by Mike Coffey
The alleged book on us here at NDN is we’ll find any opportunity to be negative, even during the best football season you could imagine. If the actual content both here and on the boards the last couple weeks hasn’t dispelled that notion by now, I trust the presence of actual sociopathic ND haters can do the rest of the job.
8-0 has done little to dampen the spirits of our favorite little bridge troll, John Feinstein. That blue and gold stick has been lodged in his hindquarters for long and long, so he’s not going to let something like an undefeated football team get the better of him. On Sunday, fresh off the team’s upset win in Norman, he fed himself a couple questions and couldn’t resist tossing this back in the mix:
Question 11: With all the glorifying of Notre Dame to come this month, should Declan Sullivan’s death two years ago this past week, be completely forgotten?
Answer: Absolutely not. He never should have been in the video tower and the excuse-making that came out of Notre Dame in the aftermath was sickening, most notably Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick claiming conditions felt “normal” to him just before the tower collapsed.
Lest you think this is the first time Feinstein has used Declan Sullivan as the whetstone for his anti-Irish axe, he had this to say two weeks ago. If you go to his blog (which hasn’t been updated in months so I’m not about to link it, Google’s your friend here), he’s got a whole category dedicated (for lack of a better word) to the kid.
In order to make the rest of this conversation possible, I’m going to ask you, dear readers, to make some assumptions for me. Let’s assume John Feinstein actually gives half a crap about Declan Sullivan or his family or the charity associated with him or anything else related to a very brave Notre Dame student who lost his life in ridiculous and entirely avoidable circumstances, and doesn’t just see him as a punch line he can use for his own benefit. Let’s also assume there are human beings out there who actually believe and/or would need to ask that dumbass question in the first place.
No, I’m sorry, I take that back. I can’t make those assumptions, as it requires me to bypass too much of my neocortex. No one with an IQ over 50 would make those assumptions, so I’m not sure what that says about Feinstein.
Sorry again, that’s a lie. I know exactly what it says.
John, buddy, allow me to speak for the Notre Dame fandom in this case. Trust me, if there’s any who don’t want me speaking for them, they’ll let me know in the comments as they always do. The answer to your repeatedly-asked question is “no”, so please stop dishonoring Declan Sullivan and his family just so you can get your Snidely Whiplash on. We appreciate your volunteering to be the Irish Conscience, but we’ve got plenty of qualified applicants for the job.
No, Declan Sullivan’s death is not OK, even though we’re 8-0. It wasn’t OK either of the last two seasons when we were 8-5. It wasn’t OK when the women’s basketball team was in the national title game twice, the soccer team won the national title, or the men’s team beat the #1 team in the nation and was ranked in the top five. We could win every national championship in every sport from now to St. Swithin’s Day, and it still wouldn’t be OK. No one with a brain has thought, thinks, or will think it is.
In fact, I’d go the other way. I know two or three of my fellow ND alums for whom it will never be OK, and I’m sure there are more out there. While they’re enjoying this season, Sullivan’s memory sticks in their mind, and their feelings about Brian Kelly and Jack Swarbrick likely will never be the same because of what happened to him. But they’re private people with private opinions, unlike you, who really should have no dog in this hunt. They’re also members of the Notre Dame family, just as Declan Sullivan was and always will be. We, as that extended family, are qualified to judge (in a limited fashion) Notre Dame’s response to his death. You, as an allegedly disinterested observer, are not.
The only truly qualified people in this situation are named Barry and Alison. They live in Long Grove, IL, and two years ago this past Saturday, their son died. After their own prayerful meditation, they’ve chosen not to hold Notre Dame responsible. That’s the choice they’ve made, and as noted, they’re the only ones qualified to make it. I’m not about to second-guess that choice to make my own hay. You might want to chat with them the next time you’re tempted to do so.
Do us all a favor, John: Stop using Declan Sullivan as a poking stick. He deserves better than to be the instrument of delivery for your hackneyed scorn that isn’t borne of any real concern for his life or anything else about him. How about donating some of your ducats to his memorial foundation instead? With all the eyeballs you’ve pulled in continually exhuming him, it’s probably the least you could do.