Friday, September 16, 2011

Scholarships and Compensation: The Intercollegiate National Lie

Aside from reminding Americans for the next 15 minutes that history has actual value, Taylor Branch's devastating article, "The Shame of College Sports," finally fully legitimized the discussion of paying college athletes for their performance. It certainly didn't approve the notion by fiat, but simply allowing it to enter the conversation as an equally reasonable proposition was triumph enough.

Prior to its publication, it sometimes it took actual effort to find someone willing to entertain the idea. Proposing that college players take home paychecks usually provoked reactions that ran the gamut from mocking laughter to intense moral outrage. It's hard to explain why. In a country where you can monetize your Twitter feed, exploit your pop-star child, and have people applaud the commodification of virtually anything, college football has nestled in a protective embrace of absurd reverence for amateurism, swaddled in flimsy excuses for innocence.

Surely racial factors play at least a small role. It's no coincidence that Branch used terms like "plantation" and "colony" to describe the NCAA's self-interested paternalism and hegemonic exploitation of poor blacks. There's a reason why Bryan Curtis' look at the SEC required a discussion of football as the Civil War by proxy and why SEC fans root for a conference that comprises most of Dixie with a feverish front-running regionalism. It's not hard to see "Hell no! We shouldn't pay students" as a civilized way of saying, "Hell, no! My ticket and t-shirt money shouldn't go to a bunch of lazy stupid* blacks."

* — That "stupid" bit often seems to drift into the conversation as an unfortunate afterthought that invalidates larger anti-payment arguments from dog-whistle racists. Defending the concept of "student athletes" doesn't really work when one instantly acknowledges the athletes aren't really students to explain the sorts of flawed characters who don't deserve to be rewarded with money.

There's a reason, too, why fans revel in the salacious details of NCAA violations. If defending the spirit of amateurism were really the goal, then the types of goods and services bought with ill-gotten money would be immaterial to that purpose. The principle would be enough. However, learning that a player sold jerseys for tattoos, or wanted to go to a strip club, or bought ugly bling, or needed an abortion for a woman he knocked up — well, that doesn't make a case against violations: that makes a case against the violators. Tacky "urban" purchases and being a 20-year-old babydaddy play best to ugly racial stereotypes and racist judgment. Look at them, those details seem to say, all along you knew they were basically stupid animals, and you were right. White thieves would have bought something tasteful.

Unfortunately for these people, paying college athletes is now a subject on the table, and it's not going to come off. Consequently, what these critics need to do, will do and have already done, is shift their tactics opposing the payment of athletes to convincing everyone else that college athletes are already being paid. This is nothing new; simultaneously adopting two contradictory conclusions has always lain at the heart of disingenuously championing amateurism. Not only is it morally hideous to compensate college athletes and tarnish the pure spiritual heartiness of the turf, they argue, it's also irrelevant, because we're already paying them with scholarships.

It's an approach you can see from message board comments to a Sally Jenkins column in The Washington Post. Jenkins is obviously no racist — and many board commenters aren't either —but both employ the same resolution. After beginning the column with what appears to be an army of straw men in search of a leader, Jenkins confronts the problem of compensation, creates a false equivalency between player value and scholarship value, and everything's settled. Even if there were a problem, the argument goes, it's already been resolved anyway.

Such thinking instantly absolves the status quo of error because its very selfness already contains its own rescue. This kind of thinking perfectly accommodates those resistant to change, regardless of motive, because it allows them to seek correction of a structurally flawed system by applying the system to itself. It's the sort of string of broken tautologies that only an Objectivist would love: "We can fix how A is B by using A is A, because A is A."

That said, concluding that athletes are already satisfactorily compensated merely superimposes the large flaws of the system on three already flawed conditions.

1. "They're getting a free education!"
Feel free to insert here all the jokes you want about how "only someone with a BA in General Studies from a massive state school would see any value in a BA in General Studies from a massive state school." Leaving cynicism and ugly generalities aside, there are multiple reasons to see athletes' degrees as valueless. First, as people who only have BAs can tell you, oftentimes only having a BA won't do you much good in the job market. Worse, with negative expectations of an athlete's intelligence and involvement in earning his own degree, he's just as apt to be hired for being a former athlete as he is for being someone with a BA. If the assumption is that athletes get a free ride and cheat their way through college (and that's a widely held assumption), they will be hired on the basis of what they've earned on the field or court, not what benevolent college administrations have bestowed on them.

Second, for all the talk of rewarding these kids with a free education, there's ample evidence that they're strongly dissuaded from actually taking advantage of it. One can't credibly defend the spirit of amateurism and intellectual exploration when it's an open secret that student athletes are, in order of priority, expected to be athlete-students. Complementing this academic disdain are the other open secrets: that teachers are expected to pad grades; that "tutors" write athletes' papers, and that every opportunity will be taken to bend or break rules to help athletes meet minimum requirements so they can maintain minimal academic attendance and attention.

With coaches threatening to cut them the next semester or next year, with people willing to do work for them, student athletes have little incentive to actually make something of their education and every incentive to avoid it. They'd be stupid not to let the tutors do the work, so they can double down on workouts and playbook study. How, then, do you compensate someone with something they're actively discouraged or implicitly turned away from using, something that may ultimately have little utility without a graduate degree, in a market where their athlete status might be of greater significance in hiring anyway?

2. Scholarships offer an utterly screwheaded conception of market value.
Given that a lot of college football fans seem to skew conservative or at least adopt conservative attitudes of merit and personal achievement, at least within the sports themselves, it's bizarre how willing so many are to create a false equivalency between scholarship value and market value. That misappraisal seems doubly troubling given that there are so many historical examples that illustrate the other side of these poor valuations: career mediocrities given scholarships no different from those given NFL-bound superstars.

The same country that produces a veneration for exploiting one's talents for the absolute top available dollar in this case believes that anywhere from $60,000-$120,000 disbursed over four years is equivalent to an athlete's product and marketing value that could be in the millions per year. The same people who screech that socialized medicine would never work because no doctor would work in a government monopoly that paid them six figures instead of seven simultaneously totally embrace a sports monopoly that regularly under-compensates thousands of workers by orders of magnitude. Not only that, but they believe this is a morally superior system because state-sponsored equal disbursement preserves workers from the tainting hands of capitalism. Go figure. That this arrangement shows no familiarity with a labor theory of value and primarily greatly enriches comfortably seated administrators at the expense of thousands of poor people and minorities is at least politically consistent but no less ugly.

3. Name another scholarship program that will actively destroy people.
First of all, full scholarships can't present an adequate form of compensation when schools already give full academic scholarships to students whose activities will only supplement or improve their education. Say what you will about the value of a full ride as part of the school debate team, but spending hours each day researching current events only buttresses the knowledge of debaters, who tend to pursue public policy degrees. Athletic scholarships, on the other hand, commit students to hours of physical activity that leave them exhausted and distracted and whose knowledge and mastery frequently has no applicable academic value.

All that takes a backseat, however, to the second problem, which is that no academic scholarships actively endanger students via their use. Certainly risk attends any activity, but there is no inherent severe risk to, say, pursuing a specialty in radiology. An aspiring radiology tech doesn't enter school with the knowledge that it is very likely he could leave it permanently sterile or riddled with cancer. Studying history doesn't carry the potential to never walk without pain again, never walk normally again or simply never walk again.

Given our increasing knowledge of how even the most rudimentary football action — the opposing lines colliding after the snap — can cause lifelong brain and orthopedic trauma, resulting in depression, suicide and permanent disability, there is no credible argument for a full scholarship offering athletes adequate compensation. When their fellow students have access to the same level of compensation without the stresses, exhaustion, almost inevitable permanent damage and the ever-present possibility that even a conventional play can paralyze or kill them, full scholarships are neither just nor sufficient.

These three inequalities, of opportunity, earning and health, give the lie to the notion that college athletes are already being paid, but they overlook the larger, compounding problem: that the system itself exacerbates these inequalities. The "scholarships are enough" argument of Jenkins and others relies on a theoretical college environment, where all other things are equal, where conditions are fairly maintained, and the engines of student sports are overseen by the wise, attentive and impartial.

Scholarships alone might work in a system free from exploitation and cheating, but the NCAA has a quarter-century record now of repeated and almost hedonistically gleeful abuse. If the system were wholly rotten or absolutely pristine, it might work, but already the playing field is hopelessly uneven. Students who lack the gall, the savvy, the financial necessity or the naked greed to milk boosters and recruiters for illegal perks now receive less compensation than fellow teammates, potentially irrespective of talent. Students who fail to get recruited by dirty schools, or who don't know how to determine which schools are dirty, functionally earn less than their competitors. A breakout talent at a mediocre-but-honest school will likely never enjoy the shady benefits of mediocre talents at powerhouse programs with proven records of corruption.

Add to this mix the 18 college presidents on NCAA Executive Committee, who have every incentive not to expand their oversight or increase their investigative and regulatory powers. Greater power to investigate means greater power to be investigated, and more powerful disciplinary measures only provide the potential for more powerful disciplinary measures being leveled at them. It's in their best interests to be venal and blind. The easiest analogue is of foxes in the henhouse, but for it to really work, you have to imagine foxes that are not only incompetent but want to supplement that incompetence with willful stupidity. Meanwhile, they and other administrators stand only to lose fantastic amounts of unearned money by vacating the status quo.

Solving the compensation problem in the NCAA by expecting it to clean house and enforce its standards while relying on scholarships alone is an exercise in fatuity and disingenuousness. The current system is unjust in terms of educational priorities, distribution of profits and the increased physical risk to students. Asking it to police itself to run "optimally" enshrines economic injustice as a best outcome. Worse, it relies on fortifying a current structure that, at its most productive, has no interest in effectively regulating itself, whose members have masterfully broken it to their greatest advantage.


  1. You really haven't provided any solution other than "pay the players." Just as you say that someone can't scream about scholarships, I'm not sure you can just waive your hands and say pay the players and the problem goes away. Also, how does paying the players fix any of the aspects of the, admitedly, widespread corruption? If I am giving you 300 dollars a week are you going to turn down another 300? I wouldn't. Last, how do you deal with non-revenue sports? Your article feels like it is directly addressing football and basketball for the most part. These non-revenue sports tend to have a much higher graduation rate and would not likely make the money to cover player salaries. Is the scholarship good enough for these athletes?

  2. Those are all good questions, Mr. Bitterness, and I admit that I don't have answers to them. Off the top of my head, a way to reduce player corruption would be to give them a percentage of jersey or other sales tied to their name and suspend those payments for any violations. That would allow players to invest in their own brand, via on-field performance, while providing absolute reasons not to engage in violations of player conduct rules. This is just spitballing, though, and I'm making it up literally as I'm writing it.

    Really, though, I find the exercise pointless. I don't mean to single you out or make you feel bad, but your questions are of a piece with a very common anti-reform tactic of, "If there's no ready answer, then there is no problem." I don't mean to suggest that you intend this; rather, it's just the easiest argument to proffer if you want to change nothing. In short: "Making stuff different is hard, and it will result in imperfect changes. Therefore, that's proof we should do nothing."

    All change is difficult, and it always produces questions harder than accepting what already is. Doing nothing different is easy. The assumption that we should do nothing difficult and scary is wrong and stupid. Most importantly (and I don't assume you mean to do this), pointing out how a system is broken doesn't lack validity for failing to propose a new viable system.

    Seeing something wrong doesn't put you on the hook for divining a better system. That's not the way criticism works, and it never has been.

  3. @Mr. Bitterness - are you suggesting that volleyball and tennis carry the same risks as football?

    As far as I can tell, he's talking about the revenue generating sports because that's what is lining the pockets of everyone involved except the athletes. These are the athletes that will be paid the moment they use up their 4 years of "amateur" eligibility.

  4. Great piece, I read the Branch article the other day and was surprised and disheartened at the visceral reactionaries in the comments section. Most of them seem to cling to the arguments you address or adopt the tack of Mr. Bitterness, albeit with more righteous anger and/or less attention to the rules of grammar and spelling.

    One thing that I haven't really seen answered by advocates of paying college players, is the claim that college sports lose money. Frankly I'm a little dubious of the idea on the face of it, given the nature of "donations" from boosters and the overall feeling of corruption from the NCAA member universities in general. Those factors, coupled with their willingness to sell advertising space on the bodies of the kids they're already exploiting for unpaid labor, compound my distrust of the rich white men in suits that I already don't trust.

    Anyway, it looks like this guy ( is trying to do some of that work, but I haven't been able to read all of his source material (and I'm not really all that good at the accounting he's talking about). I was just curious as to your thoughts on the strategy of pleading poverty.

  5. How about a trial run?

    Start with the SEC... because that would be hilarious.

  6. The solution is to let 18 year olds get paid for their labor. It happens all the time in soccer in other countries. Yes, corruption and exploitation still exist, but right now the NCAA has grown to preposterous levels.

  7. @ Mobutu -
    I wasn't getting at there aren't any answers so we shouldn't find one. My questions were really aimed at a more solutions oriented discussion. I wanted to hear your opinion on some ofthe answers. The use of players' names to make money is actually the only thing that gets to me. I would easially be able to get behind some sort of program that gives athletes a portion of the money generated from things like jerseys and bobbleheads that use their name and/or likeness. That being said, I do lean toward the "a scholarship is enough" crowd. I personally am still paying off my college loans 6+ years later and wold have loved to have the chance to get all that school paid for. To sound completely heartless about it, if they don't use that scholarship to the world-class academic instution I'm not sure I have much sympathy for them.

    @Perm -
    I'm not sure the safety of the sport is the big issue here. You might be missing the forest in in the trees. Is being a lawyer more dangerous than cleaning septic tanks? Probably not, but the lawyer gets paid a hell of a lot more.

  8. One thing you didn't mention - which I never see mentioned, actually - is the merch. As I understand it, if I were to go and buy an Andrew Luck jersey, I don't think Luck get a cut of that. That alone seems grossly unfair to players. Anyway, I agree with you: with all the money pouring into the NCAA, the players deserve to get something for their troubles.

  9. I think Mr. Bitterness's point is well-taken. Saying "pay the players" is an incomplete solution and it holds no weight without conceptualizing some idea of what any compensation would be. I acknowledge, President Mobutu, that it is likewise an incomplete response to refuse change because and alternate solution doesn't spring, fully formed, from any one person's mind. But proponents of player compensation have to consider at least three issues before advancing any kind of compensation as a solution:
    1. Revenue vs. Non-revenue sports: As you acknowledge, only football and men's basketball generate revenue. Are we willing to create a system wherein ostensibly equal (in terms of educational value) scholarships are awarded for all sports while some athletes receive professional fees and others do not? Are we okay with scholarship basketball palyers earning sometihing and scholarship swimmers earning nothing at all? Perhaps you are, but the answer should be considered in light of the fact that the difference would be significant because of the second issue, which is
    2. The amount of compensation: Two arguments advanced in favor of paying players are the existence of corruption in the current system and the inequity of players being denied a share of the revenue they generate. But the revenue is so great that any proportional distribution that would be "fair" would amount to tens of thousands of dollars for some players and perhaps hundreds of thousands for others. Remember that in order to be "fair", any division would have to account for all revenue streams generated by both the school and third parties earning money from the programs (e.g. apparel producers). Omission of any of these streams would raise additional cries of unfairness. The per-player compensation would have to be high because any smaller amount would leave the system open to corruption in the same way as the current system (as in Mr Bitterness' $300 situation). Any honest compensation proponent has to be comfortable with "college" players potentially earning that much money in addition to their scholarship which does have some value, regardless of how much be overstated by schools. Of course, most players would not earn nearly so much because of the third issue which is
    3. Large vs. Small Schools: The conversation about compensation has focused primarily on large FBS schools. This is the case because those are they only schools whose athletic departments (or even their "money sports") generate a profit. There are 120 FBS schools, and 124 FCS schools. Supposedly (and I have no datea to refute it) the majority of those lose money on their "money sports". Even the FBS schools outside the major conferences (or maybe even two or three conferences) would have no hope of attracting players. Any proponent has to be okay with that. The competitive issue could be addressed with a "salary cap" of sorts . . . which would be subject to corruption and circumvented by boosters like the current system.

    So what's the solution? In my opinion, it's to destroy collegiate athletics. Seriuosly. I love college football and basketball but what is being proposed is, in effect, minor professional sports leagues. The NFL and NBA have coasted by using the NCAA as a de facto free farm system. Collegiate hockey and baseball have have no (or much fewer) such issues for obvious reasons. To propose the introduction of an equitable, incorrupt compensation structure for football and men's basketball is tantamount to proposing the elimination of those sports at the collegiate level. And maybe that's fine, but it should be acknowledged.

  10. The real issue is that college football is a subsidized minor league system for the NFL. In a perfect world I would make the NFL create a developmental league for players that chose to get paid and pursue the NFL instead of going to college. Model it after baseball which has a functional developmental system that also leaves the amateurism in college sports intact.
    Of course, there's too much money in the system as it is right now to ever have that type of reform, but it's worth pondering.

  11. Good stuff, Mobutu. One thing that I've heard (granted, it was from Matthew McConnaughey, so treat it as such) that was alluded to by the 1st commenter, was the possible repercussions of Title IX if male athletes start getting paid. The theory goes that, if the football and basketball players are paid, you'd have to do the same for the female athletes, and it would bankrupt the schools. I'm no expert, clearly, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

  12. I love the part "they get a free education" argument where no one mentions that athletic scholarships are year-to-year instead of full term. So if you are injured to the point that you can't play anymore, of if your team gets a new coach and you don't fit in with his new schemes, you can completely lose your school funding.

  13. @bumgilseo,
    You said exactly what I was going to say, albeit with a different set of words in a slightly different order. I don't know how many times I've been talking to someone, and I make my argument for paying the players and/or forcing the NFL to set up a legitimate developmental league, and the response is "but that would destroy college football!" Yeah, well, that's not an argument. In fact, if people didn't like watching the games so much, most of the problems wouldn't even exist.

    Anyway, while I'm at it, this is one of the best things I've read in a long time:

    "Not only that, but they believe this is a morally superior system because state-sponsored equal disbursement preserves workers from the tainting hands of capitalism. Go figure. That this arrangement shows no familiarity with a labor theory of value and primarily greatly enriches comfortably seated administrators at the expense of thousands of poor people and minorities is at least politically consistent but no less ugly."

  14. You’re ignoring so many issues here. One is that college athletics is not as profitable as you assume. In 2010, the Office of Postsecondary Education of the DOE released comprehensive statistics on costs and revenues in college sports for every institution of higher education in the US. They found that the vast majority of the schools are operating sports at loss (the exceptions are a handful of SEC schools under the new ESPN contract, but even these schools buried many expenses in other parts of the university’s budget not reported to the OPE, meaning that even they are less profitable than they appear in the report). Pay the players? With what money?

    Two, you look only at big-time sports and ignore the rest of college athletics. Any plan for paying the players will have to confront the massive differences in profitability among different sports. Do you pay every player of every sport (football, baseball, women’s lacrosse, water polo) the same thing, or do you attach payments to the profitability of the sport?

    The former solution would put our already bankrupt state university systems even more deeply in the red, and lead to rising tuition and cuts elsewhere. Since most athletic departments are running at a loss, the only way to accomplish universal payments would be to take money from the profitable SEC football programs and distribute it across the NCAA. But so few athletic departments are profitable that players would see very little money. College football made about a billion dollars last year. There are over 400,000 NCAA athletes. Works out to about $160/month per player.

    The latter solution (attaching payment to profitability) would mean that only players at a select few programs would get paid. This would lead to massive recruiting advantages for the teams that can pay players. These recruiting advantages would further erode parity in the big-profit sports and actually endanger the very TV contracts that make the schools’ profitable in the first place. Of course, there is little parity today, but attaching payment to profitability would create a permanently institutionalized royalty and freeze the sport in its current hierarchy. I don’t think people would tune in to watch Duke and Kentucky play each other for the championship every single year over and over. Eventually the TV contracts would lose value without new storylines.

    You make yourself look stupid when you claim that people who oppose pay-for-play are racist. It is a complex issue. There are valid arguments to support either side. The fact that you don’t even mention the DOE data (exhibit A for any debate about this issue) makes me think you actually don’t care about this issue. You just write about it because it allows you to strike a critical, anti-establishment pose without really devoting any thought to anything. You’re sticking up for the players and protecting them from the racist rednecks who watch the SEC! Actually you have little of substance to say about this and you haven’t even bothered to think about the practical side of it.

  15. @Mr. Bitterness--
    Did you not read the piece? You act as though the athletes are just lazy and unwilling to take advantage of the education offered to them, and ignore the obstacles erected to them taking advantage of it, and the incentives to NOT "take advantage" of it. Not to mention that you completely ignore the labor theory of value argument.

    To sound completely heartless about it, maybe if you were smarter, you wouldn't have had to pay for college.

    In addition, safety of the sport absolutely IS an issue here. The kids involved risk lifelong disability on just about every play. Right now, they have absolutely no way to support themselves should they become incapacitated and no way to recover any of the value they've supplied to the universities.

  16. The other part of that response, Mr. Bitterness, isn't even really worth considering, and you already know why. You're drawing a false equivalency between lawyering and septic tank cleaning, and ignoring the years of schooling required by and limited talent pool available to the former. I'm starting to think Mobutu treated you a little too softly simply because you spelled most of the words in your response correctly and didn't swear.

  17. @Rig: Try not to alienate all the new readers, homie.

    Anonymous said...
    You’re ignoring so many issues here.

    Yes, there's a reason for that. I'm sorry that this piece doesn't provide a comprehensive reply to the problems compensation poses, but that's not its point. I was looking at what seems to be a common reply to Branch's piece, that the players are already adequately compensated with scholarships. All I'm attempting to do here is explain why that argument is a specious response to a problem and that academic scholarships don't present either fair or equitable compensation. I didn't outline a full, functional compensation structure for a different intercollegiate sports system because that's not the point. The lack of an an outlined alternative system does not, however, invalidate existing problems or disappear its fundamental inequities. As reader bumgilseo said when raising your objections more fully and more civilly (emphasis added), "Saying 'pay the players' is an incomplete solution and it holds no weight without conceptualizing some idea of what any compensation would be. I acknowledge, President Mobutu, that it is likewise an incomplete response to refuse change because [an] alternate solution doesn't spring, fully formed, from any one person's mind."

    Lastly, you are welcome to say that I "look stupid when [I] claim that people who oppose pay-for-play are racist," as indeed I would be, if that is what I claimed. (Instead of what I did say, which is that racial factors surely play a small role.) I'm sure many people oppose it out of strong moral principle, belief in that old Greco-Roman harmony of mind and body in education, resentment at the further commodification of American life or just because they either fear or hate change.

    There are surely numerous rational bases on which people oppose it. That said, as the response of millions of people to our current president shows, racism is alive and well in America; it's even enshrined in electoral political policy (Google "The Southern Strategy" or, hell, just "Lee Atwater" paired with the word "nigger"), and it's absurd to think that it doesn't play a role in shaping opinions on compensation for a labor pool that (as of 2010, in Division I) is majority black.

  18. @ Mr. Bitterness
    You act like you and a high profile athlete like Jimmer Fredette or Cam Newton are the same, but last I checked, people didn't buy tickets to see you or buy your jersey. They are perpetual profit for the school (Michigan and Auburn STILL make $ off retro Charles Woodson and Bo Jackson jerseys from your local sports shop). You and I are just numbers, replaceable with the next person on the list, however the supply of star athletes is extremely limited. Supply and demand.

    Assuming all these schools are losing money then I think paying millions for coaches and ADs is far more of an issue than paying hundreds, even thousands, to the players.

    I guess call me Anonymous2 to differentiate.

  19. @Mobutu: I don't think you can prove that he's a reader in the most literal sense, but fine. Nazi.

    And you didn't answer my question which Anonymous sort of touched on while being a real asshole. However, I love this fucking passage which he just sort of tossed out there without comment:

    "even these schools buried many expenses in other parts of the university’s budget not reported to the OPE, meaning that even they are less profitable than they appear in the report"

    The obvious question being, of course "what about unreported income?" The implication being, there isn't any.


  20. Acknowledging the fact that both the age limits that the NBA and NFL have in place are bullshit and that it forces the best high school athletes in football and men's basketball to go to college to showcase their talents is the problem of compensation not in some way covered by the fact that college sports provide the platform for these players to showcase their talents? The NCAA is certainly the easiest path to the NFL and the NBA and at least for football players there are no other options out there.

    Of course as all the NCAA commercials during March Madness have told me, not all the college athletes will go pro but for these players they at least are granted their shot at showcasing their talents or they must accept that they won't be going pro and thus must accept the scholarship they receive as adequate compensation.

    This does not completely cover the issues. Not even close. And the creation of minor leagues as has been suggested by others in these comments is a much better solution than the monopoly that NCAA schools currently have over the opportunity to showcase these student athletes for the pro leagues (because it really is a two way street) but I still felt it deserved mentioning.


Et tu, Mr. Destructo? is a politics, sports and media blog whose purpose is to tell jokes or be really right about things. All of us have real jobs and don't need the hassle that telling jokes here might occasion, which is why some contributors find it more tasteful to pretend to be dead mass murderers.