And…?: Rivals.com Makes a Mountain out of a Mole Hill

Usually I do not take a moment to comment on non-stories, but this one aggravates me enough that I thought I would write something.

Rivals.com has “obtained” video of former Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach berating his players.  There is a brief snippet of him trying to get some players to focus solely on the game after a win over Kansas.  That 58-second clip is directed at what he calls “God squad” guys.

Leach might have said a "dirty word" in front of his players. Oh, no!

The longer clip is one after a narrow win over Baylor.  In this one, he goes off on his team thinking they are entitled due the success of the 2008 team that won 11 games.  He points out that some players think that they are too good to play teams like Houston and better than teams like Baylor.  This rant goes on for almost seven minutes.

I would say watch the videos, but it is a waste of time.  I watched thinking it might be something damning, but it was par for the course for any coach.  But, I write that it is a waste of time for two reasons.

  1. Rivals.com obviously showed only the parts that they found relevant.  Because the article is focusing on Leach berating his players, they do not show any positive things that might have been said by the coach before or after the rants.  He could have spent 20 minutes congratulating his players; we do not know because of selective journalism.  Additionally, are we to believe that, of Texas Tech’s 12 regular season games, these were the only two pieces of locker room video that Rivals.com could obtain?
  2. What coach does not ride their players for slacking off?  C’mon, Rivals!  Certainly they have been in a locker room before.  “Oh, no!  A coach dropped a few f-bombs!”  I’ve seen Pop Warner coaches get more fired up at his players for mistakes, although no expletives were fired off.  Imagine what Alabama coach Nick Saban was saying at halftime of the 2009 Iron Bowl…or after the Sugar Bowl loss to Utah.  I guarantee that coaches in all collegiate sports — from Mike Krzyzewski to Mike Martin (look him up) — get irate from time to time.

This is a non-story that Rivals.com and Yahoo! are attempting to turn into a story with Leach set to face questions from Texas Tech attorneys today [12 March 2010].

Additionally, the author of the article Chip Brown seemed to go out of his way to note how Rivals.com obtained the footage (emphasis added):

The videos, taken by a Texas Tech film crew inside the postgame locker room after games against Baylor and Kansas, were obtained by Rivals.com under the Freedom of Information Act.

Really?  So, you had to force the news story?  You had to make the university give up the video, and this is what you show?  No objectivity at all.

Besides, if you are going to invoke the Freedom of Information Act, show the damn clips unedited!!!  I’ve never understood why certain words are censored (“fuck” and “bullshit”), but others are not (“God damn”).

Maybe I am biased because I like Leach, but I’ve like Texas Tech going back to the incident when Tech fans threw the goal post into the Texas A&M fan section!  But this really seems like a non-issue due to the fact that I believe that most coaches respond to lackluster performances in similar manners.

Rivals.com is just looking for attention…

…dammit!

[NOTE: to be fair to Rivals.com, others have also posted the video as well.]

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