everyone else who's been elected so far.

jacob said...

"a guy who ... spent [his career] sneering at the idealism of playing with spirit and mutual respect for opponents."

Is it possible to try to intimidate an opponent while also respecting them?

"his personal value system simply didn't place a very high value on earning the other kind of respect ... where opponents and teammates view him as a decent competitor who fairly earned by his own physical efforts all his successes"

Did you read the informal rsd poll? Have you ever spoken about Dobyns to guys from Windy City, Tsunami, old Boston teams, L.A. Iguana, etc.? There are many, many former Dobyns opponents who do view him this way.

"without stooping to successively lower levels of questionable calls"

What are you basing this on?

"bullying & intimidation that gained advantage but had nothing to do with on-field skills"

It is sad that you make a false dichotomy between intimidation and skill. Can we deduce that none of your opponents were ever intimidated by you? Can we also deduce that you take pride in this?

"and perhaps even outright cheating play"

So you exclude a great player from the hall of fame based on something which "perhaps" may be true?

jacob said...

"I'm guessing that a lot of the folks who are posting about how the HOF is a sham without KD are in fact pretty minimally invested"

True, but also true for those who are posting that his exclusion is justified.

"their arguments hold less weight because they are never going to get within sniffing distance of the HOF themselves"

Certainly true for me, alas. However, I know some hall of fame caliber players from my generation (in our prime right after Dobyns' peak) well, and please believe that the consensus among them is that Dobyns is hof material.

More importantly, the current hall, other than Moons, doesn't contain players who competed in big games against Dobyns in his late 80s-early 90s prime (please correct me if I'm wrong- the hof men look like 3 NYNY teammates, contributors, and guys who were stars in the mid-80s or earlier ... I guess you could county Andy B's graffiti games against NYNY ...).

"so they really don't have to think long and hard about whether they want to actually share a hall with an asshole."

This is a very interesting point, and it raises an interesting question: Should hall of fame induction be based on whether current hall members think you are an asshole, even if you are a great player who did not cheat? If so, isn't it more like a private club than a means of recognizing great ultimate? And shouldn't such a club be run in an unofficial capacity? How about a Facebook page for former greats who all like each other?

Phil Price said...

Anonymous says "Phil says: "if there were no other considerations, that should be enough" ... to get into the HOF. But there ARE other considerations, right?

Right! I thought that went without saying, but obviously it didn't.

Jacob raises the leading question (one of a long series that started in his previous comment), "Should hall of fame induction be based on whether current hall members think you are an asshole, even if you are a great player who did not cheat?"

Although I'd quarrel with the phrasing if this is actually an attempt to raise a fair question, there is a real question in there. More than one. One is, how important should "Spirit of the Game" be in evaluating candidates; another is how the individual components of SoTG should be evaluated. Jacob, you raised this issue a lot better a couple of months ago on, where you asked "Should the leader of the best team of all time be excluded (even temporarily) from the hall of fame if he demonstrated poor enough sotg?" (Let's set aside for now the question of whether NYNY is the best team of all time.)

Here's the "Spirit Clause" from the ninth edition (I couldn't find the more relevant eighth edition online in a couple of minutes of searching): "Such actions as taunting of opposing players, dangerous aggression, intentional fouling, or other "win-at-all-costs" behavior are contrary to the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all players."

Note that taunting your own players is fine, so is non-dangerous aggression, and "other" win-at-all-costs behavior is not defined or exemplified. Conceivably, two people could watch the same "Defending Your Life" version of Dobyns' career, evaluate his "spirit," and come to very different conclusions.

Me, I share the opinion of a baseball writer quoted by Parinella: "Dock them slightly for character issues if you must, but ... if, 20 or 30 years from now we have a Hall of Fame that doesn’t include the undeniably best players of their time, you have a pretty useless and irrelevant Hall of Fame."

That was from a baseball writer, though. A true believer in SoTG setting Ultimate apart from other sports could point out, correctly I think, that SoTG is in the DNA of Ultimate in a way that it isn't in other sports. They could perhaps argue that Dobyns' spirit was so poor --- and by _some_ definitions it was, even if he wasn't "dangerously aggressive" and didn't intentionally foul (and it's worth noting that this is in dispute) --- that he shouldn't be in the Hall.

I think dangerous aggression or intentional fouling, if done more than very rarely, should disqualify someone from the Hall of Fame, but just being an asshole shouldn't, even if it includes things like taunting opposing players. So, based on what I know, I think Dobyns should be in the Hall.

But I still wouldn't assume that the HoF voters excluded Dobyns just for being an asshole. They may have seen convincing evidence of much worse behavior.

Another thing I'd like to note, even though it's a slight change of topic, is that unlike other sports, Ultimate is pretty much forced to let players decide who goes in the Hall. Major sports have sportswriters, officials, spectators, who can evaluate players and teams. In Ultimate, with the exception of major-tournament finals and occasional other games, pretty much the only people who have seen Dobyns play in important situations are his teammates and his opponents. They are really the ones who have to make the decision about the Hall, or at least they should be. If a lot of those people are aware of this issue and aren't speaking up to call for Dobyns to be in the Hall, I think that should bother Dobyns a lot more than anything else.

Anonymous said...

glass here. steroids was just a diversion. me & dobbyns actually gambled on games and we cut o'dowd a share to cheat if necessary to attain the desired outcome. we don't care about halls of fame. ha. kenny just likes to write (can't you tell?).

luke said...

what a bunch of shit. as the former, and i'm saying, current king of RSD (hey, no one else ever stole the crown), i got to say, what a bunch of small marbled raisin sacks.

my relevance in poaching:
watched kenny when he was 'king', played with him (once) when he was only slightly faded, played against him when he was just good.

never saw him cheat, never experienced him cheating, never heard of him cheating.

he's a hardass on the field. deal.

by contrast, i have to note that stu downs, good friend, and by ALL accounts, mr. spirit, spiked it on my back. And I got up, and went back to the line laughing. Maybe you don't handle adversity like I do.

Does anyone who wants to truly call Ken a cheater, or a roider, or a bitch, or whatever want to come forward and call him out? Maybe 'raisins' was too big a metaphor.

Anonymous said...

old timer here. played against kenny and the ny heifers in 1979 or 80 and he peed in our water cooler. not sure if that's cheatin' but damn sure pissed a lot of people off.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Let's all hold the actions of a eighteen year old against him for 30 years. Dude, go back and read KDs post "seventeen" again.

Anonymous said...

this 8-22-99 post by kenneth44 alone merits HoF reconsideration:
>please leave your religion out of sports.<

this little taste of religious intolerance comes courtesy of manunited3 aka
gazza. as much as i'm a fan of gascoigne (the little drunk) and man u i have to
take exception to your comment.

ultimate is clearly more than a sport. it's a community. and particularly at
events like tune-up, where players spend all day playing then all night eating
and partying at the fields, you'd have to recognize this as more than a simple
sporting event. you may not want to spend your sunday morning in prayer (i
don't either), but what do you have against tom's efforts to find others like
himself who do? you might think this the wrong forum for such a search, and you
may be right. but how else would he accomplish the task and, considering some
of the garbage others throw out on this newsgroup, can you really fault him for


Anonymous said...

ian 4evah:

Remember those who win the game
Lose the love they sought to gain
In debentures of quality
And dubious integrity
Their small town eyes will gape at you in
Dull surprise when payment due
Exceeds accounts received at seventeen

Anonymous said...

come on ken.....who you kiddin? we are ALL cheaters. now you may have not been the worst cheater.....but you were probably the most famous.....or would that be infamous? and its at this point that i would like to/feel the need to offer a public apology to ken for some things i said that got published in that ultimate history book about a certian experience i had with ken in a college nationals semi final game in which ken was the coach of the opposing team where he used some of that good ole "beligerant intimidation" towards his own players to call their way(successfully i might add) back into a game in which we were man handleing kens atomic dogs. For many years i carried a fair amount of quite resentment towards ken for that(then i was encouraged to make it not so quite when interviewed for that book). Not because they were cheating but because they were cheating againt us, a team that i felt had some kindred connection to the NYNY philosphies of ultimate competition (how niave was i, right?) Then i came to the realization that is was my own weakness that took me out of my game for the finals (which we advanced to by the skin of our teeth). Even later i came to the realization that it wasnt even me getting taken out of my game that caused that poor display in the finals but our lack of preperation specifically in learning a trap zone D which was RIGHT THERE in living color in the 89' club nationals finals video we studied as a team for 8 months prior to that game(which was completely on me as the player coach). And the reason that i must appologize is because there was no one on that field that day that was a bigger cheater than me......for i was COMPLETELY INELIGABLE to even be there (as a player anyways). Yep, thats right. I had played in a number of upa events prior to 1985, which was the then cut off date for college elligability (even though they were in the traditionally weak mid atlantic and southern regions). Its taken me all this time to finally fess up to that realization and see that i was wrongfully projecting that disdain towards ken when i should have been directing it toward myself (not so much for cheating but for being mad at ken for cheating (especially when i was cheating even more). but hey, ive known i was a cheater since the first time i got away with a suck call in a highschool game.....and thats just being a cheater at ultimate. shit, i had a good 15 years of cheating experience prior to that (whats that grateful dead song again....."mama tried") from stealimg from the bank in monopoly to copying off my classmates in grade school. They say that the things you hate most about other people are often the same things you see in and dislike about yourself. so maybe those hof voters need to take a good look at themselves prior to making ken their own personal sacrificial lamb. and they might as well accept the fact that ultimate needs res while they are at it. It would be a classic example of killing two birds with one stone when ya think about it........wouldnt it. I mean, i know i've said this a zillion times, but isnt the obvious solution to this whole delema(and many others) to be big boys once and for all and integrate fully active referees in the sport.


Anonymous said...

toad croaked da thread. who could have predicted?

Phil Price said...

Actually...I almost hate to say it...I find Toad's comment to be appropriate and thought-provoking!

And I think Toad is right that about the late eighties and early nineties being a time of cheating and of bad SOTG. I looked back at some old posts from the era, and also just thought back on those days a bit. Those were the days of Uglimate; of "foul travel pick, suck my dick" chants from the sidelines; of the general perception at the upper levels of the game that it was better to foul on the mark than to give up a break-mark throw, and better to call a foul on a 50-50 huck, even if contact was truly incidental, than to admit you had misjudged it. Some players were much worse about these things than others...and the ones who played it cleanest were often thought of as soft. Also, in those days when long-distance travel was less common so few players had a national presence, some of the most outspoken players also happened to be the least spirited.

Toad didn't actually say all of that, but he did remind me of it, and that counts for something, at least with me. So, unlike every other time I've seed Toad chime in, in this case I think he's contributing to the conversation.

A final reflection:
Someone has to be the least-spirited player in the Hall of Fame. Someone has to be the best player not in the Hall of Fame. Dobyns is going to be one or the other. Based on what I know --- which is a lot less than the HoF committee knows or thinks they know --- it's a greater injustice to keep Dobyns out than to let him in. But the more I think about this issue, the less I care.

kd said...

Phil Price summed it all up nicely:

"But the more I think about this issue, the less I care."

Amen to that.

Anonymous said...

You know what they say, "dont start nuthin and ther wont be nuthin".

Corey said...

Man oh man, this has been a great read.

But again, regardless of what some might think, just because KD tells people what he’s really thinking, as opposed to those that keep their feelings inside, doesn’t mean he has poor spirit. He certainly isn’t a cheater, and I don’t believe his brutal honesty and total dedication to his teammates makes him unspirited.

I’ll agree with your assessment that he might be best player ever to not be in the HoF, but I’ll never agree with your assessment that he’s the least spirited in the Hall, should he ever be admitted.

Frank Huguenard said...

All it takes is ten seconds to watch you in that ESPN Cheap Seats video to see how much you did cheat Ken. No pivot feet, offensive fouls (and then calling a foul on the mark), aggressive contact.

In however much footage of you there was, there must be at least 20 violations.

It's not your fault. It's the whole lack of refs thing but there's no doubt that you didn't play by the rules. The evidence is there for everyone to see.

Anonymous said...

i dont get where some people(including ken himself) get the notion that ken wanst a cheater, all it takes is to cheat once and you are a cheater, no? and who amoungst us hasent done that? frank is right though. its the idiotic rules themselves that enable all the cheating in the forst place(WHICH IS WHAT THE REAL FOCUS OF THESE DISCUSSIONS SHOULD BE ABOUT). and they tempt us all equally, no matter how spirited/honorable we are going in. but it is quite lauchable that some people have actally convinced themselves that ANYONE is not a cheater, much less someone like ken.

Anonymous said...

the problem is not the rules. most ultimate players can operate fine with the rules because they have a shared value system, where they attempt to 'play hard & play fair' without gaining advantage they didn't earn by their own skills and efforts ... the problem is pitiful assholes like Toady who don't have enough self-respect to not consciously cheat and they don't have enough character to prevent themselves from exploiting whatever gray (or black & white) areas there are that seem available to them. step up and take some personal responsibility for the sport you share with everyone else and there's no need for the crutch of refs. design the rules for the vast majority of players, NOT for the douchebags at the bottom. unfortunately for this blog discussion, the douchebags have found it, and now they will want to repeat over and over how they need refs to prevent them from doing bad things, implying that because they don't have personal integrity and need refs that everyone else needs refs too. (maybe that makes them feel less crappy about themselves ... sort of like a bunch of wino bums gathered around blaming 'the man' for their woes, instead of looking in the mirror)

Anonymous said...

so much koo koo talk on that last post i dont know where to begin. aggree that it isnt the rules (that matter).....its the process in which they are enforced. And to do so in the way ultimate does with their official competition is......koo koo. are you aware that "most people can operate fairly with the laws because we have a shared value system" too.....yet we still have cops on the beat, right?......and we both pay for them through our taxes, right? would you prefer not to have that service provided for you? and i would argue that the problem isnt people like me.....its just we are all cursed with that same human nature that often falls short of your koo koo ideals (which i'm pretty sure why refs ((and cops)) exist). so if you mean people like me that are capable of sinning, then yes, WE are the problem......this is why i say the only race that would be suited for such a loafty and idealistic system are the volcans. Then you say refs are a crutch like thats a bad thing? i mean, if you have no way to keep people like me (basic sinners......which includes EVERYBODY) out of the sport, then dosent it make sense to have such a crutch? and what exactly is proven (or....what is it you are trying to prove) by excluding thir(refs) use anyways? oh, and heres a memo.....cops are essentially for "the douchbags at the bottom" i dont know why you would think the same philosophy wouldnt work the same with refs in sports (like most normal folk ((and normal sports)) do). AND, OF COURSE, just like with abiding by the law, even the most honorable people slip from grace and require the disipline and supervisionof both cops and refs. are you starting to grasp how shit works in the real world? as for "who needs refs"......EVERYBODY DOES!!!! the rule abiders need them to make the game fair when the rule breakers get out of line. and the rule breakers need them for when they get out of line. Like i said before, cross team officiation is like two magicians doing tricks for each other (koo koo). what i REALLY dont understant is how you think playing a rerfless sport is some source of integrity......or what that even has to do with the notion of sports competition(whereas i could see its merrit in some kind of religious competition). are you saying the competitive experience is some how inferior or not as pure when impartial people actively arbitrate the match? what makes that so? as for blaming "the man"....i dont know where you come up with that koo koo talk either.....or how it even applies to this discussion.

jacob said...

"most ultimate players can operate fine with the rules because they have a shared value system"

This applies only to intentional cheating. It does not apply to people who honestly make inaccurate calls because they lack objectivity. Objectivity is really more of a skill than a value.

"the problem is pitiful assholes like Toady who don't have enough self-respect to not consciously cheat"

I realize that Toad has admitted to cheating, but I suspect this was more to emphasize his point about the need for refs than to make "true confessions." I've never heard anyone else say he was a cheater.

"step up and take some personal responsibility for the sport"

There is more than one way to do this.

"design the rules for the vast majority of players"

The vast majority of the (male) players lack the objectivity required to consistently make accurate calls. Also, discussions over calls waste time.

"unfortunately for this blog discussion, the douchebags have found it"

Don't be so hard on yourself.

"implying that because they don't have personal integrity and need refs that everyone else needs refs too."

Ultimate players who cheat are not the exact same group as ultimate players who think the sport needs refs. There are cheaters who are happy not having refs and non(intentional)-cheaters who would like there to be refs.

"sort of like a bunch of wino bums gathered around blaming 'the man' for their woes"

Do you even understand how an analogy is supposed to work? In this analogy, cheaters who want refs would be the "wino bums", but who would be "the man"? There is no "the man" because there is no authority on the ultimate field.

jacob said...

Did this just devolve into an rsd ref thread?

And did I participate?

Anonymous said...

i'd say it E-volved into onr......of its own volition. what were we even talking about before this? somthing pretty meaningless i suspect.

Anonymous said...

In a previous post Ken mentions that he told the UPA official that he was considering contacting a lawyer, as Ken may have been slandered by HT's statements (essentially repeating allegedly slanderous statements). Whether or not Ken has any valid legal claims depends on some complex legal issues. Ken probably didn't help his "case" by repeating the second potentially slanderous comment (allegations of steriod use) to a wider audience. To get to the bottom of this mess, I propose the following: Ken agrees to drop any claims against the UPA in exchange for the UPA's agreement to publically disclose all "evidence" of Ken's cheating and steroid use, while of courses maintaining the anonymity of those who provided the relevant information. This will serve two key purposes: 1. Allow the UPA to justify its decision in order to give some credibility to this decision and the process that led to it (and, therefore, the HOF as a legitimate and credible body); and 2. allow Ken the opportunity to clear his name, which is no small thing (it's not for nothing that one can sue for slander to one's reputation). It's not for those of us who don't actually know the facts to argue about whether he is guilty or innocent of the charges deliberated in the UPA / HOF Star Chamber. The truth shall set us free!!!

Phil Price said...

Jacob, you're right about everything you say, but yes, you did turn this previously slightly-interesting thread into a discussion about refs. Or at least you tried.

As for the lawsuits thing, it's ridiculous. The legal standard is "reckless disregard for the truth", and that is very obviously not present here...unless Dobyns is saying that Henry is lying. If the committee really did receive allegations that Dobyns cheated and that he had very bad SOTG, and some of the committee members really did find those allegations credible-- which is not the same as saying that they are known to be true -- then neither Henry nor the UPA can be successfully sued for saying so.

kd said...

I assume that in citing "reckless disregard for the truth," you are referring to NY Times v. Sullivan, a decision that limited libel claims in regard to public officials. Though the case has been used more broadly since, I would hardly call myself a public official.

As for the subsequent statement that unless Henry is lying he didn't show reckless disregard for the truth, I suggest that by taking the step of vetting the information for accuracy on several counts (time of competition, level of competition, and overlap with subject's career) but failing to make any effort to vet it for factual accuracy one could readily argue that the UPA showed reckless disregard for the truth, and that Henry, publishing while an agent of the UPA, is guilty of the same.

Given that, I would disagree with your assessment that such a claim is ridiculous.

Further, you conclude by saying such a suit would not be successful. Clearly such a statement requires you to define success, as there are a variety of ways in which a suit can be successful beyond the court's finding.

Nonetheless, as I'm pretty sure I stated quite clearly, I have already agreed to keep the lawyers out of it. At the time of the phone call with The Official, what I said was that I found it hard to believe that the UPA, in its never ending protective posture for all things that equate with good spirit, would really say that anonymous accusers are entitled to protections that HoF candidates are denied.

As I put it, I want to see you make a statement to the membership that says, "Yes, we published an accusation that may be false without bothering to check it for accuracy, and one can argue that the accusation was harmful to the reputation of this HoF candidate, but we can't identify the accuser because we need to protect their right to make the kind of anonymous, unsubstantiated accusations that we feel are essential to the HoF selection process." He didn't say much after that.

Phil Price said...

Here you go, Ken: how to sue for defamation of character, assuming you want to claim you're not a "public figure." I think you'd have trouble claiming you're not a "public figure" for these purposes, considering how vocal you've been on, in person, and on your blog over the years, but you could try it.

But note that "truth is an absolute defense to a defamation action." If Henry really did hear several allegations that you cheated and had bad SOTG, then a statement like "we got several reports claiming that Dobyns cheated and had bad SOTG" is a true statement. You could go after the (heretofore anonymous) accuser, but not Henry or the UPA.

Yes, I get it that you have agreed to keep lawyers out of it; I just think you're kidding yourself if you think that you'd win if you did sue.

Anonymous accusations are hard to stomach. I think it's reasonable for the UPA to ask for anonymous comments, though. Their mistake was to share some of them. But I understand the pressure to do so. They were sort of in a damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don't situation. Being quiet about the reasons wouldn't have made people happy either.

This is exactly the reason organizations tend to get more, well, corporate as they evolve, so you end up with statements like "The Hall of Fame Committee determined that Joe Schmoe should not be inducted in this year's class. We have no further comment on this issue." That's probably what they should have said in this case, and just let people complain. That's probably what they'll do next time.

Anonymous said...

phil price, expert on public figgerz & possible original steroids accuser of k44:

maplerowfarm said...

Phil "waaaaaaaaaaa" Price

"The worst incident of cheating that I ever saw at a high level was committed by Gewirtz at Worlds in Vancouver in, hmm, 1997 I think it was, when Gewirtz laid out into a player (from a Canadian team I think; I could figure it out if I had a schedule from that tournament) who had already caught the disc, to prevent him from throwing a score. One of the top contenders for second-worst I ever saw was at NW Regionals in about 1999 or 2000. If Gewirtz is ever on the candidate slate, I'll certainly submit comments to the HoF committee. And I won't do it anonymously."

Phil, did you play back then?
Back in those days, I saw and even committed layouts that were not intended to cause contact but ended up doing so anyway due to human error or overly aggressive defending.

Now it seems you may have provided some insight into the wonderfully myopic mind of a hall of fame voter when assessing an entire career. They dredge up isolated incidents from 10-15 years ago that they can't seem to get over and use them as reason to tarnish a career of achievement, athletic excellence, leadership, and championships. How Mr. Price is able to judge (from the sidelines) Jon Gewirtz's intent on a layout attempt is really an amazing feat of ESP. And how he can further discredit multiple championships in a leadership role on multiple teams is really a fabulous cosmic leap.

Sour grapes aren't really what HOF voters are supposed to be eating when they read a candidate's application materials. However, seems like most of them chose a bowlful to chew on and then used their myopic microscope when assessing qualifications.

Smacks of pettiness at it's zenith and is a poor substitute for the on the field revenge (for all the beatings that NYNY gave out) that so many opponents were unable to achieve.

Take heart Ken, this in no way diminishes your/our titles or other accomplishments and contributions to the sport. It only makes a few people who didn't have the guts to speak up at the time to feel like they no whave achieved some form of revenge on NYNY that they were never able to get on the field for a few isolated plays that rubbed them the wrong way. I pity the fools.


Anonymous said...

so there are a couple of dozen HOF voters, and according to this tired old fact-free conspiracy theory, the voting is driven by revenge for prior defeats at the hands of the valiant warriors of NY

keep in mind that 1/2 of the voters are either women or contributors

another 1/3 had playing careers that ended before NYNY glory years

a couple of the voters actually played on NYNY

so it musta been those couple remaining voters who were totally blinded by revenge and somehow 'they did it'


maplerowfarm said...

No, the information they relied on to assess this particular candidacy was driven by that revenge is what I'm implying.

Phil Price said...

MJ, you say "I saw and even committed layouts that were not intended to cause contact but ended up doing so anyway due to human error or overly aggressive defending."

Human error is fine. Not sure what you mean by "overly aggressive defending." If what you mean is that you intentionally dove into people, knowing that you had no play on the disc, then you were a cheater and you shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame.

The incident I mentioned at Worlds, Gewirtz left his feet after the receiver had caught the disc. It was obviously intentional. It doesn't take ESP. Referees in basketball and football sometimes determine that a foul was intentional, too. How can they tell? Because they see something that wouldn't have happened by accident.

I know Gewirtz was a cheater. Dobyns, I'm not sure. But I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

so who is responsible for Gewirtz's cheating ?

is it all on him, or do his captains bear any portion of responsibility?

couldn't a good captain, who cared about fair play, have pulled him aside and told him to cut it out or benched him, as needed, to get the point across

Anonymous said...

yeah, kd shoulda beneched jg like moons did with corky. then kd would be in the hof.

oh wait....

Anonymous said...

Good point, but Corky was not as bad as Johnny G.

Anonymous said...

so this is some jealousy thing, where dobyns is envious of the HOF stature of a boston brahmin

Anonymous said...

The brahmins go back to the English founders of Boston. Mooney is an Irish name. Go to a bar in an Irish part of Boston, call a guy a brahmin, and see what happens.

Also, avoiding the use of caps is fine unless you are spelling the name of someone else- then it's a bit rude.

cc22 said...



Jonnygwiz said...

The guy I "dove into intentionaly" as Phil says (since he has ESP) to stop a goal from being thrown was Jim Cruickshank. Future teammate and friend on Furious George. We laugh about that play to this day!

I made a late happens... especially after one's prime of having been the best defensive player in Ultimate for a period of time. Write what you want Phil. I am not proud of some of my hyper aggressive behavior on the field, I have given way more to this game than I have "cheated" to gain.

Anonymous said...

who cares if johnny gwiz cheated. he played in canada and must, therefore, be forever barred from the upa hof.

jacob said...

And Cruickshank did plenty of his own cheating.

(Although he is probably the best ultimate quarterback off all time.)

Anonymous said...

listening to him go on about his past success, the misery of his obscurity, and the unfairness of a world that still refuses to recognize and adequately reward his greatness, i am struck by the futility of his endless quest for respect, and i pity him. imagine being so concerned about what others think that you allow yourself to experience so little lasting joy in what you accomplish.