Phil Caldwell

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Oregon Ducks 2010 Football Team Lunch for 1991-92 Washington Huskies?

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19 Oct 1991: Defensive tackle Steve Emtman of the Washington Huskies tries to break through the line during a game against the California Bears at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California. Washington won the game 24-17.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Yesterday, two nimrod ESPN announcers with bad haircuts and worse suits debated whether the 2010 Oregon Ducks Football team could have beaten the best defensive team to ever walk on the field, the 1991 Washington Huskies.

Once every Husky fan across Washington picked himself off the floor after a dozen minutes of side-splitting laughter, we fans yearned for that famed team that knocked off No. 9 Nebraska and No. 7 California on their way to total college football domination in every way possible before routing No. 4 Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

These two TV twirps claimed, “it would be a close game,” because “Oregon is the best offensive powerhouse we’ve ever seen.” Quite an ironic claim, given that this is the same argument they were trying to make before the Ducks barely limped by California last month.

You remember that game right? The one where Oregon waddled past an unimpressive 5-4 Golden Bear team by a mere two points.  And that required a stutter-step miscue by California kicker Giorgio Tavecchio in the fourth quarter to erase what would have been the go-ahead field goal.

The absurdity of such a suggestion is blasphemy deserving of torture and stake-burning. The Ducks are hardly qualified to clean the jocks of Steve Entman and company, let alone last four quarters on a football field against them.

And the arrogance of these pip-squeaks! To think a newly arrived Duck team could ever compare to the storied history of the Huskies is enough to give even the most apathetic Washington fan stomach cramps, especially since the Ducks have written some of the worst football history ever known to mankind!

1782104_crop_340x234Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Let’s have a look, shall we?

Wikipedia says this about that Husky team (learned only after several hostile pop-ups by Wikimedia Executive Director Sue Gardner trying to leverage cash donations):

“The  Washington Huskies football team have won 15  Pacific-10 ConferenceChampionships, seven  Rose Bowl Titles and four National Championships. Washington’s all-time record of 653-398-50 ranks 20th in all-time winning percentage and 21st in all-time victories.

“The team also has two of the nation’s  longest winning streaks and holds the Division I-FBS unbeaten record at 63 consecutive games.”

OK, now let’s compare this to Oregon Duck history.

Hey what’s this?  I see that the Oregon Ducks began their stellar tradition of running up football scores against weaker teams back in 1910, when Chip Kelly’s great-great grandfather, Benito Kelly, ordered a hurry-up offense with a scant 108-point lead late in the fourth quarter against the University of Puget Sound to win 115-0.

Kelly claimed it wasn’t his fault because the 1910 BCS would have punished his team in the final poll.

According to cash-strapped Wikipedia, the Oregon Ducks have won six  Pacific-10 Conference Championships (counting this year’s), one single  Rose Bowl (during the first world war era) and zero National Championships. Oregon’s all-time record of 585-474-47 ranks so far down that there is no overall ranking.

258874_crop_340x234Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Ironically however, the all-yellow uniforms the Ducks wore in 2009 are rated the number one cause of all eye problems in 2010.

Suppose it’s for those reasons that Oregon and the rest of the sissy Pac-10 conference were all happy when the Huskies stumbled to 0-12 under Stanford coach Tyrone Willingham a couple years ago?  Finally revenge for the oft-slaughtered and maimed Pac-10 speed bumps.

All told and put into proper perspective, it means the 2010 version of the Oregon Ducks is like a sensitive men’s figure skating team wearing pink leotards, in comparison to the 1991 Huskies. The Ducks aren’t worthy of cleaning the ’91 Husky toilets with tooth brushes.

ESPN ran a survey a decade ago in which readers rated that particular Husky team as the third-best ever in college football, behind only the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers and the 1994 Penn State squad.

Most die-hard Husky homers would probably admit, however, that the early 1970’s USC teams could have given any college team fits, as well as some of the mid-century Notre Dame teams.

But the Ducks?

Well I’m sorry, but if LaMichael James tried one of his finesse tip-toe sally runs up the middle against Steve Emtman and two-time All-American Dave Hoffman, he likely would be picking his head out of the 15th row end stands mixed with chips and corn nuts.

POLL: Which team would win?

  • 1991-92 Washington Huskies

  • 2010-11 Oregon Ducks


Total votes: 761

If you remember, nobody ran up the middle against Steve Emtman and the 1991 Huskies.  Oh sure, there were those fools who tried, like Michigan’s QB Elvis Grbac in the 1992 Rose Bowl or Arizona’s George Malauulu to start the 1991 game, but few tried that more than a couple times.  None were so foolish.

Perhaps because Emtman and Hoffman were the anchors of a UW defense that allowed just 67.1 rushing yards and 9.2 points per game, both numbers among the best in NCAA history?

Emtman was just the ninth collegiate player ever to win both the Outland and Lombardi Trophies in the same year, and was the fourth-place finisher in voting for the 1991 Heisman Trophy before becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

And it wasn’t only the opposition that got under Steve Emtman’s skin. In 1991, Sports Illustrated ran a story describing how Emtman had no problem getting in the face of his teammates if they didn’t perform up to then-Husky standards, in both games and every day practices.

In fact, 76,304 Nebraska fans, who certainly had seen their share of national championship appearances in the 1980’s and 90’s, gave that same 1991 UW team a standing ovation as the Huskies exited the field following their landmark come-from-behind road win in Lincoln over the then-No. 9 ranked Cornhuskers.

The same Cornhuskers who the previous year had the nation’s number one rated offense!

258948_crop_340x234Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The 1991 Washington football team led the Pac-10 in total offense, rushing offense and scoring offense.

Even after Rose Bowl MVP Mark Brunell missed the first two-thirds of the season with a broken knee suffered during spring practices, the Huskies rolled.

And there was sensational receiver Orlando McKay, running back Beno Bryant, future NFL all-pro Lincoln Kennedy, middle guard D’Marco Farr, bruising linebacker Chico Fraley, future NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Dana Hall, Darius Turner, Mario Bailey, Donald Jones and too many other stars to mention.

It was simply a great team whose time had come, and although that team never had a shot at co-champ wuss Miami, few in Huskyville doubt what the outcome would have been.

Nor do they doubt what would happen to the 2010 Oregon Duck offense’s prowess if they faced a defense as stout as the 1991 Washington Huskies.

So Oregon, our Husky hats are off to your so-far undefeated team heading into the BCS National championship, but let’s keep things in perspective shall we?

The 1991 Husky team would be spitting out your feathers in two quarters. I’m sorry. Don’t shoot the messenger here. That’s just the way it is.

So yes ESPN, there actually is a huge difference between the 1991 Washington Huskies and the 2010 Oregon Ducks.

The Huskies were a much better team.


Oregon Football: The College World Despises Ducks Fans, but Why?

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During this time of the college football offseason when teams have long since wrapped things up, the bored faithful tend to get restless.  On Feb. 2, fans watched excitedly as new football recruits signed on with their new teams.

We all got all worked up about it; threads were humming with rhetoric and debauchery about which school was getting which recruit.

And yet, four years later, the college football recruiting rankings on and rarely resemble the final BCS polls.  So how important are they?

Now this week comes news that a crazed 62-year-old Alabama fan, poisoned the tradition-packed 132-year-old oak trees on the Auburn campus known as Toomer’s Corner.

The proud fan then called a local radio show hosted by Paul Finebaum to pop off about it, identified later after police promptly arrested the nitwit, as one Harvey Almorn Updyke Jr.

Alabama folks will quickly point out that there is some doubt as to whether this guy ever attended their university in the first place. Many claim he’s an uneducated high-school drop-out who just glommed onto the program as most of the worst fans of programs do.

Nevertheless, on the radio he bragged up his despicable act, and claimed it was in retaliation for Auburn fans toilet-papering the same trees in celebration when famed Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant passed on.  Auburn fans often toilet paper these trees for celebration, as they have for some  eleven decades.

Auburn fans deny the Bryant rumor ever happened, while Alabama fans insist it did, and each fanbase is bitter because of it.  Both claim the opposing fans are the most obnoxious in America.

This is where the Pac-10 comes in.

Speaking as a UW Husky alum who has had to tolerate the adolescent habits of Oregon Duck fans for three decades, I would have to contest that last point.

Yes certainly there may be some mentally-challenged individuals in the SEC who do stupid things like this, but are the fans in that conference anywhere as raw than our pals down in the tractor-lot-infested middle of I-5 Oregon?

I think not, and apparently many other fans of Pac-10 schools agree with me.

Evidence?  On the next page is a fan poll that was presented to each school in the Pac-10 this past year, asking  who they rated as the most derelict in the league?  Guess who won?



Poll Showing How Pac-10 Fans Rate Those From Rival Schools In The Conference


Pac-10 fans were asked point blank: Which school has the most boorish, unsophisticated and classless boobs rooting for their team? 

Not surprisingly to anyone outside of Oregon, the color-challenged Ducks won in a landslide, with 38.10 percent of across-the-board Pac-10 fan vote. It dwarfed the next-closest team, the California Golden Bears, who finished a distant second with 16.67 percent of the vote.

Nor is this the only poll.  Sports Illustrated also ran a poll with roughly the same results during the same year of 2009 (see below)

As a humble and cheerful Washington Husky fan, I wondered why?  Why do most in the Pac-10 think the Ducks are a bit light in the brain department when it comes to what they say and how they act towards other fans at football and basketball games?

Oh sure there are the numerous reader comments that have littered my own articles for years, with Oregon fans screaming profanities and threatening my family.  I’ve always assumed those were the nutty exceptions. But after seeing this poll, now I’m not so certain.

Surely the rest of the Duck faithful cannot be as vocally deficient as those commenting on my articles?  Or could they?

Then as I researched the topic for this article, I began to learn I may be giving Oregon Duck fans way too much credit. I could hardly believe what I was finding, and there’s so much of it!

The following is the tip of the iceberg. Attached are eight exposés of quotes from others about why they can’t stand the Oregon Duck athletic program and their fans.

I wrote very little of this material.  Instead, I merely pulled up quotes off of fan forums and various articles from web sites, and am re-posted them without edits for us all to enjoy.

Turns out the team that is desperate to be accepted that they go to extremes in dressing themselves, like donning fluorescent knee socks against Auburn last month, and wearing dozens of goofy $600 designer helmets, is vivaciously disliked by a great many.

Here are some of the reasons!


Link to Sports Illustrated poll:



8. Mar. 18, 2004: Storming the Court after 1st-Round Victory in NIT Tourney


I’m not sure why this particular basketball game got so many people riled up, but there was a first-round game back in 2004 in the NIT basketball tournament between Oregon and Colorado.

Long before Oregon had accomplished much in football, Duck fans apparently stormed the court after the game and were mouthing off about their huge victory.  In the NIT tourney that doesn’t exactly garner the eyes of multitudes.

While a great many are still laughing about it seven years later, for others, that single act was a felonious display of low class that still has not been forgiven. Especially by new Pac-12 member Colorado Buffalo fans, who are still whining and whimpering.

Check out these comments from some who witnessed this spectacle:

“The one tournament no one cares about.  What’s so significant about a first round NIT victory?  Boy, these Oregon fans have to be among the WORST in the country.  Storming the court after a victory over Colorado?  Pathetic. Oregon fans SUCK!”

Or this one:

“You have shown yourself to be just another bitter Buffalo fan. If you don’t like the fact the Duck students come out on to the court after games fine. Don’t watch us. Of course that will severely limit the amount of Duck basketball games you will be watching for the rest of this season because this is what we do at Oregon.”

If that bugged Colorado fans, you may be near suicidal after a few seasons showing up in Eugene for various sporting events!

What’s interesting about that fan comment is the claim this is an Oregon tradition. I don’t remember them doing this after losing to UW time and again.

But whatever. No big deal, right? Fans upset over losing a tourney? So what. Oregon fans did what most college fans periodically do. How is that so bad?

Keep reading.



7. Mouthing Off about Too Few Accomplishments

BOISE, ID - SEPTEMBER 3: Safety T.J Ward #2 of the Oregon Ducks  tackles tight end Kyle Efaw #80 of the Boise State Broncos in the second quarter of the game on September 3, 2009 at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won the game 19-8. (Photo by
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Even though Auburn won the championship game last month, apparently some of the Tigers faithful were downright ticked off at Oregon fans and their antics during the buildup.

Many scorching fan comments absolutely ripped Oregon fans for whatever it was they were doing.  But none so effectively as Bleacher Report’s own Kevin Strickland, who shared a number of observations about the Duck fans in a rather humorous way.  Allow me to quote him:

“To the decrepit Oregon fan at the sidewalk café who kept trying to trip Auburn patrons with his cane?  People saw you. You and a flock of others like you are the reason many Auburn fans left Arizona determined to cheer for Beavers, Trees, Huskies and Bruins against your team in the future.”

“People like you are why many of us will put aside our regional differences and support a Bayou beatdown when LSU travels to Uncle Phil’s Camp for Day Glo Children to open next season. 

Here’s a hint to Oregon fans.  When your team has a signature win under its belt (and we’re not talking just this season, we’re talking historically); when your team isn’t staring at a 2-7 bowl record over the last nine seasons with the only wins coming in the Holiday Bowl and Sun Bowl; when you’ve beaten a handful of top 25 teams in the same season, then maybe you can run non-stop smack. Until then, perhaps you could tone it down a little.”

Now what is amazing about Strickland’s observations, is how quickly Auburn fans picked up the same vibe that the rest of us have complained about for decades, when it comes to our feathered friends from down south.

Strickland, obviously still hacked off, then went on to add:

“To the Oregon fans who tried to explain the great fan atmosphere at Oregon games, were you aware you were cooking on a Foreman Grill?  In the south, gameday grills are the size of your Prius.  Burgers aren’t made of carrots and beans.  Animals have to die in order to make a real burger.

“To the Oregon fans who boasted about consecutive sellouts of their home games, do you know what you call 55,000 people at an SEC stadium?  A spring game.”

Meanwhile when it comes to Oregon fans, so ok, so they do uncool things while on the road.  We all knew that. What about general sportsmanship while teams compete?  Next slide please …..


6. Cheering When Players From Opponents Suffer Serious Injuries

BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Brock Mansion #10 of the California Golden Bears in action against the Oregon Ducks at California Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

As Oregon played the California Golden Bears this past year in football, the Bears used a rather interesting tactic for defense to slow down the huddle-less Ducks offense.

When they were caught in a defensive scheme with the wrong personnel on the field, suddenly a Cal player, usually a defensive lineman, would fall without warning to the ground in an act of pain that would have made the Hollywood Screen Actors Guild proud.

Well Oregon fans were so ticked off about this that were urping up their dinners and throwing empty “Mickies’s Big Mouth” bottles at anything that moved.  Perhaps infuriated because their 15-13 win over California hardly justified claims they’d been making the previous week, about the Ducks having “the best offense in college football history.”

The rest of the Pac-10 would have still been rolling our eyes over that one, but then that bare squeeker win made it particularly delicious!

Well Oregon papers were hacked off! The Oregonian’s John Hunt wrote, “He confirms what we were showing you an Saturday night, that the California Gold Bears faked injuries!!” 

Hunt, an obvious Duck devotee, went on to write, “A source within the Bears football program confirmed that this was indeed ‘a big part’ of the defensive game plan, although not all Cal coaches were on board with this strategy.”

(All of this was from “unidentified sources.”)

And then to really drive the anger point home, he added, “Tedford deserves to have someone back-stab him like this. While faking injuries may not be illegal it certainly is classless.  No wonder why Tedford can’t win a big game. 

“It also sends a message to your players that they are not good enough to beat Oregon.  With that little trust in your players, it’s no wonder why Tedford can’t win a big game.  At least he’s at Cal where he can just call out his freshman backup quarterback or his kicker every time he loses a big game.”

But it wasn’t the only time Oregon was insecure about this topic.  Following the Arizona game were comments like this flowing from fan forums:

“Yah you would be booing too when a team actually admitted to faking injuries.  Not saying Arizona did but it was kind of fishy when those 3 players who were injured came back in a few plays later perfectly fine. 

It always seemed when the Ducks offense was gaining rhythm too.  Anyway I just find it funny that you guys are so mad that Oregon just won’t lose so you find anything you can to bash them.  Your favorite team has “those” fans too and you know it.”

Ah yes, consoling words by those lovable folks at Oregon, if not a bit hypocritical.  Said someone else about Oregon:

“Yes every team has ‘those fans,’ but the entire stadium chants profanity and cheers when opponent players get injured at Autzen…and if you think that’s normal behavior anywhere else in the nation you’re delusional.”

5. Jan. 2008: Racist Profanities Hurled During Arizona-Oregon Basketball Game

EUGENE, OR - MARCH 8:  Nic Wise #13 of the Arizona Wildcats lays up the ball agianst Maarty Leunen #10 of the Oregon Ducks at MacArthur Court March 8, 2008 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Wrote John Wilner on Jan. 30, 2008, in the Bay Area College Hotline:

“No longtime Pac-10 watchers—at least nobody I know—was the slightest bit surprised about the way some Oregon students treated UCLA freshman Kevin Love last weekend.

“They held offensive signs and showered Love with insults, some of them reportedly homophobic, that went far beyond ‘it’s part of the game’ classification.

“This was hardly the first time the students have behaved like jack—–.  It’s not all of them; it’s probably only a few; but it has happened repeatedly over the years.  As one Oregon official said: “It’s an ongoing thing to get our students to behave properly.”

“In the mid-90s, fans sitting close to the court yelled the “N-word” at Arizona guard Damon Stoudamire.  (I was there, I heard it, Stoudamire heard it, he talked about it, and I wrote about it.)

“A few years later, several UCLA players complained about the same six-letter word.

“It seems the nasty faction of Duck students saves their nastiest stuff for Oregon natives (Stoudamire is from Portland, Love from Lake Oswego). Maybe they’re upset the players did not sign with the Ducks.

“Anyhow, Oregon athletic director Pat Kilkenny apologized to UCLA and left messages for Bruins Coach Ben Howland and for Love’s father, Stan, who played for Oregon.

“A nice and proper gesture, for sure. But it won’t stop the abusive fan (ie: student) behavior in Eugene, which, like I said, has been going on for years and years.”

4. Jan. 13, 2006: Phil Knight Cutting Off Track Funds


Nor does is tend to be confined to only one sport.  This from ESPN’s Mike Fish on Jan. 13, 2006, who suggested that Phil Knight might be the best owner in college sports:

“Here’s a tip: If you’re cashing paychecks from the University of Oregon, treat Phil Knight with unabashed love; even genuflect at his Nikes if the occasion calls for it.

“Just don’t tick him off or, heaven forbid, fall shy of grandiose designs for his beloved alma mater—lest you might end up following Martin Smith down Interstate 5.

“Suspiciously, the longtime track coach resigned a day before the Ducks’ season-opening meet this past March, leaving with three years on his contract.

“The $500,000 buyout he reportedly walked away with makes it sound more like a firing. If so, his testy relationship with the Nike co-founder didn’t help.

“Nor did the almost sacrilegious idea that Smith, a prickly character who refused to seek input from Knight or former Oregon distance running star Alberto Salazar, delivered a successful program around a core of hurdlers, jumpers and throwers—not seasoned distance runners like those who’d given legs to Oregon’s storied track tradition and birthed a sneaker giant.

“So, in the showdown leading up to the coach’s exit and eventual shuffle to the University of Oklahoma, Knight cut off his financial support to the track squad. The identical don’t-cross-me tactic Knight deployed after president Dave Frohnmayer earlier aligned the university with the Worker Rights Consortium, a group critical of Nike’s labor practices.

“‘The bonds of trust,’ Knight said, ‘have been shredded.’ Eventually, the university reversed course and Knight turned the financial tap back on.

“‘That was the worst moment, by far,’ recalls Frohnmayer, still apologizing for the decision he made five years ago. ‘It was terrible for him.’

Some of us had the misfortune of watching Mr Knight spend a half-hour patting himself on the back when the new Oregon arena opened.  Others have written that Knight was instrumental in the last football coach firing, and routinely dicates game decisions in football games.

The truth?  Who knows.  But clearly this is a relationship unlike any other in college football!


3. Comments Made to Opposing Fans after an Oregon Duck Victory

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 31: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans throws a pass in the second quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on October 31, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon defeated USC 47-20. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Gett
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

How about if I just let a website called “The Displaced Trojan” do the talking on this topic, although Lord knows we Husky fans know what this guy is saying first hand.  Here’s what he said:

“The Ducks football team has enjoyed some success at the national level recently, they’ve got the best owner in college sports, they train in state-of-the-art facilities, they wear the worst uniforms of all time…but they will always play second fiddle to USC.

“We know it.  They know it.  And this leads to hate.

“I know this because I’ve experienced this hate in person.  Back in 1999, I was at a USC game in Eugene, Oregon, when we lost in triple overtime after Carson Palmer broke his collarbone just before halftime.

“After the game, instead of exchanging pleasantries—like most fans with class and an appreciation for an exciting game, nearly every Oregon fan we came across heading out of the stadium (and there were a lot of them) had something ugly to say. 

“‘Go home you f””kin loser!’ or ‘I bet it feels like sh*t to be wearing that USC jacket about now, huh.’ 

“I’ll spare you the various versions of ‘USC Sucks!’ and the sophomoric condom lines, but needless to say there wasn’t a lot of class and sportsmanship in Eugene that night.  I’m sure there are a few Duck fans who may justifiably take exception to this, but in my experience, Oregon has the most vulgar, low-rent fans in the Pac-10…And that’s saying something with Cal in the conference.”


2. Testimony from Actual Fans

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 6: Wide receiver Josh Huff #4 of the Oregon Ducks jumps into the crowd during the team introductions before the game against the Washington Huskies at Autzen Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks won the game 53-16
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Is it only sports writers that feel this way?  Or is it the general public?  Three stories from fansabout their experience:

“I was about 13 years old and I was with my dad at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. Awesome tournament, I’m getting autographs from Jon Elway, Mike Eruzione, Charles Barkley, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, Chris Webber, Mike Schmit, Jerry Rice.

“It’s a dream come true for a kid that loves collecting sports cards.  So we’re walking around watching some of the golfers and we come across Rick Neuheisel, then the University of Washington head football coach.  Rick was teeing off.

“Now my dad was a huuuuge Ducks fan, thus having a big influence on me and the school I would eventually choose, and he collected every football poster since 1991 until 2005 where I have picked up the tradition. 

“So while us Ducks are routinely included in the ‘Worst Fans In The Pac-10′ discussion, my dad and I quietly wait while Neuheisel tees off between the 15 or so people watching his foursome.  Neuheisel swings and everyone but my dad and I golf claps.

“Who knows why but my dad turns to this elderly guy next to him and quietly says, ‘I’m an Oregon Duck fan and I’ve always thought this guy (Neuheisel) was an a**hole.’

“The guy turns to my dad, pauses, and says bitterly, ‘Oh ya?  Well I’m his dad and I think you’re an a**hole!’

“Ackward to the fullest.  Neuheisel ended up being a nice guy and actually apologizing personally to my dad at a big dinner later, but even despite all of this I’m still a big hater of his.”

Not like this was necessarily unique however.  Here’s another fan story:

“My wife and friends and I travel to at least one away game per year, but we have decided to stop going to Eugene.  The people there really are different than at any other venue.  They wear their rudeness on their sleeves like a badge of honor, and will cuss you out (and challenge you to a brawl), not caring if there are kids around or anything.

“Meanwhile, if you go to Pullman, Tempe, Palo Alto, etc, strangers will invite you into their tailgate parties for a beer and treat you like on of their own.”

And said another fan:

“I grew up in WA and live in Oregon now, and I have to say the Duck fans are the worst I’ve encountered…friends in the marching bands of OSU, Stanford, and UW have all mentioned appalling treatment by duck fans in Eugene (things getting thrown at them, getting cursed at, having to take security measures walking around Eugene, etc).  While I do have friends who are diehard Ducks fans, by and large their fan base is just obnoxious.”


1. Lastly, What Ducks Fans Have Written to Me


And lastly, let me just share my own experience here on Bleacher Report.  In an article I wrote about uniform expenses and the potential advantages for recruiting that alumni money can have on a program, here’s what I was hearing from Oregon fans in response.

And keep in mind, this is only one of about 50 or more similar comments, and the guy writing this tripe was not a young guy.  His photo (before he mysteriously pulled it) showed a guy in his late 50’s/early 60’s!

One Randal Fitzhugh, apparently a diehard Oregon fan, was miffed that I would dare write about his beloved Ducks or suggest the whole thing with Phil Knight was getting a bit weird.  Here’s what he wrote:

“Your writing is totally despicable and you’re an obnoxious whiner and let’s see what else…a pretentious ass.  Your claims are blatantly self serving.  You pretend you’re bringing some value to the sports world with your commentary, but you get off on your little power trip…?  Man, you are so pathetic words can’t describe the level of petty, spiteful thoughts that must go through your head to write the articles you’ve written.  Using BR to vent your pettiness is also disingenuous to the readers, which (IMO) shows your obvious lack of moral character.” 

Not that I am alone in this guy’s wrath.  Here’s what he wrote on someone elses Bleacher Report article:

“Why not title your article ‘Fu*k Everyone Who Ever Thought a Bad Thought About Auburn?’ It’s not other writers, Alabama fans, Duck fans, sports analysts, etc. who denigrate Auburn…it’s hacks like you who prove that Auburn has fans who are poor winners and that sportsmanship certainly isn’t in your repertoire…what a paranoid, pathetic article…and your team won?”

Nice happy people, aren’t they?

So, as I said in the forward for this piece, I didn’t really have to write much on this one.  In fact I wrote very little of this, and rather just gathered and re-posted the tons of bits and pieces from other fan forums, about Oregon Duck fans.  There’s is so much of it out there.  This is just a mere sliver of the mountain of venom coming from Ducksville.

If I was a Duck fan, I might start doing some inward examination before launching accusations toward everyone else! And rather than write scating comments towards authors who point it out,  I might ponder why everyone else sees my own program the same way!


Written by PhilCaldwell

November 26, 2011 at 11:16 am

Washington Husky Fans Shouldn’t Be Disappointed Over Loss to Oregon Ducks

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Relax Husky fans!  Before you go jumping off the nearest bridge, think about how far this program has come in three short years!

Last year the Ducks put up 53 points to the paltry 16 the Huskies could manage.  A mere year later the Huskies could have, and probably should have, won the last game ever played at beloved Husky Stadium before the big renovation.

Had Keith Price not generously donated the ball to undeserving Duck cornerbacks, not once but twice, the Huskies could have left the field at halftime enjoying a two touchdown lead instead suffering the same at the hands of Oregon, bequeathed 14 easy points by driving a total of half a football field.

Washington completely out-played and out-classed Oregon in the first half, amassing 11 first downs to Oregon’s 6, with twice as many offensive plays.  What the stats could not show was a far more hungry squad of Husky upstarts, jacked up by the presence of the eyes of the undefeated national champ team of two decades earlier.

But in spite of the play inequity, the total yards were nearly equal.  Precisely the problem when playing the high-energy Ducks, especially when they donned the old Oakland Raider uniforms with the only school color being an out-of-place green “O” on silver helmets.

In the third quarter Oregon did what Oregon always seems to do.  They came out on the opening drive with quick sideline strikes of 15 to 20 yards using both sidelines, stretching the defense and setting it up for what would come next.  By the time the harried and panting Huskies caught their breath,  Kenjon Barner and LaMichael James were suddenly shooting up the center of the field with five straight healthy gains,  ended only by a nice juicy TD on 12 plays that consumed barely two and half minutes.

What had been a game the Huskies should have been winning, was suddenly 24-10 with a potential blowout looming.

But the Huskies didn’t pout.  They came screaming right back up the field with their own quick 9 play drive, to answer with their own impressive touchdown.  Keith Price threw a lofter on the left side of the end zone to five-star recruit Kaysen-Williams, for a Husky TD to bring it back to 24-17.

Williams, the all-world freshman recruited heavily by every team on the planet only last year, made the prettiest catch of the night and perhaps in his brief Husky career, stretching high to snag the pass with his big toes barely skimming the surface before they hit the sidelines.

Chris Polk was no slouch either, running up the middle from the shotgun formation on four straight draws with healthy gains on all but one.  Oregon suddenly looked like deer’s in headlights, with zero defensive answers, especially when the suddenly resurgent sold out Husky crowd of over 72,000 were going nuts and creating noise mayhem.

All week long there had been festivities and hoopala for what would be the last game ever played at Husky Stadium, where past greats had dwelled on Saturday afternoons since 1920.  In fact a full team of Husky greats were in the stands, intimidating both teams with the same glaring eyes that had mutilated every single opponent on the way to a national championship two decades prior.

Back when the current Dawgs were still urping up Mommy’s milk in their high chairs, these middle-aged guys with paunches and thinning hair had been wreaking havoc across the land, scoffing at east coast insistence that the also undefeated Miami Hurricanes would have had any chance of staying with them on the field.  But they never got the chance to prove it, since this was long before the BCS system of placing undefeated teams in bowl games.

And yet back to the future, the Huskies were having a hard time understanding how the Ducks could have a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter, given how silly UW was making them look.  But this is what the Ducks do to opponents, lead when they’re being dominated.

Keith Price missing receivers by sailing passes 10 yard over their heads did not help.  Passes with open receivers that looked to be sure touchdowns, ended up going the other way twice in the first half, and Price ran for his life in the onslaught of much quicker Duck defensive lineman.

Following the first Price debacle, Oregon needed just three plays to take the lead, starting from the Washington 38, which ended when LaMichael James scampered up the left side 18 yards for a disturbingly easy touchdown.

A quarter later it only took four plays starting at the UW 34, after Price duplicated his first quarter error in exactly the same way, lofting the ball high over the head of a bedaffled Jerome Kearse and into the hands of a by-himself Eddie Pleasant standing on Duck 17 yard line, which he promptly returned 49 yards.

Oregon didn’t need many offensive plays to lead by 14, but when the Huskies kept hanging around it was clear this game would have little similarity to the seven straight 20+ point blowouts that preceded it.

On the six plays where Price took what should have been normal time throwing the ball deep, patiently waiting for his receivers to run their routes, he was sacked badly.  A dozen other plays had Price rushing to throw the ball, which didn’t allow for feet to be set long enough for a stable foundation.  Hence the ball sailed high into wide open Ducks.

When Oregon started their drive from their own 30 yard line with 8:34 left in the third quarter, it was do or die time for the Huskies.  Trailing by only seven, if they didn’t stop Oregon on this drive the game would be lost for good.

They didn’t.

Oregon’s rickety quarterback Darron Thomas drilled David Paulso for 34 yards across the middle on the third play from scrimmage, and followed it with another to Josh Huff for 19 more yards.   Two running plays later it was 31-17, and Husky fans were muttering in their frigid seats at the old dilapidated stadium.  It was over.  UW knew it and the hated Ducks knew it, especially when the next Washington drive stalled at mid-field with a confused and ugly 4th and 4.

Oregon had the ball and a big lead with only 3:40 left in the third quarter.  But when a wide-open Daryle Hawkins dropped his third pass of the night at the five yard line, Oregon was forced to kick a field goal, which was certainly no gimmie considering how bad Duck kicker Alejandro Maldonado was.  In fact 35 yards was his limit, and he barely managed to sneak it over to cross bar to give the Ducks a 34-17 lead with a buck 49 left in the third.

Things really got hopeless when little-used Husky Michael Hartvigson was stripped by Terrance Mitchell at the Husky 32 yard line in just two plays, but were bailed out by a couple of knucklehead Duck penalties, and an ugly pathetic miss by Maldonado from 46 yards, short and off-line to the right.

Still, by now Oregon had slowed down the offense, and were burning large chunks of time by running the clock down to the bare bones with each play.  Sometimes Oregon would walk to the line and return to the huddle several times, just to drive everyone crazy with the trickery and confusion.

Never-used sophomore Nick Montana woke up the crowd with an impressive 53 yard strike to Kasen Williams down the right sideline to the Duck 27, but when a wide open Kevin Smith dropped a nice easy pass that hit him in the numbers as he stood alone in the end zone, the Husky faithful could tell it was not their night.

But it was the best game played against Oregon in a very long time, and if nothing else, the Ducks went away feeling a bit fortunate to have won so easily.  It certainly wasn’t because they played well.  The Ducks easily could have lost this game had the Huskies not been so sloppy and charitable, and by the time things wound down, Oregon could tell that this would be the last easy game for years to come.

The Huskies are still thin in only their third season since being terrible, have kept even with Oregon and the rest of the league with recruiting, and suddenly look like a team to be reckoned with starting in 2012.  Especially since another set of Sark recruits will come rolling into town.

And with the NCAA sniffing the crotches of devious Duck activity all winter long, how long can this go on?

Oregon’s core are still only juniors, but stars such as Darron Thomas and LaMichael James are likely to bolt for greener pastures in the NFL, hence the chances of this Duck bunch staying together after this year is looking grim.

So while clueless Oregon fans were mouthing off on their way to the parking lot tonight, failing to appreciate that all streaks eventually end, the rest of the Husky faithful are recognizing this game for what it was.  The Husky program is back and getting better each year.  We know it.  The Ducks know it even if they won’t admit it, and by this time next year the rest of the country will know it.

And with NCAA sanctions drifting in like eerily gray November clouds, this same Oregon squad will likely be moping come this time twelve months hence.  The mini era of the Ducks dominating the Dawgs has likely seen it’s last chapter, as the men of Montlake return to their 1991 roots and tradition!

Oregon Football: Three Minutes of Infamy Ends BCS Title Hopes

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ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 03:  LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks runs the ball against the LSU Tigers at Cowboys Stadium on September 3, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Three minutes following two and half quarters of dogged defense in a 16-13 slugfest in Texas, and one team’s title hopes would plummet like a limp Duck shotgunned out of the sky.

All summer long feathered fans across the country boasted of this new Nike-inspired dynasty while annoyed rivals gnashed teeth.  Mocking and jeering ensued, with Duck fans insisting the rest of the country was jealous. Trojan fans, already eliminated in postseason play by our truth-consumed pals at the NCAA, prayed we would not be subject to another 2010.

And their prayers were seemingly answered when Tiger defensive end Sam Montgomery stripped Heisman-hyped Duck running back De’Anthony Thomas on their own 21-yard line halfway through the third period.

LSU’s safety Eric Reid gladly accepted the gift, and the wheels began to fall off when LSU converted it to a 23-13 lead when Michael Ford scampered five yards for a touchdown.

Demonstrating how rare indeed twelve-game winning streaks are to open a season, the dark-clad Oregon squad surrendered the ensuing kickoff when LSU safety Craig Loston sucker-punched the ball loose, and six plays later the Ducks saw their dreams fizzle for good in what Duck writers claimed was the “Game of the Year.”

LSU made it 30-13 on Spencer Ware’s one-yard run.  And when LSU’s Drew Alleman ripped a 32-yard field goal a few moments later to drop Oregon 20 points behind, the Duck’s fate was indeed sealed.

Still amped up and just positive their beloved boys would romp back like they constantly did last year, Oregon’s depleted offensive line demonstrated why it’s unwise to declare a national championship before the first football in fall has been snapped.

There would be no comeback. Not this year.  Especially when Darron Thomas was constantly running for his life in the backfield!

A scant fifteen yards of total offense in the third period compared with LSU’s 122.  The Tigers had six first downs.  The Ducks?


It looked exactly like past Duck teams, only sadly from the mid 1980’s.

Nor was it the hurry-up terror streak opponents feared last year.  Wondercoach Chip Kelly had no answers as his young line often looked confused and unready.

Critics of the Duck’s preseason rating felt vindicated after an offseason of amped-up Oregonians popping off with insults over anyone who dared doubt.

But this time the cutting edge helmets and the day-glow outlined numbers looked pathetically out of place, and Heisman Trophy finalists looked painfully ordinary.  Especially when LSU, clad in their traditional yet somewhat boring colors of yellow helmets and white jerseys, methodically destroyed everything Oregon could come up with in the final quarter.

Considering LSU was without their starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson and linebacker Josh Johns, both suspended indefinitely for springtime knuckleheadedness, this contest could have been even more lopsided.

As it was it seemed over with a quarter to go, with college football fans wondering if this might not be the first of a handful more to come for the Ducks of central Oregon in 2011.

Written by PhilCaldwell

September 4, 2011 at 9:58 am

Oregon Duck Football: Scholars and Moral Examples For Our Kids!

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Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for our Pac-12 pals to the south, word comes that one of the other passengers in the vehicle pulled over by police last spring doing 118 mph, was none other than Darron Thomas.

Not some high school walk-on proud to carry the dirty jockstrap bin to the laundry just to be around this national title-contending BCS band of misfits, but Oregon’s starting ball-chucker and fan-proclaimed “best quarterback the planet has ever seen,” one Darron Thomas.

And all this after fellow Duck braniac and future rocket scientist, starting defensive corner Cliff Harris, committed this act with a suspended driver’s license.

But there’s more from our feathered waddlers from “Deep in the Forest.”

When (should-have-been) arresting officer noted that the vehicle interior smelled suspiciously like the mosh pit of a Van Halen rock concert, he muttered “Wonder whose got the marijuana?”  At which the future Duck AD and current suspended role model Cliff Harris piped up saying “There’s no pot in here cuz we smoked it all!”

Meanwhile protégée coach Chip Kelly, in the process of divulging this knuckleheadedness to the press last spring, apparently failed to mention that team leader and example-setter QB Darron Thomas was also in the car with these nitwits. It was almost as if it were a deliberate omission.

107967117_crop_340x234Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

You remember fellow role-model Chip Kelly right?  The big football scandal he’s up to his elbows in?  Recruiting shenanigans and payoffs, $25 grand paid with written checks, hot high school recruits claiming they were enticed to come to Oregon though devious means. Duck Denials.

It’s gotten very ugly, and has the NCAA rules enforcement salivating like bloodhounds on a fox chase.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, Oregon is about to get pummeled by LSU in their season opener in front of 100,000 crazed and drunken fans wearing cowboy hats in George W Bushville.

Proving he’s all over this situation and determined to repair his tarnished reputation, when asked about this latest fiasco by an Oregonian beat writer last week, super coach Kelly dryly responded “I’m not concerned with Darron Thomas at all.”

Well of course he isn’t, and why should he?  He’s got Will Lyles’ Texas-based scouting service sling-shotting recruits his way under-the-table.  Why should he care when he could just reload with four-star recruits ripped off from USC and Texas?

But the more important issue is what all this is doing to schoolchildren who look to adults for examples in how to live life.

“Kids, when you’re old enough to earn a living, life will be much easier if you find yourself a cash-loaded corporation bilking the poor for huge profits, done in some faraway third world country where nobody can see what they are doing!

“Have them donate a few hundred million for new stadiums and snazzy uniforms with fluorescent yellow day-glow socks!

“Oh sure you may have to bake a few pot-filled brownies for staff joy rides through quiet neighborhoods (in sparkling new “rental” vehicles), but you and your buddies will reap the rewards!”

Meanwhile a deathly silence engulfs those surrounding Duckville, with tolerant alumni and ambivalent current students prioritizing stolen bandwagons for a few potential wins.

Yep. It’s hard not to admire the University of Oregon and the Duck football program after this offseason!


Read more from the same author: 

Auburn vs Oregon: Cockroaches and Flying Insects Killed from ESPN’s pregame


Bosie State vs Utah in Las Vegas: Broncos Defeat Utes for Absolutely No Reason

Written by PhilCaldwell

August 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

Oregon Duck Fans Hypocritical in Criticism of UW Husky Bad Boy Venoy Overton

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CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Venoy Overton #1 of the Washington Huskies reacts in the second half while taking on the North Carolina Tar Heels during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Using the sensitive tradition that endures fans of every college program towards the humility of our lumberjack-infested friends at the University of Oregon, Duck comments have been fired this week, over the antics of Husky basketball graduate Vinoy Overton.

You remember Overton, right?

As UW pummeled the Ducks in the Pac-10 basketball tournament in March, Overton sat glumly on the Husky pine, suspended by a fed up coach due to accusations from a 16-year-old high school student.

Let me say up front that this is NOT an attempt to defend Overton.  It is not.  We’re all outraged over the charges against him and should be.  Exploiting others for profit is never ok.  Ever.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story, earlier this month Venoy Overton was arrested and charged with promoting prostitution—forcing similar aged girls to perform sexual acts and then demanding profits be split with him.

Like most University of Washington fans and anyone familiar with the struggles of poverty, I too am horrified by what Overton is accused of. There is no excuse for exploitation of other human beings for profit, regardless of one’s own struggles.

Nothing justifies it.  Not issues currently being wrestled with, not the NCAA doing the same with collegiate athletes, not past generations involved with slavery.  Nothing.

Lockerrooms_crop_340x234New state-of-the-art locker rooms financed by Phil Knight

The fact that it happens to be young women exploited for sexual favors in Overton’s case is particularly distasteful, and it’s especially difficult to fathom when it comes from college graduates who are supposed to know better.

Overton either skipped the classes that deal with such topics, or our educational system has been a dismal failure.  If a four-year college grad can make it through coursework without the common tenants of basic morality wreaking havoc on one’s conscience, then as a society we’ve completely failed in our schools and universities!

Both fans and foes of the University of Washington basketball program see that behavior as “punks running a muck,” where a tattooed athlete, coddled and praised from an early age, sees himself as above the law and therefore willing to participate in any scheme for profit without consequences.

And yet just when I’m about ready to pick up the first stone, I have to ask myself if I’m not being just a tad hypocritical, since so many things in my own life are not exactly pure and pristine.

Attitudes about matters that nobody else sees, hidden away in the deep corners of my life.

We have the NBA, a professional basketball league, demanding hundreds of millions from taxpayer money for new un-needed arenas.  Money that probably aught to go towards schools and roads, blackmailed out of communties.

Autzenstadium_crop_340x234Autzen Stadium on the University of Oregon campus

How is mis-spending millions of dollars less immoral, than what Overton did?  From where I sit it seems very similar in terms of immorality.

Venoy Overton is just a kid, while some of us throwing the stones are older than some mountain ranges.  You could blame his sins on youthful stupidity, but what could possibly be the excuse of accomplished businesmen that exploit the poor for profit?

Reading and hearing comments from sports fans, it appears the hypocrisy is wide-spread.

One particular comment from a devoted Duck fan makes me wonder why people in Oregon feel so self-righteous?

“Log in your own eye” I believe they call it.

Said Oregon Duck fan Chris Anderson:

“Hey Phil, Vinoy Overton is a class act isn’t he. Sounds like he should have been locked up a long time ago, but at least Seattle was nice enough to let him help you guys out first!!  You’re right, huskies are classy” 

I got ticked off when I read that, but mostly because Mr. Anderson’s comments are closer to being correct than incorrect.


It’s difficult for fans at UW to claim the moral high ground, when one of your own former players is making the kind of statements that Venoy Overton is alleged to have made.

But what Oregon fans might want to think about, is how Overton exploiting people for profit is any different than Phil Knight and Nike exploiting people for profit ?   Phil Knight has made, and continues to earn, profits from firms that abuse and exploit the poor.

Oregon fans claim that Phil Knight is merely sub-contracting the manufacturing process.  Ok fine, but does that not make him directly responsible for the way in which these manufacturers conduct business?  If you sub-contract with a independent business, in reality you become part of that business.  Especially when your business is the vast majority of their business.

In the University of Oregon’s case, they too have become directly linked to the abuse Phil Knight is being accused of in the third world.  The profits Nike makes from firms that pay their employees 21 cents an hour while working in unsafe conditions, are now financing the Ducks football & basketball programs.

In both Overton’s and Nike’s sub-contracting situations, humans are viewed as simple assets like saws or pencils, exploited for what they can earn.  Disturbingly similar to the slavery of prior generations, of which this generation feels so morally superior.

Photoofneworegonarena_original_crop_340x234New basketball arena that opened this past February

And it’s not really a liberal vs. conservative matter either, since Overton and Nike have nothing to do with politics.  But if you insist on making it political, which ideology insists that forcing women into prostitution is just?  Which one condones eight-year-olds sewing soccer balls for 12 hours a day?

Perhaps the biggest sin Overton committed was getting caught and publicized?

Tell me again, how much money did that new “Deep in the Woods” arena cost, which Mr. Knight donated to Oregon?  Where did that money come from?  How was it earned?

And what about the uniforms, and the new locker rooms, and everything else that the Duck program enjoys?  Who financed these buildings?  Wasn’t dirty Phil Knight’s fingerprints over the entire organization at Oregon, from blue prints to who gets hired as a football coach?

It appears the only difference in these two cases is that the guy who made the most money from this sort of behavior is getting away with it, while the guy who just got started doing simular things, got caught.

Other than that, what’s the difference?  Exploitation is exploitation!   It doesn’t really matter who is doing it.

Accusations continue to flow, insisting Nike has not reformed and has no intention of doing so.  In spite of contrary promises made at Congressional hearings over a decade ago. Nike continues to earn millions of dollars from exploiting third-world workers, in conditions that most of us wouldn’t tolerate for our least favorite pet.

And yet Oregon fans feel justified to criticize Overton, if recent blogs are any indication, for doing roughly the same thing to young women that Nike is accused of doing to kids even younger.  Only in the later case, Oregon gets to share the profits for new stadiums and pretty uniforms.

Sorry, but I’m not seeing that either institution has the high ground in this matter.  Maybe it’s time we all sit down and do some self-reflecting instead of hating on a 22-year-old former basketball star whose career and future is now ruined?

Is taking money from someone earning it via worker exploitation, any less horrendous than what Overton is accused of doing?

I say no it is not.  BOTH situations make me suspect that whatever we’re teaching our kids needs to change.  This is not what we envisioned four decades ago during all the peace marches and cries for justice.

This is just more of the same!

Other links pertaining to recent activity on this subject

Nike business practices

University of Washington students active in sweat shop reform

For more on this subject by the same author, see: Nike, Phil Knight and the University of Oregon: Should the Ducks be Doing It?

Written by PhilCaldwell

June 20, 2011 at 10:36 am

Nike, Phil Knight and the University of Oregon: Should the Ducks Be Doing It?

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EUGENE, OR - JANUARY 13:  Nike founder Phil Knight speaks to the crowd  before the Oregon Ducks versus the USC Trojans game at the grand opening of the Matthew Knight Arena on January 13, 2011 at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Well over a decade ago, on May 12, 1998, facing growing outcry and pressure from human right’s groups across the nation, Phil Knight—Nike’s CEO and current funding father of all things Oregon Ducks—spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, DC and made 12 promises to reform the business practices at Nike.

Today Knight claims these practices are all ancient history.  Many others, however, beg to differ.

There are literally hundreds of groups critical of Nike that insist Knight’s claims of reform are nothing but a huge dupe.

They claim that Nike hasn’t done much at all to change practices of ordering products from manufactures with long histories of worker abuse.  That it’s still going on, Nike has changed very little, and all these pretty uniforms and new stadiums at the University of Oregon have been funded by corrupt and in some cases, a form of blood money.

Meanwhile last month, reports broke about Oregon using agents and trainers to help sway new recruits to the Duck program.  The last thing Phil Knight and Nike need is a feisty NCAA rule committee sticking their nose into private business practices.

Defenders of Oregon insist the rumors are wide-spread throughout many college programs in the country, and thus the charges are inflated.  Shrugs and apathy have been the norm from the faithful in Eugene.

108032030_crop_340x234Steve Dykes/Getty Images

However, with the NCAA now pointing their little radars at what’s going on “deep in the woods,” even the most apologetic Knight supporters have concern meter needles fluttering to and fro—especially now that the hapless Duck program is finally winning some actual football games.

And with the basketball team threatening to do the same, suddenly the university’s relationship with Phil Knight is growing in national significance—especially with goofy uniforms that could blind rodents recently on the BCS stage, all produced by corporate giant Nike.  One big four-hour long apparel commercial using college students as unpaid models.

Yet the question still remains.  Did Nike reform it’s business practices or merely shuffle them under the rug for the past decade?

Last month Oregon unveiled a new basketball arena with “state of the art” everything.  At the opening ceremonies was a strutting Phil Knight in a rock concert setting—bursting flames and dancing cheerleaders in halters, celebrating the new basketball palace.

During his speech, in a darkened arena using a new cool light system that made that dopey “O” thing glow like socks at a football game, Knight pointed out that the arena had been dedicated to his recently-departed son.  Today Oregon fans are sensitive about this, especially when would-be cheap shot artists like me question this cozy relationship.

But the questions are still there, unanswered.

108030778_crop_340x234Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Exactly how did Mr Knight earn all these dollars?

It’s just wonderful that he’s donating funds to universities, but what has Nike been doing under the radar?

For two decades now, we’ve been hearing rumors about eight-year-olds working long hours with no time off, suffering physical injuries, all while producing sneakers and head bands, at far less cost than could be done in the United States.

Our country forces companies to pay minimum wages, and grants rights to workers not seen in third world countries. Thus the question becomes “Why is Phil Knight so reluctant to build factories in his own country, where manufacturing practices are regulated, if he indeed has reformed these practices?”

If everything is on the up and up, and if workers are being treated abroad like they would be at home, why does Nike consistently write short-term contracts abroad?

Michael Moore, the windbag producer of such comical documentaries as Fahrenheit 911, where creative editing made a former President look like a bumbling vacationing fool, is also critical of Phil Knight.

For the record, I’m not a huge Michael Moore fan.  Mr. Moore does things with his films that are downright immoral themselves, in my opinion, thus his editing practices do not bode well for some of his arguments.  Furthermore, I’m very suspicious of anyone who decries capitalism while owning a gaggle of pompous mansions scattered across the globe.

But even a Moore-skeptic like me looks at these interviews with Phil Knight with raised eyebrows!  There are some issues here that are not being addressed, which appear greater than how many college football or basketball games the University of Oregon wins.

Such as why Phil Knight refuses to allow Michael Moore to film the inside workings of one of his off-shore manufacturing facilities?  What are we hiding here?

Like most universities, Oregon prides itself on being concerned with the environment and issues that all of us should be concerned about.  Issues about our fellow man, the quality of life for others, and concern for the innocent in lands far away, where children walk shoeless through filth and muck.

None of these are necessarily liberal vs. conservative arguments, nor even religious vs. secular concerns—they are issues that focus on common decency.

So what are we to make of this conversation between Phil Knight and flabby Michael Moore in the documentary?  A small piece of that conversation:

Michael Moore: But you’re in charge, you’re the boss-

Phil Knight: Yeah, I’m in charge of it, basically

Michael Moore: Just tell ’em, no one under 16, just like our shoe factories. Just tell em. You’re Phil Knight.

Phil Knight: Well, actually, I think that over, within a fairly short period of time you’ll see some of that, but it won’t happen, it won’t happen over the next six months probably.

Michael Moore: But you’re committed.

Phil Knight: No, no, we want good labor practices in all these countries. We try to be the best citizen we can be.

Michael Moore: So you’re telling me now that you’re committed to not having people work in your factories under the age of 16?

Phil Knight: That’s true in the shoe factories in Indonesia…

Dusty Kidd: (Nike’s labor relations chief) We are one of 20 or 30 customers in our apparel factories, so we can’t dictate to them nearly to the extent-

Michael Moore: Is it safe to say that’s your goal? Is it safe to say that’s your goal-to not have people-

Phil Knight: We can impose that and will do that in those apparel factories that we basically have the dominant position in. But we can’t do that when we’re just a minor buyer.

108031648_crop_340x234Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Michael Moore: But, anything that you control, you’re going to, you’re goal-

Phil Knight: In Indonesia, in Indonesia, we’re moving towards age 16.

For me, football fan or not, that conversation bothers me.

But no more than do these other allegations made in a paper written by Bette Jean Bullert of Seattle University.  In her paper, Bullert alleges the following:

“Between 1989 and 1995, only 21 news articles appeared in the U.S. press linking Nike to strikes in Indonesia, but 1996 was a pivotal year in the anti-sweatshop campaign. Seven years of survey research, international studies on globalization and human rights and organizing by NGOs came to fruition. But it took a celebrity and a fired Nike worker to put a human face on the sweatshop issue and escalate the conflict in the mainstream American media…

“…Knight was silent on the issues of wages and the length of the work day. Nike contracted with a factory in China whose employees said they worked 11 and 12 hour days with only two days off a month, and earned 16 cents to 19 cents an hour with no overtime. The anti-Nike campaign has responded by expanding its data collection in China and continuing to monitor conditions in other factories.

“…At the same conference, the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) and other student organizations launched the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC), a coalition with labor unions and human rights groups. In the three weeks since its founding, 45 universities have signed on with the commitment to be sure items that carry the university logos are not made in sweatshops. Phil Knight has withdrawn a $30 million commitment to his alma mater, the University of Oregon in Eugene, because the university has joined the WRC.”

So here’s my question, Oregon Duck fans:  If it turns out that Phil Knight indeed has earned his billions, either today or in the past, by exploiting workers in other nations deliberately and callously…is the University of Oregon still willing to accept his multi-million dollar donations?Will you Duck fans still support this?

Should Stanford University accept money from Phil Knight, if it is proven that Nike’s off-shore operations are at odds with the most minimum standards in first world nations?



If controversy remains about Nike manufacturing practices, should the University of Oregon accept donations from Phil Knight?

  • Yes

  • No


Total votes: 387




Sources for the above, plus more about the Nike controversy, are at the below links:

Written by PhilCaldwell

March 11, 2011 at 11:00 am