Sun 30 Nov 2014
To most SoCalians, nothing at all. And for me as that rare and weird combo of being a native Angeleno and a fan of Alabama it’s not so much about what’s wrong anymore as what’s typical of the L.A. Times Sports section.
See, it’s business as usual for its writers and editors to minimize if not entirely ignore the team that happens to be No. 1 in the country right now — even when something occurs like the thrilling victory over its arch-rival Auburn last night in the vaunted Iron Bowl. This failure to report is borne of an institutional disdain for the team that stretches back to the early 1960s and staffer Jim Murray whose columns denouncing the team and its Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant are widely considered instrumental in denying Bama an invitation to play in the 1962 Rose Bowl.
Here’s a fragment from a great post on the subject at SECRant.com:
This brings me to the 1961 regular season. UCLA won the “Athletic Association of Western Universities” title (forerunner to Pac 8)and secured a Rose Bowl berth. Ohio State won the Big 10 title. UCLA-Ohio State Rose Bowl,right ? No. The Ohio State faculty senate, because of financial concerns and some concerns over a “pay for play” scandal with the West coast teams voted not to allow the Buckeyes to travel to Pasadena. Big 10 runner-up Minnesota had played in the Rose the previous year. The Big 10 had a “no repeat” precluding a team from consecutive Rose Bowls.
Enter Alabama, and LSU, for that matter.The Tide and Tigers were SEC co-champs and Alabama was #1 and unbeaten while LSU was #3 and once beaten. The Rose Bowl couldn’t really have a UCLA scrimmage game, so the committee looked to Alabama and LSU focusing mainly on the Tide to come to the Rose. The Tide had already won the National Title, with the polls being awarded before bowls. UCLA-Alabama would work out pretty sweet for the Rose.
When the national sports media got wind of this, it died on the vine. Led by local sports columnist of the Los Angeles Times and syndicated nationally Jim Murray, he and others vehemently opposed a southern team playing in the Rose, going into the litany of racial turmoil and no blacks on SEC teams (Murray hated all things Southern and piled on every time he could including the aftermath of the 1970 Southern Cal-Alabama game). In 1961, think of Jim Murray like Jim Rome,ESPN and Paul Finebaum combined. Murray’s sentiments went nationwide and the Rose dismissed the notion of Alabama,and LSU for that matter.But no where in Murray and his supporters was any addendum to their contempt of Alabama with “oh,by the way,Bryant is a dirty,cheating SOB !” Trust me,it wouldn’t have been overlooked if true.
The Big 10 compromised and allowed Minnesota to return to Pasadena and they beat UCLA, 21-3.
But! Had my Crimson Tide had lost yesterday? Oh well, then the headline would certainly at least have supplanted the news of Jordan Spieth in the upper right of the image. More likely it would have taken the top spot.
Instead they won, coming back from a horribly demoralizing first half to shut-down dominate a charging Tigers team that was threatening to runaway with the game. It was a victory that was thrilling and rejuvenating and one that made the sports world — minus the deaf-mute LA Times — stop and pay deserved respect.