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Leaches and other blood suckers 12/30/2009

Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
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Well, Texas Tech did it.  They fired football coach Mike Leach today, mere moments before a hearing to determine if an injunction would be placed against the school

There will be no more rides at TT for Leach

 allowing the suspended Leach to coach in the Alamo Bowl.  And, by the way, he would also qualify for an $800,000 bonus from the school.  The issues at Texas Tech go much deeper than the incident with wide receiver Adam James.  James claimed he had been abused because he had a concussion.  He was punished by being locked in a shed and an electrical closet.

It turns out that the ‘abuse’ may not be as draconian as has been presented.  The electrical closet is an air-conditioned interview room, and the shed is a place where players go during practice to get out of the sun and the heat.  It also appears that James has a history of being  disciplined for lack of effort, and that James and his dad, ESPN analyst Craig James, were upset about a lack of playing time.  In addition, e-mails have surfaced outlining a disciplining of James just two days before the mild concussion appeared and  accusations by teammates that James dogged it during summer workouts and more.  (Read the e-mails here: http://dennis-dodd.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/6270202/19238949  .)  Given the back ground, it may not be unwarranted that a player, even with a mild concussion, be monitored during times where he would otherwise be compelled to be with the football team.  Reportedly, there were up to 3 people with James the younger while he was required to be under team supervision, and that he was medically cleared for the ‘workouts’ he was given.  

Before I move on to the previous issues between Leach and TT, let me ask why the hell Craig James was given a platform on ESPN to

ESPN allowed Craig James to use their platform for his own purposes without any apparant journalistic oversite or balance

trash Leach?  He told his side of the story as a ‘concerned parent,’  but unlike any other parent in that  situation, there was no interview conducted.  James failed to point out that he has issues with playing time.  No one was there ask any questions of their buddy.  Real professional journalism there, ESPN.  Outside the lines presented the argument that Leach appeared to not believe the concussion claim.  I have seen no such evidence presented.  Also on the same program one of their guests proclaimed that TT had evidence of abuse against Leach in the James case and “perhaps other players, too.”  In fact, I have seen no evidence presented by the University at all.  We have heard of no other incidents, yet ESPN seems to want to bury this man.  Leach’s lawyer has denied any wrong doing by his client, yet OTL forgets, again, to be balanced and present that fact.  Apparently journalism 101 is not a prerequisite to host an ‘investigative’ show on ESPN. 

Now, remember the strange dance Leach and TT did earlier this season.  First, remember that Leach is the most successful coach in TT history.   TT wanted some unusual things from their coach.  They wanted his speaking monies.  They wanted a punitive buy out clause.  Much more punitive than the norm in college football.  They also played out the negotiations in public.  Is it possible that they did not want their coach back, but felt trapped by his success?  The timing and ferocity and speed of their actions this week appear to lend credence to that theory.  It certainly appears that they were in a rush to fire Leach before the $800,000 bonus kicked in. 

It may be that Leach is a bad dude.  No amount of wins allows anyone the right to abuse a player.   But in the Kansas case, for example, stories of other abuses surfaced almost immediately.  It was apparent that there may have been a systemic problem.  But that has, so far at least, not happened here.  Is it possible that Leach did something inappropriate but still feel he did nothing wrong?  Yes.  But, apparently, that is more difficult to believe than to think that some self-serving, entitled kid and his dad, who happens to have a microphone are being used by a University looking for a reason to get rid of a coach they did not want.

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