Always wait 24 hours before you decide to do something you might be sorry for later. That was me in deciding whether to post an article here at On the Banks, about a column by MyCentralJersey.com writer Jay Jefferson Cooke. It was a rant - that's my term - under the headline Dismal RU athletics to get more tax money. You can imagine what the tone was.
I'm not going to give you the link because, in all honesty, I don't want to give him more clicks. But I'll give you the gist of the column along with what happened. It all started with a tweet by Gannett's Greg Tufaro about Cooke's column. I like Greg, and it was about Rutgers sports, so I read it.
As a Rutgers alum, I was shaking my head, confirming my sense that Cooke was not only misguided in his thinking, he was out and out wrong in the "facts" he presented. I had read Cooke's stuff a few times, probably a few years back. And I read it then primarily because in reading the paper - yes, the real paper - I came across him serendipitously. Such is the weakness and failing of online journalism. In essence, I wouldn't seek out his writing.
His point was that Rutgers athletics is bad, the Lesniak bill was handing over more state money to a loser, and that RU should consider joining a less competitive league. As if the need for building facilities wouldn't happen there, too.
So, being upset by his misguided and wrong thinking, I tweeted back.
@GregTufaro @JayJCookeCNHNT I know it's an opinion piece but do homewk on details. Try facts to back up prejudged ideas. RAC not replaced— Bob Cancro (@scarknight) January 21, 2016
And then he responded....and it was on. 140 characters at a time. No room for misunderstanding there, right?
@scarknight @GregTufaro Try perhaps explaining what you are talking about! I discussed what Rutgers stated to media regarding plans.— Jay J. Cooke CN/HNT (@JayJCookeCNHNT) January 21, 2016
So, he's saying that what he wrote was based on what Rutgers released to the media. Hmmm. I'll give you some examples of his tweets as we go along, but the reason I wrote the original tweet was because he was wrong. Factually wrong. Forget the opinions; he....was....wrong.
He was wrong on a number of factual points, something someone else pointed out to him.
@JayJCookeCNHNT @scarknight @GregTufaro your opinion aside, column has multiple factual inaccuracies, JJC. Not a good look.— Jeff Goldman (@JeffSGoldman) January 21, 2016
Yet he just dug in harder. To say that Ray Lesniak and Rutgers gave him the information he used can't be correct. The RAC is not being replaced; that fact is all over, yet he defended his right to be absolutely wrong.
@scarknight @GregTufaro PLan to replace is stated by Sen. Lesniak (not me) and previously reported as part of RU plan. Reread what I wrote.— Jay J. Cooke CN/HNT (@JayJCookeCNHNT) January 21, 2016
By the way, I let Senator Lesniak know about that.
He said that Rutgers' sports would not be profitable, something I challenged him on because he gave us no chance of success.
@scarknight @GregTufaro I do not say anywhere "never succeed" or "never make a profit." Perhaps you are reading someone else's work ...— Jay J. Cooke CN/HNT (@JayJCookeCNHNT) January 21, 2016
Ooooh, ya got me. You never said "never". What he did say was:
There is absolutely no reason to believe that Rutgers' so-called revenue sports have the potential to break even, never mind make a profit.
Sounds like he said they won't make a profit, doesn't it. But he wanted to be petty and argue over my use of the word "never". Which, as I re-read his tweet, he did use.
He went on to say that there would be more expected financially from students and the state in order to make use of Lesniak's tax credits legislation. Cooke's comment:
Rutgers would be required to contribute at least 20 percent of the cost and would have to make use of the credits within five years. But here's the rub: where in the world is Rutgers going to get the 20 percent? (Hint: the New Jersey taxpayer and the undergraduate-student fee structure -- OK, that's not a hint, it's the answer.)
I guess he missed Pat Hobbs' video.
Cooke said that Rutgers was invited to the Big Ten because it was part of the New York region and it brought TV screens to BTN. And that point has been shown to be true. But I guess he doesn't believe it. Apparently, he doesn't know geography because he states:
The problem is, there really isn't a New York metropolitan area big [sic] school to provide the New York market. Because despite the Unreasonable Rutgers Jingoists' fantasies, Rutgers is not a New York market school.
Really? He should look at a map once in a while. This link would work well.
Maybe the folks at Gannett need to keep people who have other interests and lack knowledge out of the sports area. It's bad for them, bad for Rutgers, and bad for business. He got his clicks. He'll never get them from me again.