Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mike Leach: Go Away and SHUT UP!!!

Fired Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach
is just the kind of fellow who's so easy to dislike.
Mike Leach is a world class idiot. To hear his excuses and attempts to pass the blame for his conduct, forcing player, Adam James into isolated confinement in a shed after suffering a concussion reflects a kind of irresponsibility and a bully mentality that has no place from any kind of leader in American society much less scholastic football where building character is one of a coach’s most important responsibilities. If a coach deems a player is not putting forth sufficient effort, there are plenty of forceful acceptable ways to handle the situation, but what kind of discipline can be justified of any sort when a player had just suffered a head injury no matter how mild or what circumstances led to the injury. Sports fans would have to be living under a rock not to know that concussions are very serious business in today’s world as witnessed by how the NFL has recently stepped up its attention to be sure players are not forced to play or practice until they are cleared by responsible medical professionals to resume.

Reports indicate that James was injured during team practice on December 16th. He reported to practice the afternoon of December 17th after being treated by a doctor for his concussion not dressed for practice at which time Leach directed James to be confined in an equipment shed. Two days later, James returned to practice dressed appropriately and then was confined to a media interview room. Leach was reported to have launched a tirade of obscenities in scolding James on both occasions. James was told if he were to leave his confinement he would be kicked off the team.

When the episode was reported to University officials, they directed Leach to take appropriate measures to correct his behavior including apologizing to James. He refused. Initially Leach was suspended, but for his absolute insolence and lack of cooperation the University fired him.

For some it is noteworthy that Adam James is the son of Craig James, currently an ESPN commentator and former NFL player. Craig James was involved in seeking remedy for how his son was treated.

While the way Leach treated James was absolutely unacceptable by any measure, the university appeared to give him every opportunity to resolve the incident and make amends. Once dismissed, Leach’s statements reveal a personality and attitude reflecting total lack of character accepting no responsibility whatsoever for his behavior, viciously trashing the student athlete, and assailing Craig James as being a meddlesome parent using his status to throw his weight around to influence the school’s decision making. He went on to accuse James of demanding preferential treatment for his son and insists that the school fired him so they could escape continuing his contract which would have continued if he reported to work the following week.

Leach is no stranger to being in the hot seat for shooting off his mouth when earlier in the year assailed his players after losing to Texas A&M for “listening to their fat little girlfriends.”

He accused James of being “lazy” and having “a sense of entitlement” who’d fall back on having his father intervene on his behalf. Through the course of the interview Leach had harsh words for both Craig James and the university. He continued his inflammatory statements to other media outlets including the New York Times, again taking swipes at Craig James.

Meanwhile, James denied all special relationships with the university and refused to get embroiled in the controversy other than to point out what happened to his son.

Making matters worse for Leach are statements from others including the team’s trainer that denied the fired coach’s contentions.

Mike Leach is a world class moron on several accounts. First, his failure to take the matter of head injuries seriously and treating an injured player the way he did is an extremely grave matter. Coaches on all levels must put health concerns paramount above all else.

The contemptuous attitude, sarcasm, and mocking tone of Leach’s remarks about a college student on his team, the student’s father, and the school administration show a lack of self control and serious character lapses indicating he simply does not have the emotional makeup or character to be deserving of a leadership position.

Leach also presents a contemptible pseudo-tough guy image, a kind of distorted macho impulse that serves as a terrible example to the young men on his team not only in his comments from the Adam James incident but also statements like “fat little girl friends” from earlier in the year. While some bravado might be appropriate in the heat of battle, there is a kind of sickly chauvinism displayed here that should not be tolerated.

It’s sad to note that the university clearly wanted to give Leach a chance to make amends for his behavior and continue to serve as coach. Not only did Leach burn his bridges, he bombed the city to which the bridge led. It’s hard to imagine as such he’s likely to get a job coaching in a major football program again. However, in this competitive world, if some team sees hiring him as a coordinator or assistant coach, he could resurface again.

While we would generally mock the concept of sensitivity training, if there were ever a person for whom such a program would seem desirable, Mike Leach is the man. Unless and until he shows some contrition for his behavior, he deserves the banishment from sports he has forced upon himself.

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