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Posted on Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 11:24 a.m. regrets inappropriate remark made during live chat

By Tony Dearing has high standards for its journalists, and an incident occurred Monday that did not meet our standards.

During a live chat on the site, University of Michigan football reporter Dave Birkett made an inappropriate remark relating to a player recruited to play for the Wolverines.

The comment involved Demar Dorsey, a blue-chip high school player from Florida who was arrested for burglaries during his teen-age years, but never convicted of any crime. He comes to Michigan with no criminal record and deserves to be treated as such.

During Monday's live chat, Birkett briefly left the discussion to allow a repairman into his home. When he returned, he explained why he was away. A participant in the chat, using the screen name "Demar'' made a joking remark about planning to come over to Birkett's home. The comment was screened, and did not appear in the chat. But Birkett thought it was being posted in the chat and responded: "And thanks Demar, I'll see you here shortly. No need to bring your crowbar.''

The fact that people following the chat did not see the comment from "Demar'' made Birkett's comment seem even more inappropriate, but it was inappropriate in any case.

Birkett is a veteran journalist with significant experience covering major college and professional sports. This remark was not typical of him, and does not reflect the good judgment that we want our journalists to demonstrate. regrets the remark and does not expect something like this to occur again.


Nunya Bizness

Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 12:07 a.m.

Jim Knight you are complete moronic douchebag. i bet you graduated from O$U or Michigan State right? idiot!

Charlie S

Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 10:47 p.m.

Count me as another former reader of


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 8:12 p.m.

Sue him for millions!!!!

scooter dog

Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 7:22 p.m.

Loose lips sink ships,so he made a mistake,forget it and move on.I am sure he is sorry it happened.


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 10:07 a.m.

To all those commenting, this site is merely a forum and really does not compare to any type of tier 1 journalism outfit. Get used to it and accept it as such.


Wed, Mar 17, 2010 : 5:51 p.m.



Wed, Mar 17, 2010 : 5:21 p.m.

This half-hearted apology doesn't cut it with me. What Birkett said was totally unprofessional. If it is indeed regrettable why isn't he the one making the apology? He should also be required to make an apology directly to Demar Dorsy. Anything less is unacceptable. Does anyone at even realize what town you work in and represent? Honest, truthful reporting is one thing but when a journalist who represents them crosses the line not once but twice something more than an apology is warranted.


Wed, Mar 17, 2010 : 8:56 a.m.

When someone appeals to The Big Lead to defend your work, things have gone terribly wrong.

Courtney Sims

Wed, Mar 17, 2010 : 6:37 a.m.

What kind of a joke of a "news" organization goes to these lengths to appease a bunch of angry fans. Given the context, there was nothing wrong with the quote. The Big Lead is absolutely right.

Alan Benard

Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 8:11 p.m.

There's two kinds of online content: Edited and non-edited. The edited kind is worthwhile. Tying your name and reputation as a news organ to unedited content harms your credibility.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 5:24 p.m.

I believe the saying goes dont throw rocks if you live in a glass staff you should take a second look in the mirror and reflect on your coverage of all the issues with Coach RodWould you as a staff accept an apology from the U of M along the lines of Coach Rod is an excellent coach with a proven track record and we assure you this incident will never happen again? Most likely you wouldnt so why arent the same standards being applied to Birkett? I strongly suggest any true U of M football fans check out and get of this Jerry Springer crud like or the Freepress


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 3:37 p.m.

tomhagan cracks me up. I'm sure Florida and USC also recruited (and offered) Demar Dorsey out of desparation. I mean, what use does Michigan have for a stud safety recruit anyway?

Blue Marker

Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 2:15 p.m.

I can't help but wonder if would have even done this half-hearted apology if not for Brian Cook over at mgoblog pointing the whole thing out. Birkett has an axe to grid just like Sharp, Rosenberg and Snyder. You could tell that by his outburst at the press conference. Maybe he should cover t-ball for a while.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 2:14 p.m.

This website has been garbage long before this incident. As a real fan of Michigan and a guy who grew up and still lives in Ann Arbor all that I can say is I don't need it. From Ann to Jim Carty to the Detroit free press and to every clown hiding behind his keyboard, no thanks. If you are to immature to endure a huge change with our program then beat it. I don't care if you went to school here and donate your children to the program, can it. This just in, the program has been hurting for the last eight or nine years. Decisions we could not control were made and now we have to wait it out. We may go 4-8 next year, maybe 10-2. You do not know, either do I. I refuse to come on here and make more problems for our program and our community. I wish some of you could do the same. As for Birkett, what a surprise. He conducts himself like a child in the pieces he writes so why would he not act like a 14 year old when conducting a live chat. These are kids people, young adults. Maybe if half the posters on here handled themselves in a more mature fashion we could all stop complaining and enjoy the hard work these players and coached put in.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 2:05 p.m.

uuhh, no cindy my comments weren't direct to or about Demar.... they were a message to birkett. he is the one who made the comment about the criminal tool. do you even know what he said???? birkett, i think that demar is going to have the last laugh in all of this. your comments are not going to be well received by Brandon, MSC, RR and the rest of the team/staff. maybe before you LEAVE you will learn a thing or two about integrity, ethics, and where to leave you biased opinion before you write a piece on the football team. you OWE MR. Dorsey ( yeah, the high school kid ) a huge apology. hey hagen....where you been??? mgoblog has really missed your epic meltdowns.... good luck trying to do YOUR "job."


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 2:05 p.m.

"Birkett has officially lowered his credibility to that of a common blogger." Personally that's all I take Sports "journalists" for anyway. I have had comments removed by him for no real reason I could see why wacky poetry and utter zaniness abounds. Anythihg in the sports section holds different rules than any other part of Doesn't really bother me...just the way it is.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 1:38 p.m.

Birkett has officially lowered his credibility to that of a common blogger. One of the principal tenets of journalism is to report the story, not become part of it. Birkett became the story. His motives seemed to manifest during the press conference on NSD. It emerged again. The lines between journalism and epinionist have been blurred by the numerous information online sites but it should never be considered blurred by those claiming to be news outlets or journalists. If is credible it should strive to improve and protect journalism rather than be a place that invites or harbors biasness and slander with its staff. Unfortunately, Birkett should be replaced.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 1:06 p.m.

To Nathan and everyone else insisting on giving Birkett a second chance: couldn't agree more. You deserve to be shown grace in life. That is exactly what Mr. Birkett failed to do in his poorly considered (and executed) joke, and also what he failed to do during the press conference when he asked Rodriguez a mind-numbingly prolonged series of similar questions about Dorsey. Birkett came off as smug, self-righteous, and tone-deaf then, and continues to come off that way in his Twitter account where he has not apologized and asserts that any offense is the fault of the reader for being spared the full context. And to crabby Mr. Hagan, the joke was not innocuous to its target, who is engaged in a daily fight to rewrite his personal history while enduring the judgment and mockery of those who do not think he is capable of succeeding at a place like UM. This one episode does not warrant firing Birkett, but his generally aggressive and immature demeanor suggests that Ann probably could do better. Ann Arbor is a college town. UM is a football school. Why would an AA news service employ a sportswriter who looks 25 and cannot hide his contempt for the football team? Mr. Birkett's slip-up is not a grave scandal in itself, just the latest evidence that he was a poor hire or is improperly assigned.

al hunter

Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 1:04 p.m.

I don't think firing is neccesary. Just put him on the East lansing staff and get us someone who is at least not ANTI UofM


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 1 p.m.

Mr. Birkett's comment was in extremely bad taste and I would think someone with his experience would know better. It is he who should be writing the apology unless there has been a suspension of his services from Anyone can make a mistake just own up to it and apologize then move on. Demar Dorsey was not recruited out of desperation (tom hagan)but because of his talent. He deserves to be treated better especially by the unbiased members of the media.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 12:57 p.m.

I respectfully think the issue here is not the reporter but the student. It is reprehensible that a student gets dragged through this kind of thing. As a parent, I cannot imagine what my rage would be like if my child was put through this. The apology should not come from an editor and be to readers. Birkett should ask for a meeting with the student and his parents and personally apologize for making that kind of comment about him for the world to read. I wonder if Birkett has children. Here this kid wants to come to one of the world's great institutions to follow his dream of playing sports. He is getting away from bad influences. And then this. Unreal. Shameful.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 12:53 p.m.

last post mean for tomhagan.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 12:49 p.m. really can't be serious. Glen Winston, Kelly Baraka, Charles Rogers ect. are all players Uof and MSU recruited w/ actual CONVICTIONS and crminal backgrounds. Was that out of desperation? You guys really are showing your true colors here, and I really do wonder how you would feel if this were your own kid. Hiring a msu grad who used to cover msu fball and make no intention to mask his love for the spartans as michigan fball beat writer, well, its no wonder u guys are losing readership. Us UofM fans deserve better, we deserve fair and balanced reporting. instead, two days before spring practice, we get 4 articles that tell us nothing new on the ncaa investigation, which MOST of us can agree is the equivalent of spilled milk when it comes to ncaa rule breaking and being major in name only. I hope you guys up your standards b/c you are 'professionals' only amongst yourselves.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 12:41 p.m.

Honestly, to everyone here using the term journalist in snarky air quotes: unless you work in the field youself, you really have no platform from which to speak. While, yes, someone speaking in the public eye has a greater responsibility, nobody should ever be held to the standards being presented in these comments. The anonymity of the Internet allows people to speak from positions of authority even when they have none. To all of you posting that he should be fired: How would you handle being in the same position? Would you think it appropriate for your coworkers to demand your resignation for an off-hand, but innocuous comment that got taken out of context because part of the information was not available to them? I think you'll find the situation at hand requires that more level heads prevail, and I commend the staff for handling the situation in a level-headed manner.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 12:38 p.m.

It appears that Dave's innocuous comment in a chat and AA's subsequent apology has touched off the hyper sensitive Rich Rod Mafia's antennas. Wow, you guys really are digging for anything when your paranoia reaches a joke that a reporter made on a live chat. OK then Rich Rod Mafia, demand the firing of Dave.... but in reality, it is your "King" that recruited this kid out of desperation...and as usual, it all goes back to the actions of your "King" doesnt it? well OK then..., Ill borrow some words from your King: Get a Life.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 12:31 p.m.

Obviously Dave lacks integrity, class and any sense of professionalism. And now Tony the regretless, thoughtless, apologist is trying to justify the remark somehow by trying to quantify the level of appropriateness? Tony, genuine apologizes dont come from a spokesman with even the slightest hints of excuses or justifications. This apology sounds forced. I dont believe anyone at is even the least bit sorry. Now, if the cowardly Dave wants to apologize to someone, apologize to the college student. Otherwise its meaningless. Also, stating that has high standards for journalism seems to be somewhat inaccurate, wouldnt you say? Actually having something requires proof. The evidence in this case seems to contradict that statement. If you said, weve fined/suspended/terminated Dave because we dont approve of his actionsthen that sends the right message.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 12:28 p.m.

Unfortunate? Regrettable? Yes. Surprising? Well, not really, and I don't mean this specifically about the reporter being discussed. - This is the format you chose - live chats, blogs, and anonymous online user comments. There really is no excuse to say inappropriate things, but you will have to manage it more often. Perhaps its time that all contributors (including myself) use real identities that we cant hide behind, and perhaps the professionals working on staff may need to resort to old fashion formats.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 12:24 p.m.

Apparently Mr. Birkett didn't realize that his own alma mater recruited players with actual CONVICTIONS on their record (Glen Winston, Charles Rogers) and that UofM HAS recruited players w/ sketchy backgrounds before (Kelly Baraka is one of many that come to mind). The fact that he is taking cheap shots at a 17 yr old kid, and acting like this is a new revelation in college fball is exactly why people are saying Mr Birkett has been writing with a hidden agenda. Please post one positive Rich Rod article of his and I will give you 10 of his that bash the guy. I really dont understand how didnt make Birkett issue the apology himself.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 12:12 p.m.

I agree with what most other people are saying in their comments: The fact Mr. Birkett will now keep such remarks in the closet is not the issue. The issue is that he holds such inappropriate viewpoints and those viewpoints will infect his reporting in far subtler ways. He is no longer a credible in his reporting on Michigan athletics and should be removed to some other area of the paper. Is it just me or is it weird the sports editor is from Ohio State, and the two Michigan reporters are from Notre Dame and MSU? If you want to trash UofM, start a blog or go work for another paper that lacks integrity. Us UofM are gettig sick and tired of having are team uncovered fairly and trashed on by the local writers. Dont forget it us that is your viewership and thus indirectly paying your bills. UofM isnt above criticism, but this instance is just one in a long line of many that Birkett has gone out of his way, leaving biasedness, integrity, ect. at the door and pushing his own agenda. Shame on you Dave Birkett


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 11:41 a.m.

The fact Mr. Birkett will now keep such remarks in the closet is not the issue. The issue is that he holds such inappropriate viewpoints and those viewpoints will infect his reporting in far subtler ways. He is no longer a credible in his reporting on Michigan athletics and should be removed to some other area of the paper.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 11:31 a.m.

Unless this 'journalist' has been fired, I don't understand why he is not writing this. Did you ask him too, and he told you no? Doesn't seem like he's very sorry, but now we are certain at least YOU are.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 11:31 a.m.

Why doesn't DB man up and apologize himself? He needs an editor or likely the AA PR guy to do it for him? I for one am boycotting anything he writes and will visit this site far less often. Hopefully, RR and the University will restrict DB's access as he is biased and has little readership (even less now). Thanks to MGoBlog for pointing this out to me!


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 11:30 a.m.

Hey, This is what a Michigan fan wants from a UofM reporter. We want that person to support our program and student athlete's 110%. We want them to report the unbiased facts and leave their personal opinions to themselves. You know what they say, "Opinions are like Dave Birkett, everyone has one.." If you want to bash our players/team, go write for We want to hear the POSITIVE things going on with our student athletes. Leave the negative B.S. jounalism to the jerks over at the Free Press. Otherwise, real Michigan fans will start to boycott this site, like they are the Free Press.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

How about a direct apology from Birkett to Dorsey? That's the only thing that gives him back any credit as a journalist.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 11:12 a.m.

Don't you think RR got Demar Dorsey's assurance that an incident like his wouldn't occur in the future? That didn't stop Birkett for going after him. WELL DONE A2 WELL DONE


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 11:10 a.m.

Mr. Dearing it has become more and more apparent that the way your site is trying to generate interest is through the negative. Like I posted yesterday before it was deleted, I click on the Michigan Football link and 1 see an article on State Basketball first (seems like you would have a webmaster that was smart enough to put that in a correct area?) and then 4 rehashed articles about the investigation followed by a completely moronic poll if we care spring practice is starting...its rediculous. Yes, the investigation deserves to be reported on, but come on, on sunday 4 articles by 4 different "reporters" and not one of them with new information. Either someone is not managing the group well and putting all of these articles on at the same time or this is all that the staff is focusing on. I am sorry but as fans of Michigan Sports you are loosing us at a rapid pace. You are in tough situation now because you are losing any credibility you had quickly because your lead guy for UofM football clearly has an agenda and isn't smart enough to keep that agenda to himself and crosses the line in a chat and calls out a 17 year old based on 0 facts--class act. Good luck to I can guarantee this isn't good for buisness. Some Changes are needed at, we will see if the leadership recognizes this before it is too late. I am not suggesting anyone should lose their job, but maybe the job title and responsibilities need to change.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 10:59 a.m.

I'd like to offer an apology myself. I'm sorry that is a flaming piece of poo.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 10:57 a.m.

real classy Birkett.. real classy.. somebody can this clown

Mike Hulsebus

Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 10:57 a.m.

Not a big deal.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 10:53 a.m.

Don't you think RR got Demar Dorsey's assurance that an incident like his wouldn't occur in the future? That didn't stop Birkett for going after him.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 10:40 a.m.

Dearing answer the question! Are you willing to take the risk on a kid like Birkett doing something like this agian?


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 10:39 a.m.

class act all the way.....


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 10:37 a.m.

True colors are starting to show....unbiased reporting yeah right.


Tue, Mar 16, 2010 : 10:36 a.m.

Are you willing to put your job on the line that this will not happen again? You said you wouldn't let journalists do this? I have the Quote right here.