[Ed. Originally posted Feb 7 2011, I'm moving this up front due to the 30th Anniversary]

I’ve been digging out a few interesting old stories on the periphery of Michigan football in recent days and here’s another story I think you’ll like.

You know Bob Wojnowski of course, the long time Detroit News columnist and the Nutter Butter-gobbling co-host of the great ‘Stoney and Wojo’ radio show from 1995 to 2009.

Wojo is a Michigan grad and cut his journalistic teeth at the Michigan Daily three decades ago.  In one of his final assignments as sports editor, he and Daily photographer Brian Masck became part of the story back in 1982 after they spent a few hours in a Columbus jail.

After midnight on November 20, 1982, the evening before The Game, the two were down on High Street taking in the sights and sounds with a few of their peers from The Lantern.  When a pickled reveler started cussing out the police monitoring the scene, the cops got rough–brutally shoving him up against a wall.  Masck questioned the police tactics and whipped out his camera hoping to capture the scene.

When the cops told him to put away the camera, Masck challenged the legality of such a request and was arrested.  The Daily later published this shot, the best Masck could manage:

masck photo

Meanwhile, Wojo saw this go down and protested Brian’s arrest (and also tried to fetch the car keys in Masck’s pocket).  Wojo was promptly arrested as well.

They spent a few hours in the Columbus clink before being released around 6 a.m.

Fast forward to the early 1983.   Once the “charges” were dropped against he and Masck, Wojo dropped this guest opinion piece/bomb (he was no longer editor) into the March 22, 1983 Daily.  I was going to highlight a few sections but it’s too good.  For those who have heard the story before I still encourage you to read this piece of vintage Wojo from the aftermath of this incident:

wojo-82

I’ll have a pretty interesting follow-up in the next couple days [Ed. It’s posted now]. I reached out and exchanged a few emails with Masck about all this and he shared some great stuff.  I asked him (not being snarky, I was generally curious) why he had his camera at with him at 1am-ish on High Street, back when cameras didn’t fit in your pocket of course.   You’ll love his answer.

Related:
Part II
High Street Blues (‘82 Daily arrests – Part Two)

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[Ed. Originally posted Feb 7 2011, I'm moving this up front due to the 30th Anniversary]

If you haven’t, take a look at the first post on the events & aftermath of the 1982 jailing of then-Michigan Daily editor Bob ‘Wojo’ Wojnowski and photographer Brian Masck in Columbus, the night before The Game that season.  Bob’s 1983 opinion piece on all of this is one for the books.

You may have heard Wojo comment recall that night over the years, but I’m not sure how many people have heard from Masck—the guy who first stepped in to question (and photograph) the police before he was arrested.

Recently we swapped a few emails about those events and he shared some great stuff.  Other than to ask him about any lingering memories or collateral, I was generally curious why he had a camera with him after 1 AM on High Street the night before the game.  Of course you couldn’t fit a decent camera in your pocket in 1982.

“I learned as a freshman that it was important to have a camera ready to shoot because, on April 18, 1981, I was the only photographer to capture the arrest of student/gunman Leo Kelly being led to a squad car in front of my dorm, Bursley Hall,” Masck shared via email.   “Kelly was convicted in the murder of students Edward Siwik and Douglas McGreaham.  The photograph was published around the world.  So I carried a camera everywhere and tried to be prepared to shoot when news happened.”

Here’s Masck’s photo of Leo Kelly during those horrifying days on campus:

leo_kelly_brian_masck_photo

That’s not the only Masck photo that’s been seen around the world.  If you are reading this post there’s a 99.4% chance you have a vague familiarity another one of his photos:

masck_desmond

Thought so.

On that night in Columbus, thanks to the cops, Masck didn’t get the shot he wanted.  But the police were concerned enough to seize the camera and arrest him despite the protests from he and Wojo who made it known they were journalists.

“Today, with cell phone cameras, that incident would have been on YouTube before we made it to the lockup,” Masck told me.  “Boy, how technology has improved the sharing of information.”

“On the other front, we continue to witness media arrests in insignificant things like our High Street arrest, but just last week in Egypt where an attempt to silence/blame journalists failed to produce the desired results.  Big events or small, the easiest target may be the journalist. Without images of an event and credible reportage, the truth can be easily hidden.  [It’s a] struggle that won’t likely end.”

These days Masck is co-owner of Media Café Online, LLC a small Internet/Media company in Linden, Michigan—a safe distance from the jurisdiction of the Columbus police.

Related:
* Part I: Low Point on High Street (1982)

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So I went over to the Columbus’ 97.1 The Fan website to find the audio of Rich Rodriguez’s call today, and stumbled on this.  Jamie Morris, Michigan football legend, WTKA Sunday radio host and most importantly an official within the U-M athletic department spoke to the Columbus host (Bruce Hooley…Chris Spielman was away) about the upcoming Ohio State game, but also answered a few questions about Rodriguez and Jim Harbaugh.

My frustration with Morris on WTKA is that he’s been such a company man towing the company line on WTKA, that it’s prevented him from offering actual opinions.  But give this is listen as Morris gets candid.

I don’t know if this is just Jamie measuring his words, but he didn’t exactly serve up a wild endorsement of Rodriguez and admitted that Harbaugh would be welcomed back to U-M if he were the Michigan football coach at some point beyond RR’s tenure.  It’s not so much what he said, but that Morris never says anything remotely beyond the company line.

Give this a listen, it gets interesting about 3 minutes in:

.

Notes/Quotes:

  • For starters, he referred to Harbaugh as “Jimmy” instead of “traitor”.
  • Hooley asked for a general sense of the radio caller support for Rodriguez.  Morris: “I think we’re at a 50/50 split now…”
  • When asked about whether he’d support anybody as coach (as a Michigan man), and whether he supports this Michigan coach.   Morris pauses and says, “I believe in Michigan.”  He added, “I’m in favor of him.  I believe in Rich Rodriguez and I believe in Michigan.  So I’m lining up behind him and I’m going to go with him and I’m going to believe in him and I’m looking for a big Michigan victory.”
  • Morris is asked about whether the former players support Rodriguez.  Morris: “You know what? The guys respect the position.  A lot of guys that I played with, the guys I talk to..they played for Bo Schembechler so they respect that position.”
  • Then there was this:

Hooley: “Do you think if Michigan loses the game Saturday, do you see any way Rich is not there next year?” 

Morris: “[long pause] You know that’s tough.  You know what?  I think what people want is Michigan football.  They want hard fought plays.  They want a team that goes out there and that performs at the highest level and give everything they got, win or lose.  And then you just let the chips fall where they may.”

Hooley: “Do you think that’s what they’re getting now?”

Morris: “Well…[pause]…not all the time Bruce.  I don’t think so but I’ll tell you what..”

Hooley: “It’s hard to say that when they are 1-6 in the Big Ten I’m sure.”

Morris: “Right.  It’s tough.  But you know what?  Are they getting better?  Yes.  Do I see them getting better?  Yes.  But I’m not your typical fan.  I’m not the guy that’s going to be watching for the long plays and everything.  I’m watching the guys up front; I’m seeing what they’re doing.   I know what we have and I know what these guys are capable of doing.”

Morris:  “Jim Harbaugh is the head football coach for Stanford.  If we were to go a different direction and Jim Harbaugh becomes the Michigan coach, he’d be a welcome addition.  But right now, it’s Rich Rodriguez.  It’s Rich Rodriguez right now and that’s who we’re behind.  So, if you want to talk about Jim Harbaugh, I think Jim Harbaugh’s doing a wonderful job at Stanford and like you say, he’s beat USC two out of the three years he’s been there, which is great.  Makes great for the resume.  But until Rich Rodriguez is fired, or he resigns or whatever, I’m not going to talk about Jim Harbaugh being in the Michigan family as the head football coach, but he was a great quarterback here.”

Hooley:  “If Rich was fired, would Harbaugh be a popular choice?”

Morris: “Oh, without a doubt.  Sure.  He’d be dynamic, he’d do the things like you said…Jim’s a go-getter.  But like I said, Jim Harbaugh’s worried about making it to the Rose Bowl from the Pac 10 side.”

Interesting comments from J-Mo.  The biggest thing that got me, maybe shocked me, was hesitation and in the end, non-response when asked about the possibility of RR not returning.  If nothing else, it looks his feud with Harbaugh (Morris in 2007 “He used to have a contact here at the Athletic Department, but obviously he doesn’t anymore.”) is over.