I am going to take a page out of jubbo‘s book and go after individuals, in this case oddsmaker Danny Sheridan.
I do not personally know Danny Sheridan, nor do I want to personally know him. In fact, I really was not sure who he was until his farcical appearance on a well-listened-to regional sports show [Paul Finebaum]. It was not until his attorney referenced Sheridan as an “oddsmaker” that I put it together.
Now, in full disclosure, I have not followed the drama that unfolded over the past couple of months concerning Sheridan and his appearances on Finebaum. Nor do I really care what he has to say. To be perfectly honest, I do not even listen to Finebaum on a regular basis; I happened to catch it because I was flipping between channels while picking up my son from school. So, I do not have much to go on in terms of the full background on the story.
But the basic story works like this: oddsmaker Sheridan alleges he has sources that know the name of the go-between for the Newtons (Cecil and Cameron) — the so-called “bag man.” Apparently, Sheridan was pressed for the name of the “bag man” on a previous appearance on the Finebaum show and the oddsmaker claimed that he would have the name within a couple of weeks [he never claimed that he would reveal the name…allegedly].
A couple of weeks elapsed and became yesterday’s [17 August] appearance on the radio program. Now, unbeknownst to me, when I had tuned in for that brief moment, Sheridan had already been on the air for a good, solid hour! I was thinking that the segment started to run. Additionally unknown at the beginning of my listening was that he brought along a friend — Mobile attorney Vince Kilborn [those with knowledge of Alabama politics know Kilborn from previous work with great individuals like former governor Don Siegelman].
Anyway, the farce went on for nearly two hours, of which I caught about 40 minutes of it. It was basically one caller after another line up to push for Sheridan to reveal his source or the name of the “bag man.” And to be honest, they were absolutely smoking him; just straight up murdering him, but he stood by his loyalty and held firm. A lot of that likely had to do with Kilborn being there to “protect” him. The best that Sheridan could do is shoot off weak sarcasm.
Now, I have no issue with Sheridan standing firm and not revealing anything. He does not owe anyone anything. My life will not dramatically improve if he reveals the “bag man” or any other information that he purportedly knows. Furthermore, I could not care less if he is telling the truth or not; does not affect me.
My issue with the oddsmaker is his arrogance and hypocrisy.
What was the point of going on the Paul Finebaum show if Sheridan had absolutely no intention of revealing any pertinent information? He claimed that he could get the name of the bag man in a couple of weeks and allegedly he did just that. So, was his only reason for going on the Finebaum show to stroke his own ego? “Hey, look how awesome I am!”
The arrogance occurred predominantly when he constantly reminded everyone who cared — which from the looks of things is not very many people — that he did not request the appearance; he was invited to join the program. And? Did “no” never cross his mind? I mean, since he had no intention of revealing the name (hence the attorney), then the entire appearance was just to run his mouth about how he knows the name of the bag man and how he has “trusted” sources and that he is dead-on when “reporting” these types of stories. I should probably capitalize “he” considering how awesome the oddsmaker feels about himself.
Oh, but the arrogance does not stop there. I referenced his weak attempt at sarcasm. Sheridan’s entire demeanor during that segment reeked of arrogance, but mostly with his interaction with callers. I will freely admit that I do not listen to Finebaum because of the callers; I am not a fan of the show’s format. However, as I noted above, the callers lit him up like Baghdad in January 1991. It was actually somewhat entertaining.
Flustered, the best that the oddsmaker could do was insinuate that people were using their “momma’s computer” or that the call was turning into “Jerry Springer.” I was waiting for a “I know you are but what am I” retort! He basically looked down on every single caller and ranted on and on about how right he was and how awesome he and his sources were.
The ultimate display of arrogance actually occurred during an exchange with Kilborn. The Mobile attorney referred to Sheridan as an “oddsmaker,” to which Sheridan quickly “corrected” that he is not an oddsmaker, but a “sports analyst.”
Yeah, about that. Go type in “Danny Sheridan” into a Google search and what pops up? Well, given his recent attention, there is a variance, but what stands out is that he is an oddsmaker. References to his “handicapping” and odds are the primary theme. It is why Google’s “Searches related to Danny Sheridan” include “college football odds” [first] and “NFL odds” [third] among that group. Hell, even his own Twitter account first describes him as “handicapper” [another word for “oddsmaker”] and scanning most of his Tweets displays all of his “odds.”
But Sheridan desperately wants you to believe that he is more than an oddsmaker; well, actually, he wants you to believe that he is a sports analyst and NOT an oddsmaker. He even has a Tweet stating the following:
FYI — USA TODAY refers to me as their Sports Analyst, who analyzes/predicts sporting events. Odds makers take bets on their odds, I don’t.
Sorry, chubs; that is the definition of a bookie. Sheridan is an oddsmaker first and foremost.
The second issue I have with Sheridan is that he is hypocritical. And this partially relates back to his treatment of the Finebaum callers. He called bloggers and other commoners “cockroaches” and dismissed any opinion from casual fans. When it came from the media, however, all he could say was that he was a proponent of the First Amendment and that he “respected” their opinion, even if he disagreed.
So, if it is from a reporter, it is First Amendment, but if it is from a blogger, it is from a cockroach. But he was certainly called out by some of his peers (“peers” if you also consider Sheridan a reporter). Well, that is their opinion…or as Kilborn insinuated, some in sports media are jealous.
Now, I can at least partially understand Sheridan’s critique in that he noted how some hide behind screen names. However, that is the way of the Internet; the anonymity of the Internet allows for a lot more opinions to get out. Do some make outrageous claims in anonymity? Certainly. But to brush off the opinions of bloggers and discussion board posters simply because of the anonymous nature of it seems hypocritical. I mean, that is still an expression of the First Amendment. Where is the respect of opinions there?
Furthermore, he is hypocritical in that he only seems to value the opinion of people with “credibility.” So, this is all a court of law now? Sure you do not need to take every post on a message board as “credible.” But there is a subtle attempt here to undermine any opinion in the “new media” world. Also, he is attempting to weed out opinions with which he disagrees as not being “credible” — and therefore unworthy of attention — and focus more on those that are allegedly “credible.” Not surprisingly, to the oddsmaker the only “credible” media members are those with which he maintains a friendship.
What humors me the most about this outrage from Sheridan is that the oddsmaker is getting so upset over these “cockroaches,” individuals that are supposed to be beneath him. And yet, the criticism from his peers does not seem to bother him at all. Seems odd that bloggers are able to get under his skin, while the “well-respected” and “credible” members of the media [i.e., the ones that matter to Sheridan] can rip him a new one and he “respects” their opinion. One would think that Sheridan would be more offended by criticism from “credible” or “respected” members of the media rather than “cockroaches.”
And that gets to the final level of hypocrisy. Sheridan goes on and on about how he has trusted sources with whom he has been friends with for “20 or 30 years.” He notes how he wants to avoid lawsuits and causing individuals to lose their jobs. And he brings up morality and how revealing the name of the “bag man” or the source would be “morally corrupt.”
And yet, whence came this information? Sheridan assures (or attempts to assure) everyone that it was not “leaked,” but that it was simply “told” to him. Was this told in confidence? If it was, then why he is parading around that he has information? “I know something you don’t know. I know something you don’t know.” How juvenile!
But, the hypocrisy is that how is it morally corrupt to reveal the sources, yet the sources themselves are not “morally corrupt” for spilling said info? And how is Sheridan not also “morally corrupt” if he is parading around information that apparently must remain confidential? Something is missing here between the oddsmaker and logic. He defended his “friends” as not being morally corrupt, even though they divulged information that is apparently confidential.
I dig the legal aspect of Sheridan not revealing anything, so I understand that. Again, I do not care that Sheridan did not reveal the source. What bothered me is his arrogance, his hypocrisy, and his Cat in the Hat “look at me now” agenda. I mean, the latter worked. He was able to turn what is typically an accidental stop on my radio dial into a stop-what-I-am-doing moment where I actually paid attention. Granted, I was more curious how deeper he would sink in the quicksand more than if he’d slip up and reveal the name. We all love a good train wreck.
John Carvalho wrote a good piece detailing the entire segment from a sports media perspective, delving into the legal ramifications of it all. But what I found most striking was his point about “trust.”
In the four minutes I was listening, a friend of Sheridan’s from Atlanta called in and tried to defend him, saying Sheridan has the trust of hundreds of people who subscribe to his service. All I could think about is what Bernie Madoff’s clients thought about him the day before he was arrested.
That is a great comparison. I could not draw that comparison while listening yesterday [and really wish I followed Carvalho’s listening habit yesterday], but it all seemed familiar. Maybe there are issues with Sheridan’s credibility, especially since the oddsmaker prefers to surround himself with only “credible” people [i.e. people that agree with him]. It is why Darren Rovell tweeted:
Danny Sheridan has spent more than 25 years building his reputation. Only took 20 minutes to destroy it.
The entire thing is a farce, and Sheridan is loving every minute of it. It is why he keeps offering to take a lie detector test, but only on someone else’s dime. You would think that someone who is telling the truth would be willing to put his money where his mouth is and prove that he is correct. He even said he is willing to take a truth serum. What is this, Harry Potter!?
I’d love for Sheridan to respond to this. I’d love for him to use our “Contact the Uncle” and respond. But he won’t. After all, I am only a “cockroach” hiding behind a screen name on my mom’s computer (although better than hiding behind an attorney). Odds are he will not care about my opinion.
And odds are that Danny Sheridan is an attention whore.