History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The U's Norwood Teague: we hardly knew ye

Norwood Teague (image from MPR)
Oh, my: there was an interesting item for the Friday night news dump: U of M athletic director resigns. He resigns amidst scandal!
Media people had to brew fresh coffee and charge their batteries to get engaged. These days there's no reason for media activity to slow down on weekends. In this new age of new and viral media, a scandal isn't going to be tamped down much.
Regents' Chair Dean Johnson got a breathless phone call I'm sure. This is the same Dean Johnson who got in sort of a scandal or at least a dust-up with the Minnesota Supreme Court about a decade ago. He knows how these brushfires can become pesky.
I'm sitting here like some kind of a guru on the mountaintop: I never consume alcoholic drinks. Is there any rational reason to do so? I often consume soft drinks to excess - a real risk in this age of unlimited refills in so many places. I remember when Jim Morrison, the old Morris Sun-Tribune boss, teased Howard Moser by saying "you'll get arrested for driving under the influence of Dr. Pepper!" Howard was our van driver.
Why couldn't the University of Minnesota athletic director consume Dr. Pepper or Mello Yello or some such thing? The World War II generation used booze as an escape mechanism for coping in their post-war (or post-Depression) life. We excused them for that, and for smoking. Weren't GIs offered free cigarettes in the war? Better to get them hooked, I guess (from the cigarette companies' standpoint).
Mike McFeely of KFGO Radio-Fargo has said "maybe it's time we made alcohol illegal." Alcohol is the cause for so much strife. It is being blamed in the current mess at the U that has the athletic director departing under a dark cloud.
I remember when Art Carney filmed a PSA about our attitudes regarding booze. He asked in the PSA: when you offer someone a drink, or are being offered a drink, why is there some sort of expectation that alcohol is included? I'm paraphrasing. "When you think of a drink," Carney continued, "why not assume the non-alcohol options are included. Soft drinks? Water?"
I suspect that today's young people are receptive to the Carney pitch, more so than my generation.
The U of M is in a defensive stance now. This is after the revelation that Norwood Teague is an unsavory, filthy boor, and disingenuous too. He submitted a formal statement that I'll theorize was written by a lawyer. He said he took responsibility for his actions. But in the next breath he suggested he wasn't really responsible, rather it was the demon rum inside him. Well, which is it?
I'm sure the women who were affected by this are enraged by Teague's assertion that the inappropriate behavior "doesn't reflect his true character." So, he wasn't consciously aware of what he was doing? What a convenient excuse. And now he's going to seek treatment? Does that mean he's an alcoholic? He says he has "alcohol issues." With that broad brush he laid his problems at the doorstep of demon rum.
U of M President Eric Kaler was even worse, so bad I actually hate quoting him here. The Man from Stony Brook suggested the problem was that Teague was "overserved" at a University-sponsored event. If it was a University-sponsored event, why did alcohol even need to be served? Why not Dr. Pepper instead? Just think how much trouble this would have saved our august University of Minnesota.
But if Teague's boorish behavior wasn't a one-time incident, the excrement would have eventually hit the fan anyway, right? Oh, but if this was an ongoing problem for this reckless Mr. Teague, shouldn't other U administrators have been aware? Was it their responsibility to be aware? Aren't these people all paid a fortune? Is the U of M devolving into some sort of charade, a charade in which, on another front, the regents feel they need to address how students get consent for sex (with the proposed "affirmative consent" policy)?
Teague's big thing was to raise money for the athletic village, an idea that sort of strikes me as Sodom and Gomorrah-like. Athletes needn't be so high up on a pedestal. The University doesn't stand for this.
The University should be making preparations for the day when football is discontinued, based on the terrible physical toll taken on participants. Instead we have Jerry Kill behaving like royalty, with inadequate justification for it. The U has fallen for this athletic "arms race" among Division I schools. We rig the non-conference schedule so we get four automatic wins. How satisfying is that?
Money becomes like water out of a faucet. The numbers get staggeringly higher. And for what end? Glorification of the U? Sports teams don't command our attention like they once did, due to diversification of the media - competition for eyeballs. What the U is doing might be considered harmless, or maybe a curiosity, but the U hired someone (Teague) unable to show the most basic respectful judgment in his behavior at a U function.
It's too convenient for him to hide behind the veil of alcohol. We have seen other public figures do the same thing through the years: call an immediate press conference and say they have a problem with alcohol. Teague was paid a fortune to at least be a custodian of the U's interests. It was a low bar. And Kaler uses the term "overserved."
Here's a suggestion: stop giving money to the U of M immediately.
And maybe Dean Johnson could get some advice from the Minnesota Supreme Court.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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