A Dallas Cowboys Boycott?

It's hard sometimes to understand where some people are coming from. You probably know what I mean. You run into an idea or opinion that is just so completely the opposite of how you feel about things that you cannot even imagine why someone would suggest that.

I'm not getting into any specific examples, of course, because it seems that there is no idea out there so outrageous that someone doesn't support it. And sometimes, there is some reason behind that, and I certainly don't want to get into anything that may step on people's toes. This is a site for fans of the Dallas Cowboys. We are here for the most part because we want any news about the team. Combine talk, possible free agent signings, mock draft upon mock draft, we eat it up and are already counting the days until the OTAs and training camp and finally, finally, the new season comes and we can start cheering our favorite team on and hoping that they will get back to the playoffs this year.

So I was a tad flabbergasted when I saw this article, in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram. It is written by Mac Engel, a well-known Cowboys beat writer, and he is advocating a Boycott of the Dallas Cowboys.

You, the fan, have screamed you are sick and tired of GM Jerry, however, all of Cowboys nation acts as his greatest enabler because you have to get your fix.

What to do? Because there is not a single greater sports addiction than NFL football, this is going to be very hard with the promise of no results, but the first and loudest step is to quit.

Cold turkey. No patch. There is no non-Cowboyholic beverage to substitute.

No more buying hats, shirts or gear with the Star.

No more buying single-game tickets, and forget the season-ticket package.

Say what?

A look at what may be behind this after the jump.

In the article, Engel refers to Randy Galloway, another, even more established Star Telegram writer and radio host, as being behind what is called Occupy Valley Ranch, but the idea seems to have originated with Matt Mosley, also one of the bigger names in the Dallas sports media. He appears to have come up with the idea at the beginning of the year, according to this article of his from Fox Sports Southwest.

Unlike most things I say on the radio, my suggestion Tuesday of an Occupy Valley Ranch movement gained almost universal support. In the aftermath of another disappointing season, it seems Cowboys fans are more vigilant than ever in their opinion that Jerry Jones should give up his title of general manager.

There is an Occupy Valley Ranch page on Facebook, which is at least inspired by this if not directly connected to the writers. The idea is apparently to force Jerry Jones to hire a GM.

That idea in and of itself is certainly one that can be argued quite validly. Many of the regulars here would start doing cartwheels if he did just that. What struck me as so strange was the thought of a bunch of writers who depend on an audience of readers who are interested in the Cowboys trying to get those same readers to ignore the Cowboys. Doesn't that sort of run the risk that you might eliminate your own job?

The problem, which is more or less acknowledged in the articles, is that Jerry Jones owns the Cowboys, gets to make this particular decision all by himself, and has absolutely no intention of changing things. I also am thrown a little by the timing of it all. The team has made some very encouraging moves in the past year and a half, ever since Jason Garrett was given a chance at the head coaching job. Most of what is coming out of Valley Ranch lately makes a certain amount of sense, and even offers some indications that Jerry has actually learned something. And I believe there has always been a bit of misconception about how he runs the team anyway.

I, and the rest of the front page writers for BTB, have always tried to back up a step and take a look at all the facts. We do sometimes make snap judgements and we all have our own beliefs about the coaches and players and above all Jerry Jones, but we try to base them on reality and observable facts as much as possible. We also are willing to change our perceptions as data and results warrant. So, from my viewpoint at least, this outcry seems to be coming at an odd time, when Jerry at least appears to have righted the ship and found a coach he has faith in, while also letting his son Stephen take on a more active role in the GM responsibilities.

But the biggest issue is that I am still a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. That includes Jerry Jones, which doesn't mean that I am a fan of him personally, but I sure want him to succeed in making this a championship franchise again. I am not going to boycott the team because, well, what else will I put my passion for pro football into? The Texans? The Eagles? Soccer? And as many mistakes as Jerry has made as a GM, he is still a pretty damn good owner, and I don't think a few reporters can take down the top sports franchise (in value) in the US. And if free agency and the draft go well, this could be pretty darn good team this fall. Why bail now?

The language and sense of self importance of the articles is also a bit over the top, particularly when Engel starts claiming the Arab Spring movement as his inspiration.

If you are sick, tired and mad about Jerry Jones GMing your team, do something about it. If there can be an Arab Spring, why not a Cowboys Spring?

I'm sorry. Being unhappy about an 8-8 football season, or a string of disappointing years, does not seem really worthy of comparison to people dying in the streets to overthrow despots. But hyperbole and sports go together, so this kind of thing is sort of expected.

But there is a line between reporting the news and making the news. This almost seems like a manufactured thing, where the journalists are no longer taking an objective stance to report what is going on, but have decided to try and shape and influence things themselves. I feel like I am involved in a role reversal. A boycott movement should logically start somewhere like, oh, say, a fan website, and be reported in the media, not the other way around.

This was the kind of thing that could be really puzzling, but in discussing how to approach this with me, OCC showed me an old article about the overall death of the print media. It comes from the college ranks (University of Michigan SBN site Maize n Brew), but this bit suddenly brought into focus why the current situation seems so oddly familiar to me.

Over the past two decades the tenor of the columnists changed for the worse. Whether it's Jay Marioti shooting his mouth off, Drew Sharp writing something that an orangutan with a typewriter would be embarrassed of, or Skip Bayless picking yet another fight with someone who doesn't care who Skip Bayless is; there's been nothing worth reading.

Giving commentary instead of the news is what has driven the print media, at least the sports aspect of it, over the cliff. They forgot or chose to ignore the cardinal rule: the story is the story. But crap like this landed Marioti and Bayless on ESPN. And isn't gaining exposure for yourself more important than writing something relevant? It shouldn't be; but it has become so. It seems columnists are going to greater and greater lengths to draw attention to themselves and to a lesser extent their papers. Creating controversies where none existed. Picking fights with the teams and people they were assigned to cover. And generally annoying or boring the (crap) out of anyone foolish enough to pick up a paper.

This is a long piece, but interesting if you take the time.

Is this Boycott just a manufactured protest to try and drum up some reader interest? Is it a bit of a desperation move by journalists who are feeling supplanted by the new media? An attempt to get attention from a potential future employer? Well, it does make me wonder. So be aware, if you happen to hear more about this whole Occupy Valley Ranch mess. It may not be quite what it appears.

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