Vanguard Commentary Labeling Soccer Team As Elitists Violated Its Own Policies

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By Dan Carson

Yellow card, Davis Vanguard!

Let’s play “fill in the blanks.” Should the following statement be considered appropriate under The Vanguard’s commenting policies and guidelines?

“Our budget problems are a reflection of a much broader problem – a sense of entitlement by welfare recipients, feeling they are entitled to certain treatment and to be given certain things, such as regular and substantial benefit increases.”

Or, how about this one? “Our unfair tax system is a reflection of a much broader problem – a sense of entitlement by business owners, feeling they are entitled to certain treatment and to be given certain things, such as tax breaks and advantages over competing firms.”

Both comments, in my view, are problematic. Demonizing groups of people by painting them with a broad brush and blaming “them” for our problems is simplistic and unfair and usually unfounded.

Fortunately, The Davis Vanguard has well-considered policies against this. Its Comment Policy posted on the website in August states, “Pejorative references to any general class of people are strongly discouraged…. They contribute to a negative tone and strongly suggest disrespect for the views of others. In some cases, general insults oversimplify the positions of others, which is detrimental to informed and respectful debate.” Among the specific examples cited in The Vanguard policy of “general insults” that are to be discouraged is referring to someone as being part of an “entitled population.”

But take a look at this statement that appeared in a November 23 Vanguard commentary on the Davis High soccer incident titled, “Is Soccer Incident an Embodiment of a Larger Problem?” In that piece about a November 15 incident, a confrontation between soccer players and a referee over a disputed late-game call was “a reflection of a much broader problem – a sense of entitlement by the students and the parents, feeling they are entitled to certain treatment and to be given certain things, whether it be starting positions or what not.”

The Vanguard asserted that “the attitude by the parents will bleed onto the field into the conduct of the students” and claimed that “this actually is a reflection of a broader problem in this school district. Over the last few months, one of the school board candidates expressed concern about the elitism that pervades this community. There are apparently chants that go something along the lines of: ‘that’s alright, that’s okay, you’ll be pumping our gas someday.’ “

The indictment in The Vanguard gets even more sweeping. In The Vanguard’s view, in this fight against elitism and entitlement, “we need to go further than just our student-athletes, we need to take it to the student population itself, the parents, and the community at large.”

Wow, it’s pretty hard to tar a broader group of people with a broader brush than that. However, The Vanguard cited no direct evidence that the antics on the field at the soccer championship game had anything to do with a sense of entitlement or elitism by the kids, the parents, the coaches, or anyone else. The main justification stated in the piece for his comments seems to relate to an ill-fated episode in which a former school board member meddled with her daughter’s volleyball team.

The author said he talked to unspecified “parents” for his latest piece, but later acknowledged that he deliberately chose not to talk to anyone currently connected with the Davis High soccer program – kids, parents, or coaches. This is at odds with the Vanguard Guiding Principles, most recently published last August 31. They promise that The Vanguard will achieve fairness in its coverage “to accurately reflect the competing positions, make reasonable efforts to gather responses to those who are the subjects of criticism, unfavorable allegations, or other negative assertions in our stories.” The author broke this promise.

Let me give you my response to the charges, since the author failed to provide any. My son is a member of the varsity soccer team. He was not on the field and not involved in the episode that led to discipline and probation being meted out to participants. In the course of the past season, I drove every carpool, attended every game, and got to meet and chat with a lot of the kids and their parents and the coaches. We got to know them fairly well.

These are normal 17- and 18-year-old boys, not saints. But in my many contacts with them, I saw little evidence of the elitism or entitlement that the author is attributing to them. What I saw was a great group of kids and families who came from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds with a terrific work ethic who went out of their way to help each other, again and again. For example, the goalkeeper involved in the fracas with the referee in that last game is a terrific kid who went out of his way to share game time with his backups and to cheer on one of them at a club team match. He lost his temper for a moment and made a stupid mistake for which punishment is appropriate for him and some teammates. But he and his family and teammates don’t fit the stereotype that The Vanguard has carelessly pinned on him and so many, many others without the slightest effort at real journalistic inquiry.

I never saw anyone on the team taunt others about other people pumping their gas someday, as the author implied such “elitists” are doing. Instead, I every member of the team pile together in joy when they pulled off a huge upset in the semifinal. I saw a key midfielder struggle heroically in obvious pain to get back on the field after an injury because his team needed his help. I saw a parent pull a star player from the roster for a few games because he was neglecting his studies, with the support of the coaches, because his education was his priority. I saw the head coach yank a player from a game for bad sportsmanship in excessively celebrating a goal. I eavesdropped on carpool conversations on how the kids handled the stresses that come with juggling practices or games five days a week, heavy academic schedules, and a social life, and came away very impressed by these kids and their families. I don’t think “elitists” act in these ways.

It was commendable that the Davis Vanguard stimulated an online public discussion about the soccer altercation and its aftermath. Was the punishment too much or too little? How can we avoid such incidents in the future and foster good sportsmanship? A number of Vanguard commenters weighed in on these important questions with valuable and enlightening points.

What caused the blow-up on November 15? As the parent of three soccer-maniacal sons, I can tell you that teenagers have short fuses that can sometimes overwhelm them in emotional situations. All of their hopes for a championship had just been yanked from them. What a few of them did that night was unquestionably wrong, but completely understandable to anyone who has parented kids of that age group.

I think The Vanguard was way over the line when it portrayed the incident as the “embodiment of a larger problem” of “elitism” and “entitlement” in the soccer team, Davis athletics, and the Davis community as a whole. Justifying these crude bromides, the author told me by email, “I think the Vanguard was in part create(d) to expose the dark underbelly of Davis and this column was in line with that general concern.” Based on what I have seen, and experienced firsthand, I don’t think Davis High athletics or its soccer family are the “dark underbelly of Davis.” I think, quite to the contrary, that they are a huge positive for the kids and this community.

I hope The Vanguard will do some soul-searching and reaffirm that it will abide by the same policies that it is encouraging for its commenters. It should shy away from the ugly stereotyping of children. Next time, I hope the author will commit to talk to the parties he plans on accusing before issuing sweeping indictments. As I stressed to him, making an effort to understand their point of view, and acknowledging in your piece the existence of views contrary to yours, would only have strengthened the commentary and The Vanguard’s reputation as a fair and thoughtful commenter on an important civic issue. A “yellow card” or caution is warranted here in my view.

Dan Carson was invited by The Vanguard to offer occasional commentary on how well various media outlets and the Vanguard itself adhere to professional journalism standards. Carson was graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism and worked as a reporter for the San Diego Union for 15 years, including a decade as the paper’s Capitol bureau chief. He also contributed to California’s now-defunct journalism review magazine, called “feed/back,” for many years.

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About The Author

Dan Carson worked for 17 years in the Legislative Analyst’s Office, a nonpartisan fiscal and policy adviser to the California Legislature, retiring in 2012 as deputy legislative analyst, and serves as a member of the city’s Finance and Budget Commission. This commentary reflects his views only and does not represent the position of the commission on this issue.

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69 thoughts on “Vanguard Commentary Labeling Soccer Team As Elitists Violated Its Own Policies”

  1. Barack Palin

    I think The Vanguard was way over the line when it portrayed the incident as the “embodiment of a larger problem” of “elitism” and “entitlement” in the soccer team, Davis athletics, and the Davis community as a whole. Justifying these crude bromides, the author told me by email, “I think the Vanguard was in part create(d) to expose the dark underbelly of Davis and this column was in line with that general concern.”

    Good article Dan, I completely agree.  It was a group of seven kids who were mad about a call, six who questioned the ref and one who shoved him.  The one who shoved the ref deserved some type of further punishment.  End of story.  It had nothing to do with elitism or some dark underbelly.  I was also shocked by many of the comments where posters seemed to want everything from expulsion to doing away with the soccer program.  These are some of the same commenters who always want to give crooks a break but when kids argue with or shove a ref then they want blood.

    Also good call on the Vanguard not adhering to its own policies of labeling any groups.

  2. South of Davis

    Dan wrote:

    > Vanguard Commentary Labeling Soccer Team As Elitists Violated Its Own Policies

    When I read the headline I thought David might have seen the light and was working on a “Vanguard Commentary about Every Event with a Black and White guy that calls the White guy a Racist Violated Its Own Policies”.

    Living in Davis it is “Fine” to call “All BMW owners A Holes” but “Racist” to call “All people with spinning big rims Ghetto”

    It is Fine to call “All Fraternity guys Rapists” but “Racist” to call “All Latino gang members “Criminals”” (or even “ILLEGAL” aliens “Criminals”).

    To my (dear) friends on the far left it always OK to lump people they don’t like in to groups and rip on them (e.g. “ALL Bankers” “ALL Hedge Fund Guys” “ALL VCs” “ALL Bohemian Club Members”) but if we try it they will go crazy even if it is something like “ALL Ferguson Looters”…

    1. Frankly

      It is victim mentality at work again.  The minds of some people cannot seem to get out of their own way with respect to a victim or non-victim group identification.   These soccer players where already doomed to extra scorn and punishment by belonging to the significantly non-victim group that is male athletes.  In fact, the aggressive challenging and pushing of the ref was just validation of their non-victim status to those that live and breath this bad vs. good privileged vs. victim narrative.  Demonstrations of high-testosterone maleness in honored athletic endeavors is one of the highest identifiers of privileged non-victim status.  In fact, it is so high on the list it tends to negate other potential victim group identifiers.

      The problem here is that the soccer team is paying the price for the embarrassment of certain adults that see their community as something special with respect to demonstrated grace and civility.  But within this standard victim mentality template the adults don’t recognize that much of their demonstration and behavior lacks significant grace and civility.  Saying it with a wink and a smile fools nobody but the fools.  Kids are generally able to figure it out and do what they are told instead of what they see other adults doing.  But they can and will make mistakes from time to time.

      We should:

      1. Understand that these are kids and it is normal that kids make mistakes and learn from them.

      2. Handle the situation with grace and civility like we claim to have.

      3. Be lenient on the kids because they have a challenge rising above the behavior of the community of adults demonstrating their own bad behavior related to people they disagree with.

  3. South of Davis

    Dan wrote:

    >  but later acknowledged that he deliberately chose not to talk to anyone

    > currently connected with the Davis High soccer program 

    Next thing you know David will be doing a story on “rape culture” and won’t talk to anyone who does not help him with the story he planned to write.  The new “Agenda Focused Journalism” is scary since if you want to do an article on “How all the white kids in Davis are Elitist Racists you can find some real examples, just like you can find examples to prove your point that all white cops are running around looking for black guys to shoot (or choke).  I hope this article helps Davis to look in the mirror to see that he really is pushing an “agenda” more than “reporting” (and at least admit it (like many on both the right and left do)…

  4. Tia Will

    The Vanguard cited no direct evidence that the antics on the field at the soccer championship game had anything to do with a sense of entitlement or elitism by the kids,”

    While I take no exception to the issuance of a “yellow card” since I believe that caution in covering and interpreting local events and painting with too broad a brush is warranted and that reminders are welcome, I disagree with this specific comment. If it is true that the chant ‘that’s alright, that’s okay, you’ll be pumping our gas someday.’ “was used during a competition, this would be clear evidence of an attitude of entitlement and elitism. Whether this chant was performed by player, spectators, and what age groups were involved is unclear. It is also unclear whether any parent or other supervising adult stepped in to stop such a chant.

    I also do not doubt that our athletes and their parents are mostly very productive, positively contributing members of our community. My own family, like yours was involved in competitive sports when my children were in school. And while competitive swimmers and to a lesser degree Lacross players are not high on the “trash talking” list of athletes, I remember clearly instances in which derogatory comments were made about those from “less desirable ” communities. I agree. that for the most part the athletic kids and their parents are well behaved. However, none of the positives should stop either reporting on, nor introspection about the role that an attitude that because we live in Davis that we are somehow “better than others” as evidenced in this chant.

  5. Barack Palin

    f it is true that the chant ‘that’s alright, that’s okay, you’ll be pumping our gas someday.’ “was used during a competition, this would be clear evidence of an attitude of entitlement and elitism.

    My understanding is this chant happened a few years ago and was done by the student fans, not the players.  So are you saying that since this chant was once performed that Davis athletes and students shall forever carry the label of elitists and an attitude of enlightenment?

    1. wdf1

      That is also my understanding.  If that chant occurred during this game in question, or even within the past few months, it is news to me.  I’m not inclined to pile that additional criticism onto the current players, program, or fans if it isn’t deserved.

      1. Dan Carson Post author

        The Nov. 23 Vanguard piece dragged up this chanting event involving some kids in the stands at a basketball game (not the athletes) from long ago to help justify labeling the soccer players, their parents, and their coaches as entitled elitists all these years later.  I never heard the soccer players express these kinds of attitudes in my time around them this last year, and certainly not the parents or coaches.  I wish that The Vanguard had made an effort to talk directly to the folks it was making the accusation against beforehand.  I am positive it would have changed what was written.

        I hope Tia and other Vanguard editorial board members will weigh in and tell us whether they think the written Vanguard policies against attacking groups with generic insults should also have applied in this case. If you think this kind of thing is OK, you might want to consider repealing that part of your written policy,.

  6. PhilColeman

    With a background in journalism, surely Dan, you are aware of the standard reporting technique of taking a national debated topic and attempting to apply it to the local scene. The macro to the micro.

    Then you have the reverse. A local issue–call it a “square”– is expanded, trimmed a little here and there, and then wedged into the global “round hole.” Routine stuff in print and media reporting. Boring, actually.

    The Vanguard uses these tactics all the time but in a calculated provocative tone. So what? Trust that readers with greater than double-digit IQ’s know this already.

    Now, with that said, you are not be faulted for belaboring the obvious. Your analogy was very good, and served as a useful reminder that quest for the total truth will never be found completely on any individual blog. Good for you.

    But blogs like this are intended to entice, provoke, and cause you to think, and not to GIVE you the truth. My analogy is blogs are to truth as reality shows are to reality.

    BTW, any column that begins with a rhetorical title is usually crap, but you no doubt learned that already in journalism school.

    I’ll defend David (his worst nightmare) by saying he does show different facets of basic news stories. He also reports new local stories that would never see the light off public exposure were it not for him. For that alone, I give him my measly ten bucks a month.

    Anybody reading or seeing any news story from any source is anointed with the gift of independent thought and analysis.

  7. Tia Will

    More thoughts on elitism.

    I do believe that elitism is more common in Davis than many would like to acknowledge. I have a few examples from my own experience in Davis to share.

    In the “professional dominated neighborhood” in which I lived and raised by children the following examples were  not exceptional

    1. I was pressured ( yes, pressured, not just informed ) by a number of parents in the community to make sure that my children got into Gate.

    2. The common conversation at parks, sporting and other community events was how to get our children into the “best schools”. There was never any consideration that any of the children might not be college bound or more suited to other avocations. Comments from me that an elite school might not be the best path for one of my children were met with raised eyebrows and awkward silences.

    3. I was criticized one day at a local park for being “a professional mother” by one of the neighborhood moms with the clear implication that her model of staying home with her children fully supported by her surgeon husband was the superior model. She wasn’t mincing words and the conversation was opened by her with a comment on my clothing since I had not chosen to change from my “business casual” before taking my kids to the park. ( The elitism wars were raging at the time with women on each side of the debate berating each other ). Too bad we weren’t expending that energy on supporting each other.

    4. Probably the most graphic, but not unique comment was made by a member of a two doctor couple who referred to the people, primarily of a different ethnic background, who came to the NorthStar park on weekends to enjoy the park, playground, pond and wildlife as “riff-raff”.

    5. A personal acquaintance of mine identified ( and not in a derogatory manner) their own significant other as an “elitist” with a commentary on how that fit in well with Davis.

    I know that these are anecdotes. I also do not believe that they are isolated incidents, but part of a broader attitude common albeit not ubiquitous in Davis. I am pointing fingers at no one. Just suggesting that perhaps we are not so free of the attitudes of elitism and entitlement as we would like to believe.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > The common conversation at parks, sporting and other

      > community events was how to get our children into the

      >“best schools”.

       

      This shows more who you hang out with more than proving Davis is “elitist”.  Do you think that even a single resident of one of the trailer parks in town has had a conversation about “how to get their children into the “best schools” in the past year?

      >  I was criticized one day at a local park for being

      > “a professional mother” 

      Yet in the same town my (incredibly well educated) wife has been criticized (multiple times) for “wasting her education” staying home with kids…

      1. sisterhood

        I remember being at Steve’s Pizza, at a birthday party,  listening to several parents talk about their “portfolio’s” while totally ignoring a single Mom who had just moved there from Oakland. She told me she was having to move again, because she realized she couldn’t afford to live in Davis.

      2. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        This shows more who you hang out with more than proving Davis is “elitist”.

        I do not believe that the city of Davis is an entity which can be characterized as elitist or not. I believe that there are many people whose actions reflect “elitism” and many whose actions do not.

        What I was describing was not a group that I “hung out with ” by choice, but rather who came to the park due to proximity. This was a neighborhood specific observation. None of these anecdotes were about people whom I would characterize as friends.

        Do you think that even a single resident of one of the trailer parks in town has had a conversation about “how to get their children into the “best schools” in the past year? 

        Yes, I believe that they might. Many parents who are from lower socioeconomic backgrounds have the same aspirations for their children as do those of us lucky enough to have more financial and experiential resources. I know from the direct experience of my own family that my ship fitter father and middle school educated stay at home mother had many conversations about how to optimize our educational opportunities. Unfortunately my only high school educated parent died when I was nine, making the community college to State University to UC route my only viable opportunity.

        Yet in the same town my (incredibly well educated) wife has been criticized (multiple times) for “wasting her education” staying home with kids…” 

        I know that this kind of “elitism” played both ways and said as much at the end of my post. So I guess we are in agreement on this point.

        One more thought while we are here.

        “Elitism” is not limited to any one group of people. If one considers a broad definition of “elitism” as “ consciousness of membership in or allegiance to a select group” one can see “elitism” in a different light.

        I view it equally as “elitist” to call out a group as “pointed headed intellectuals” in a derogatory manner implying that ignorance some how conveys superiority as it is to deride those who do not have college educations as inferior. Both are attempts to denigrate another group based on characteristics of one’s own group that the individual wants to portray as superior. Neither is better or more constructive in my opinion as both are attempts to minimize the contributions of the other group rather than accepting that collaboration of individuals having different strengths and skill sets will almost always provide superior results.

         

         

      3. South of Davis

        Tia wrote:

        > I view it equally as “elitist” to call out a group as

        > “pointed headed intellectuals” 

        So basically Davis is not “elitist” is it just like EVERY OTHER CITY where smart people look down on dumb people, dumb people look down on smart people, rich people look down on poor people, poor people look down on rich people and Raider fans look down on 49er fans and 49er fans look down on Raider fans…

        1. Tia Will

          South of Davis

          That is not what I said, and not what I meant.

          I believe that individuals manifest elitist behaviors. Cities are not individuals any more than corporations are people. More people in one community may exhibit elitist behaviors than those in another community. But that does not make the community as a whole elitist.

           

    2. sisterhood

      “Too bad we weren’t expending that energy on supporting each other.”

      Too bad, indeed. Think of what we all could have accomplished, if we all really supported each other. It could have been amazing.

      I remember the 90’s all too well. Worked full time, out of necessity.  There were mean moms like the ones portrayed in “The New Adventures of Old Christine”: Marley and Lindsey. (I dare anyone in Davis to watch, and not identify with those two.) It’s ironic that some of those Moms are the trophy wives who had affairs, causing  the first wife to go back to work full time.

      Please allow me to use this space to beg the elementary teachers to stop planning events (with the full time moms) during school hours. Especially the mother-child tea. Do they still do that? I only had about two weeks vacation per year.  All those events (including parent teacher conferences, mother-child teas, barbecues, field trips, plays, etc), would have used up all my vacation hours and left me with  NO time with my kids. If I chose not to go, you should have seen the disappointment on my two kids’ faces. Why don’t teachers understand that? And Wacky Wednesdays-drive by North Davis sometime and see how many teachers’ cars are in the parking lot. They all leave early that day. They don’t stay at school. Lastly, I remember being told if I couldn’t make it to the Mother-Child tea, they would bring in a volunteer to sit with my child! Another child was crying through the whole event. I found out later the child’s mom had died.

      1. Tia Will

        sisterhood

        I would like to add my support to one portion of your comments. It can be very hurtful to a child whose parent cannot possibly make it to these events. One of my most vivid memories from my son’s early school years was the profound expression of relief followed by joy on my son’s face when I arrived slightly late to his mother- child tea event having had to drive in from Rancho Cordova. I also remember including one of his classmates at our table with me acting as de facto mother to this little boy whose mom could not be there. He did not cry, but shared in our conversation and laughter, but at the time I knew in my heart that I was no substitute for his own mom. I just didn’t ever put it together in the same way you have.  i don’t know if I agree with your solution of a ban on these activities, but I certainly can relate to your feelings about it.

        “It’s ironic that some of those Moms are the trophy wives who had affairs, causing the first wife to go back to work full time.”
        I can also understand and fully relate to this comment. And would not let the involved husband’s off the hook for this behavior.

  8. Tia Will

    BP

    So are you saying that since this chant was once performed that Davis athletes and students shall forever carry the label of elitists and an attitude of enlightenment?”

    Absolutely not. And I suggested no such thing. My comment was in direct response to a specific line in Dan’s article and I believe that I made it clear that I did not know if the incident even happened. Perhaps you did not notice the line in my comment “if it is true that….”. I thought this clearly conveyed that I had no knowledge of whether, let alone the exact timing of the alleged chant or the circumstances of who was involved.  But please, feel free to distort, exaggerate and mock as much as you like as though it were thoughtful commentary. I enjoy your posts. But then, I also enjoy The Borowitz Report and the Onion.

    1. Barack Palin

      Tia Will, did you not write:

      If it is true that the chant ‘that’s alright, that’s okay, you’ll be pumping our gas someday.’ “was used during a competition, this would be clear evidence of an attitude of entitlement and elitism. 

      Well the chant was used once, so by going by what you wrote “this would be clear evidence of an attitude of entitlement and elitism”.  Am I missing something?

      Did you not also write:

      However, none of the positives should stop either reporting on, nor introspection about the role that an attitude that because we live in Davis that we are somehow “better than others” as evidenced in this chant.

      So using your own words is somehow distorting, mocking and exaggerating what you wrote?

      1. Tia Will

        BP

        So using your own words is somehow distorting, mocking and exaggerating what you wrote?”

        No, but I believe that extrapolating what I wrote into something that I did not say and then “enquiring” whether that is what I really meant is at least disingenuous or perhaps just one of your characteristic barbs.

        The question that I would ask of Dan, or any other sports parent, is have you never intervened to squelch any derogatory or demeaning comments from players or spectators at sporting events ? I know I did on a number of occasions. I intervened with my own children when things that originally started out as frustration over calls or perceived dirty tactics started to become personal. And on a number of occasions either myself or other parents would intervene to “calm down a coach” whose speech was starting to cross the line between appropriate objection to personal invective. Have things gotten so much better over the past 4 years since my youngest graduated that no intervention is necessary ?  Ever ? Really ?

        If so, I would completely and publicly retract my statement and would applaud what ever actions brought about this improvement.

         

         

        1. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > The question that I would ask of Dan, or any other

          > sports parent, is have you never intervened to squelch

          > any derogatory or demeaning comments

          I have never had to “squelch” a Davis “sports parent” but I tackled and (literally) dragged a (very drunk) fraternity brother off the field years ago when he yelled a racist comment from the sidelines while we were playing a (historically) Jewish fraternity in an IFC soccer match.

          P.S. My fraternity was about 10% Jewish including one of our best soccer players…

  9. Davis Progressive

    i have a lot of different problems with dan’s article

    he is acting as a de facto public editor of the vanguard, a role that he has played in the past and played well.  (btw, those who want to jump on david’s crap remember that he’s publishing pointed criticism of himself).  but he’s not exactly a neutral observer here.  his son is on the soccer team.

    the vanguard exists to challenge the establishment.  i’ve lived here for 30 years.  of course we are an arrogant community.  yes, there is a sense of entitlement.

  10. sisterhood

    “the vanguard exists to challenge the establishment.  i’ve lived here for 30 years.  of course we are an arrogant community.  yes, there is a sense of entitlement.”

    Hear, hear.

    “What a few of them did that night was unquestionably wrong, but completely understandable to anyone who has parented kids of that age group.”

    Are you serious? Therein lies the elitism. You print this explanation, then you wonder why kids think they are entitled to behave badly. They knew their parents would defend their bad behavior., like you just did! They knew they would just get a “slap on the wrist.”  I did parent two kids in that age group and you are so wrong. Shame.

    1. Davis Progressive

      it is rather remarkable how dan carson is being allowed to get away with this piece which should be entitled: “in defense of my son, his teammates, myself, and my fellow parents”

  11. Tia Will

    DP

    he is acting as a de facto public editor of the vanguard, a role that he has played in the past and played well”

    “it is rather remarkable how dan carson is being allowed to get away with this piece which should be entitled: “in defense of my son, his teammates, myself, and my fellow parents”

    I actually see this as a major strength of the Vanguard and one reason that I have chosen to become so involved, both as a private poster and as a member of the editorial board.

    My views are not those of David and are certainly not those of Dan on this issue. However, I do believe that what the Vanguard and its contributors and commenters do very well in taking  on controversial subjects in a forum that allows for the sharing of ideas. I think that providing David’s commentary and then Dan’s rejoinder is a great illustration of the value of the Vanguard in our community. The Vanguard was intended in part as a public conversation space for controversial issues pertinent to our community and I think that it is serving this function and others very well. I am unaware of any other public venue that serves this purpose and is asnspecifically open and transparent in its intent. If anyone knows of one, please let me know, as I would love to participate in that as well.

  12. Anon

    Dan, thanks for your perspective.  I would generally agree with the way the DJUSD handled the matter.  The boys were suitably punished, but it is understood they are kids not fully baked and made a mistake that needed to be corrected.

    In regard to your comments about the Vanguard, David Greenwald is free to say whatever provocative thing he chooses, but I often find his method of journalism distasteful.  That is why I left the Vanguard for quite a while.  I have come back only recently, but don’t know for how long.  On the other hand, David fills in gaps in news coverage not reported in the Davis Enterprise, which is important.

    1. Tia Will

      Anon

      Please don’t go ; )

      I feel that when you are addressing issues substantively ( as opposed to for example just posting “Bingo”) you make very valid balancing points which while rarely representative of my point of view, not infrequently make me pause to examine why I see issues the way I do.  The discussion of varying points of view in a calm reasoned manner rather than just “cheering for our side” is what I see as one of the major benefits of the Vanguard regardless of preference of writing style.

       

  13. TrueBlueDevil

    I enjoy The Vanguard and think that it generally does a good job. I think using two sources close to the story is helpful, but sometimes David provokes debate and interaction on items with his intuitive take or musings on current events.

    Reading this article, I did flash several times on whether the author had a different intent with his piece. Compliment the players, list their many positive qualities, highlight their stressful life, give a nod to the parents, and criticize The Vanguard. All the while, downplaying and justifying the actions of some soccer players that day deep into the article.

    Dan Carson wrote: “As the parent of three soccer-maniacal sons, I can tell you that teenagers have short fuses that can sometimes overwhelm them in emotional situations. All of their hopes for a championship had just been yanked from them. What a few of them did that night was unquestionably wrong, but completely understandable to anyone who has parented kids of that age group.”

    I throw the red flag.

    In decades as a player and fan, at this moment I can’t think of a single time when a player put his hands on a referee, let alone shoved a referee and surrounded him with aggressively advancing players.

    I have seen many players and coaches get very heated, and typically team leaders and assistant coaches pull the heated participant away from the situation. Sometimes they are even sent to the locker room. Yes, I’ve seen baseball players and coaches kick dirt, but not shove an umpire.

    If this happened in a classroom to a teacher, it may have been considered assault. (Maybe Phil Coleman can comment.) The added danger in a situation like this is that a shove can lead to a punch, and then we are into melee territory.

    This becomes a type of situational ethics. And what happens if we were to change just one fact?

    What if the goalie shoved a female referee?

    What if he shoved a black referee?

    What if the goalie was planning on going to Stanford, and his English teacher gives him a C grade, which would classify as an “emotional” situation. Would he be justified in shoving his teacher?

    Yes, the goalie qualifies for harsher consequences, and it is laughable to think that his actions were “completely understandable”.

    1. Tia Will

      TBD

      We often do not share the same perspective on issues, but I think that you have this one just about right. Although I think that the “red card” might be a little heavy handed ; )

      1. hpierce

        With all due respect, Tia, you obviously do not understand the Laws of the Game for soccer.  From what I saw on the video, and my knowledge and use of the laws call for EACH player involved to be issued a red card (ejection, and shall be removed from the field of play).  At a minimum, it would constitute serious dissent, serious unsporting conduct, and depending on the words used, even more grounds.  The referee backed away from the confrontation, and the players kept coming.  The only difference between the goalkeeper and the others was a possible criminal charge of assault, which violates State law, far more than the Laws of the Game.  A red card is NOT “heavy handed’.  Perhaps as time was nearly done, the ref called the end of the game to avoid doing his obvious ‘duty’ in red-carding each and EVERY one of the players involved.

        1. Tia Will

          Hpierce

          i had to smile at your post.

          i was not saying anything at all about the use of the “red card” in the game.

          My reference was to TBDs post indicating that he/she was throwing down a rhetorical

          “red card”.

          However, as primarily a swimming, hockey and LaCrosse mom, you are correct that I do not know the nuances of soccer carding.

    2. Dan Carson Post author

      In no way do I believe the shoving of a referee is justified. Let me repeat what I said in the piece.  The actions on the field that day in November were wrong.  They deserved to be punished.  But there is no evidence they were the result of elitism or entitlement as the Vanguard claimed. Instead, they were the understandable result of teenage tempers running amok at a highly emotional moment.

      For the record, the Vanguard invited me to become a participant in these pages and encouraged my de facto public editor role.  The reason I make monthly contributions to support the Vanguard, and am a regular contributor to these pages, is to strengthen it as a professional journalism organization it aspires to be.  A good start would have been for the author of the original piece to have talked to someone, anyone, actually connected to the team before hurling accusations at them.  To me, it’s a clear violation of the Vanguard’s own commenting policies that should not be repeated in the future.  I think it’s fair to point that out.

      1. hpierce

        I hope you understand, Dan, that had the game continued EACH of the involved players should have been ejected, under the Laws of the Game.  Had it been a semi-final game, and had they won, none of them would have been eligible to play in the Final, under all tournament rules I’ve ever seen.

        Your points up to your statement in question were VERY valid.

        1. Robb Davis

          I think hpierce has this right.

          I have also been reflecting on what might have been a more restorative process in this situation.  Offering the referee the opportunity (if he chose to do so) to sit with each player individually or together to explain the harm that their actions cause to the integrity of the game and the vulnerable position of a referee in such a situation so they could understand his perspective would have been a good starting point.  Beyond that, perhaps requiring each participant to take a referee’s course and referee a prescribed number of games and then meet again with the referee (or another) to discuss their experience as a referee would have been perhaps preferable to suspensions.

          Perhaps the referee erred in his “no-call” but by refereeing themselves the players would have gained a deeper understanding of how challenging it is to get calls right in a game (anyone who has refereed any sport knows that any post-game reflection by a ref is focused on errors made and how to avoid them in the future).

          BTW–one thing I don’t know (have not watched the videos) is whether the AR signaled intentional handling on this play.  Does anyone know?  Obviously the referee must make the call but I am curious if he waved off the AR in this case.

          I know I am not addressing the “elitism” issue here but I think there has been much written across the country about how “elite” athletes (as they are called) are often pampered, given special treatment (a recent case out of UNC is startling in this regard) and often given a pass. Whether that is elitism, and whether or not that happens to varsity players in Davis, are important questions.  Special treatment of outstanding athletes is, in my view, not healthy.

        2. South of Davis

          Robb wrote:

          > Beyond that, perhaps requiring each participant to take a

          > referee’s course and referee a prescribed number of games 

          I know the city council can’t tell the schools what to do, but since a lot of people respect Robb (and voted for him) I bet the schools might try and implement some great ideas like this if he contacts some decision makers.

      2. Biddlin

        “is to strengthen it as a professional journalism organization it aspires to be.”

        I have seen no evidence of such aspirations, but can only recommend that you buy them
        copies of Elements of Style and Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. The usual suspects violate the policy with impunity several times daily. Why should not David avail himself of the same liberality? Frankly, though I’m not, I don’t think he did, but if you are so injured, I offer a palliative to soothe the burning bum:

        http://www.everythingsg.com/forum/members/biddlin-albums-98-workhorse-picture1330-biddlins-butthurt-balm.jpg

        Apply liberally and often.

        ;>)/

    3. South of Davis

      Dan wrote:

      > What a few of them did that night was unquestionably

      > wrong, but completely understandable

      I think I read a similar sentence a few months ago written by someone on the left talking about a poor black guy who robbed a liquor store before he punched a cop in the face…

      1. hpierce

        Also, have seen at least a few comments from those on the “right” saying that was completely ‘understandable’ that a peace officer shot (several times) and killed a man who robbed a liquor store and punched the officer in the face.  That was wrong, too.

  14. Tia Will

    I think that it is fair to state that both for myself privately and as a member of the editorial board that Dan’s comments, like those of any contributor or poster making a substantive contribution ( which in my eyes this piece certainly was) are warmly welcomed even ( and maybe especially ) when they are different from my own.

  15. Tia Will

    South of Davis

    Thanks for sharing your story. One of my specific times involved my own ( now ex) husband who was objecting to the officiating of an AYSO event in which he was the coach of our son’s teams. A multiple parent intervention, including me, was needed to get him to stop with the personal deriding of the official. The unfortunate “lesson” my son learned was that he never wanted to participate on a team that his father coached. A real shame since his father was an excellent soccer player, but a very poor role model of sportsman like behavior. This type of behavior existed in Davis in the past, and I would have a hard time believing that it has been completely eradicated, although I admit, not being current, I could be wrong.

    1. hpierce

      Tia, it exists in just about EVERY community where I have reffed. In no case was it a ‘community’ problem.  It was a stupid jerk who needed an “attitude adjustment”.  Davis has no different a percentage of “stupid jerks” than any other I’ve seen.  I suspect an “elitist” might want disagree with that, one way or the other.

  16. Rich RifkinWDE 73

    As an elite, I favor elitism. Does that put me at odds with the Vanguard’s anti-elitist policies?

    … And FWIW, as an elite, I was once thrown out of a Little League game where I was coaching 13-15 year olds. In my normal elitist manner, I was upset that the other team’s plebeian catcher was blocking home plate without the ball when my elite player tried to score. After the plebeian umpire called my elitist runner out, I threw an elitist tizzy fit and the plebeian umpire, whose plebeian son was on the other team, gave me the heave ho. Darn it! … Fortunately, my elite players, with me watching from the stands, came back in their elite way, won the game and showed the other team I was right and elite all along.

  17. Tia Will

    Dan

    First, the part of your commentary with which I agree.

    A good start would have been for the author of the original piece to have talked to someone, anyone, actually connected to the team before hurling accusations at them.”

    I completely agree that an objective reporting of the news should include representations of both sides of an issue.  So if this was intended as a factual reporting, rather than an opinion piece by David, I agree with you.Now to the part with which I disagree.

     

    “But there is no evidence they were the result of elitism or entitlement as the Vanguard claimed”

     Instead, they were the understandable result of teenage tempers running amok at a highly emotional moment.”

    You seem to feel that these are two mutually exclusive points which cannot coexist.  I do not see it as an either or situation. I see the possibility that both  may have had a contribution to what happened. Going a little further back to address root causes of behavior, it is very likely that a highly emotional state with teen tempers running amok was contributory. And I see it as a possibility that boys who had received better instruction in sportsmanship,  more respect for on field authority, better guidance in how to channel their negative emotional responses, and yes, perhaps guidance in not acting on their feelings of self righteous injury might have chosen a different means of addressing their perceived grievance thus avoiding the  perceived need for any article on this issue at all.

  18. Davis Progressive

    the title of the article is inaccurate.  if you read the original article, david only mentioned elitism in one respect, “one of the school board candidates expressed concern about the elitism that pervades this community.”  he didn’t use the term himself and elitism was not directed at the soccer players – at least not directly.

    instead he said, ” a sense of entitlement by the students and the parents, feeling they are entitled to certain treatment and to be given certain things, whether it be starting positions or what not.”  and that was expressed by dennis foster.

    i think blueandwhite is right, carson is angry that his kid got indirectly criticized.

    1. hpierce

      And I’m thinking that you are correct on how Mr Carson may be feeling, but aside from his feelings, I feel (emotion) and believe (cognitive) hat he makes many valid points.

      I find your distinction between “elitism” and  “sense of entitlement” to be a very, very fine line.

  19. ryankelly

    I think that the community’s over-involvement in Athletics at the High School has undermined the coaches’ management of their teams to some extent.  I think that  there is a underlying lack of respect and the expectation that parents and/or community members can intervene in the process of disciplining players and coaches is prevalent.   If this is a symptom of elitism, then I agree that this is a troubling element that extends across the community.     If the boys involved had more respect for their coach and the referees, they would have never considered yelling at and pushing the referee.  Their poor behavior has reflected badly on the entire team, their coach, their parents, Davis High School, and even the Davis community.  This is unfortunate, but an expected result.   We’ve had some great coaches at DHS – real role models who had the respect of students and the community.  We need to allow newer, young coaches to establish themselves without interference, if we want that again.

     

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Example number one was the Nancy Peterson fiasco, where she overstepped the assistant coach, the coach, the principal, the athletic director and the school superintendent on numerous occasions so that her child would get more playing time. She openly questioned the decorated coach, the coach had to come up with elaborate and detailed rules (for parents) at some point due to parental over-involvement, and still it did no good.

      While I know there are many good parents, I don’t think this came in out of the blue. I have heard a few parents complain that if ‘Johnny’ or ‘Suzi’ doesn’t get an A in xyz subject, they won’t get into Harvard or Stanford.

       

      1. South of Davis

        TBD wrote:

        > I have heard a few parents complain that if ‘Johnny’ or

        > ‘Suzi’ doesn’t get an A in xyz subject, they won’t get into

        > Harvard or Stanford.

        They are probably correct since close to 100% of the non athlete, non connected, not super rich kids that get in to Harvard or Stanford today have well above a 4.0.

        In the 70’s over 1/3 of the kids who applied got in to Harvard or Stanford (and OVER half got in to Cal).

        Many parents are stressed out today with less than one in 20 kids who apply getting in to Harvard or Stanford.

        While one in 20 may not sound bad the real odds are about 1 in 100 if your kid is not a drafted athlete, musician the school needs, related to a Billionaire or have politically connect parents.

         

    2. hpierce

      “I think that  there is a underlying lack of respect and the expectation that parents and/or community members can intervene in the process of disciplining players and coaches is prevalent.” or,

       I think that  there is a underlying lack of respect and the expectation that SOME parents and/or SOME community members can intervene in the process of disciplining players and coaches is prevalent.

      I think you made SOME of Mr Carson’s points, in the words you chose to post.  Mirror time, all around.

      1. ryankelly

        I’m not following you.  Do you agree with me?  Or are you changing my words to something you agree with?  Are you criticizing me for the “words (I) choose to post.”    I think that it is an expectation in Davis that ANY parent or community member who wants to can attempt to intervene, not just SOME.

    1. South of Davis

      Biddlin wrote:

      > Fine line between elitism and community spirit.

      A lot depends on your world view.

      A chant of “We’re Number One” at a football game can be a “Normal Cheer” to one person and an “Elitist rant designed to lower the self esteem of the opposing team” to another person.

      I heard on the radio today that the Smith College President “Said she was sorry for her recent e-mail that said “All lives matter”.

      It turns out that the school president didn’t know that “All lives matter” means “Black lives don’t matter” (to some people).  It looks like she may keep her job (unlike the Harvard president who was canned after he hinted that men might like math more than women, forgetting that the ONLY acceptable reasons for one race or sex being better at something is racism and sexism)…

  20. Miwok

    Great article on a topic that we all need to heed at times.

    The reason I like to read all the comments is there is a very diverse crowd here. But nowhere have I read the word “humility”.

    Entitlement? sure, Elitism, sure. But humility and good sportsmanship is why I don’t watch much sports any more, even at a high school level. They are auditions for scholarships and self-aggrandizement. I hate watching players celebrate after a goal or run or touchdown, even to the extent they ignore other teammates. Any parent who observes that should take heed that their kids will pick this up. I see it so much on the highlight reel of Sports News, right after the Sports Crime Report.

    Last night’s post I wrote was a little glib, because like the comments tonight, this forum tends to over-intellectualize every topic, and my last night’s post was a little emotional. I don’t think people less fortunate cross some peoples’ minds, because the fight to stay on top makes every part of life a competition.

    After many years of being like that, you will get what you want. Maybe.

  21. Alan Miller

    “These are normal 17- and 18-year-old boys, not saints. But in my many contacts with them, I saw little evidence of the elitism or entitlement that the author is attributing to them.”

    Don’t you know, you and I and the rest of the privileged do not know that we are a privileged.  It’s all part of being privileged.  Don’t you know?

  22. Southie

    What caused the blow-up on November 15? As the parent of three soccer-maniacal sons, I can tell you that teenagers have short fuses that can sometimes overwhelm them in emotional situations. All of their hopes for a championship had just been yanked from them. What a few of them did that night was unquestionably wrong, but completely understandable to anyone who has parented kids of that age group.”

    Kids will be kids.  That’s your argument?  I teach and coach teenagers, and what happened on that field was unacceptable.  It was, like it or not, a sign of some larger problem.  I agree that a teenage athlete can be emotional and make a poor decision.  I have had an athlete step out of line on occassion, but we are not talking about a single athlete.  We are talking about half the team physically confronting an official on the field.  While an individual athlete’s reaction may reflect on his character, how a team reacts is a reflection of the program and the community.  That many kids do not treat an official like that out of the blue.  The idea that this is acceptable behavior comes from somewhere, either from home or from within the program.  One kid goes after a ref and you have a teachable moment about sportsmanship.  Half your team goes after a ref and it is absolutely a sign of some larger problem.  I grant you that the problem may not be elitism.  However, saying that teenagers make mistakes does not do justice to what happened on the field.

  23. TrueBlueDevil

    What does the team’s probation look like? What are the consequences? No playoffs, no players on the all league team, they have to eat spinach every Saturday?

    I’ll tell you what, the ‘smart phones” are robbing children (and even adults) of manners, communication, and perspective, to name just three items. By definition teens are often self centered, but now in many cases it is off the charts. Their reality is so different than even 10 or 20 years ago. This may be a tangent or related item to the “elitist” angle.

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