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Zac Lee's Broken Hand - How Internet Rumors Get Started In Nebraska

Earlier today there were rumors swirling around that Zac Lee had a broken hand. Or wrist. Maybe he was in a body cast. Hard to tell now, maybe he was near death due to a flea infestation. 

The rumor started here. It started the way internet rumors always start. 

I heard from a co-worker.....  or aunt.... or (my favorite) "someone inside the program"..... that such and such had a broken ..... got caught for .... was arrested for.... had sex with..... 

Then the rumors grew some legs because the radio stations picked up on it and put it out as a rumor. That only fed the message board some more, because if the radio stations had picked it up, the assumption is that it came from somewhere else, aha! Another source! 

The injury rumor made sense because it rationalized Zac Lee's poor performance during the second half against Virginia Tech. It also explained by Bo Pelini didn't make Lee available to the media after the game. Unfortunately, the facts are that Lee had a crappy day and Pelini despises dealing with the media. 

Unfortunately, the fun came to an end as the Husker Extra blog confirmed that Zac Lee is fine, if by fine you mean you mean he'll start again next week even though many think that Cody Green is an adequate if not better replacement despite knowing only a small teeny fraction of the offense.  

So, what's to learn from this? 

- Nebraska is a small place. Well, in terms of population. Because of that, nearly everyone knows someone "in the know" or "inside the program". Remember that walk-on connection to all the small towns? It works. Next time someone tells you something second-hand I'd recommend you take it with a grain of salt. Or a swig of beer. Your choice. 

- Another option is to run the rumor through the bullshit test. At any point during the game did we see Lee suffer an injury to his wrist or hand? No. Did anyone report seeing Lee with a cast on as he left the stadium, got on the plane and maybe as he went back to his house or walked around campus? No. He must have had a body double doing all that for him, while he was hiding under Ndamukong Suh

The bottom line on the bullshit test - if it's something that no one else knows, truly "inside information" - then it's probably bullshit. The only people who know "inside information" are the insiders. And if they tell you something and you post it on a message board or on a web site, then they're never going to tell you anything ever again, perhaps because they'll be dead after the Pelini brothers take care of them. Potential death is a very powerful motivator.

Perhaps that's what happened to Lee. Pelini suggested his arm hurt, so it did until Pelini suggested it didn't hurt anymore. That explanation is as viable as any other. 

- The regular media is in a great position with regards to these things, aren't they? KFAB and 1620 The Zone both reported "hearing something" about a starter with an injury. Now that it's been confirmed as untrue, regular media folks can once again climb up in their tower and blame the swirling black hell that is the internet despite continually using it for information. Few people in the media know more than you or me (see aforementioned Pelini despising the media reference) and if they do, they're normally told it's "off the record", which means if they speak of it, well, that's not good either (see aforementioned Pelini brothers and killings). 

I'm going to run off with Barney Cotton to a secret secluded place so I can spend some time alone with him. Funny how that sounds, isn't it? It'll happen, too, just as soon as I convince him to go on a Canadian fishing trip with me and hunt down some damned good muskies. Maybe not Barney Cotton though. He's really big, and would probably drink all the beer. The Pelinis are out, Canadian muskies will eat humans. Ah, hell, maybe I'll just buy a fishing video game and pretend Barney Cotton is sitting next to me. 

You're free to pass the first sentence around, though, just to see where it goes. 

[UPDATE!!!!!!!! - 5:45 PM - The Omaha Weird Herald reports that Zac Lee is sitting out practice with a protective device on his non-throwing hand. Apparently when Pelini says "fine" it means - "not hospitalized". Hey, maybe you should be paying more attention to the internet!]

[Another Update - 10:00 PM - Pelini states that Lee sat out practice because of a medication issue, and that he has "just a little splinter" on his non-throwing hand. So.... there you go. ]