Based on the way some Syracuse Orange fans are twisting themselves into knots trying to figure out recruiting target Robert Washington's decision, they're either setting themselves up for a hype rarely seen in these parts or a disappointment just as large.
We know that Washington has included Syracuse in his top six alongside traditional powerhouses such as Alabama, Michigan and Florida and we know he's going to announce his decision on Saturday. Depending on how much you want to read into certain things, you could either say SU is a leader or you could say SU is being kept in the mix as a courtesy considering how hard they've worked to recruit him.
Either way, your expectations were likely boosted yesterday morning when Stephen Bailey posted an article with the headline "Syracuse football fans 'don't have to worry,' father says."
"I don't think Syracuse fans have to worry about Robert," Washington Sr. said. "That's my opinion."
Well, opinion or not, that's a pretty bold statement to make.
That was followed up later with another article by Bailey quoting Washington, Sr. on his rather-awesome thoughts about the legacy of 44.
Most kids in high school don't even know who [Jim] Brown is, Washington Sr. said. But bringing back the number could help bridge the gap between Washington's generation and Brown's.
Said Washington Sr.: "Kids these days don't understand the legacy of 44 because it's not relevant anymore, and whoever retired the number 10 years ago killed it. It's not relevant in the rafters."
Hi, DOC Gross.
Shortly after the articles went up, Robert Washington, Sr. fired off a round of reactionary tweets that raised a few eyebrows...
Let's be clear I don't have a clue where my son is going to commit to on Saturday. It's his decision and I will support whatever he decides— Robert Washington Sr (@CoachDubb80) April 22, 2015
Don't believe everything you read if it didn't come from my son's mouth it's not true.— Robert Washington Sr (@CoachDubb80) April 22, 2015
Trying to break a story after I told you to take it down is weak as hell. #NoRespect— Robert Washington Sr (@CoachDubb80) April 22, 2015
Radio silence from him after that. Was Washington, Sr. implying (or outright saying) there had been some malfeasance on the part of Bailey? Did he make up quotes or misrepresent himself? Bailey chimed in soon after to clear the air...
For those wondering, exactly what happened during and after my interview with Robert Washington Sr. last night: pic.twitter.com/GTojGzqyI7— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) April 22, 2015
So basically, it sounds like Robert Washington, Sr. spoke out of turn, Robert Washington, Jr. either doesn't want his moment ruined or doesn't want to give SU fans false hope and, feeling bad about the fact that he gave those quotes out, Senior is throwing Bailey under the bus.
Quick aside. I was on a media panel this past weekend (not-so-humblebrag) and one of the journalists also on the panel talked about how it's not only on the reporter to make it known what the interview will be used for but it's also on the interviewee to confirm as well. You have the right to know what's on the record and what's off the record and it's your job to ask if you're unclear. It sounds like RW Sr. knew what was on the record, and knew when he did the interview in the first place what was going down, so, if anyone's at "fault" here, it's him.
Will this have any effect on Washington Jr.'s recruitment? Probably not. Almost certainly not. He's probably already made his decision and it sounds like if there's anyone to be mad at, it's his Dad and not Bailey or Syracuse.com. But, it's a good reminder to everyone that if you don't want to be part of the story, don't make yourself part of the story.