I continue to be amazed to find that nobody involved in the Leach fiasco seems to be willing to shut the hell up, other than Adam James.
Yesterday on the WWL, we were treated to the solemn intonation of Rece Davis relaying the information that TTU released in the form of affidavits from the team’s trainer and physician and then the almost non-stop prattling of Bob Davie and Mike Patrick in the booth last night during the Alamo Bowl (some of which was certainly understandable in light of Texas Tech’s participation in the game, of course).
So what do we know, as opposed to what we think we know, at this point? And questions… there are still lots of questions. Here’s a summary:
- Mike Leach made an example out of Adam James. Davie, of all people, made a coherent point when he asked if James was treated differently than other Red Raider players who suffered a concussion. Davie didn’t ask the follow up question that was on my mind, though: did James behave differently in following team rules than other players who suffered concussions? How much of this debate is over discipline and how much over following medical procedures?
- Bad blood between Leach and James. Notice I didn’t say which James. We’ve already heard from Leach that he replayed messages from Craig James about his son. What if this is something that escalated not because of the actions of the son but because of those of the dad?
- Mike Leach isn’t nearly as smart as he thinks he is. Don’t tell me it didn’t hurt watching your former team play last night, Coach. It had to. Picking a fight with ESPN is a risky strategy, as we’re all seeing right now. And there probably aren’t very many $2 million per year jobs falling out of the trees right now – just ask Tommy Tuberville, who’s publicly asking to be considered for your replacement.
- Mike Leach never jeopardized the health of Adam James. Reading those affidavits as strongly against Leach as you can, there’s still nothing that says the player was physically mistreated or that his health was put at risk. I don’t doubt that the trainer and doctor disapproved, but notice that neither one instructed Leach not to carry it out.
- There’s no pattern of abuse. If Leach really was an uncaring SOB, you’d have heard about that from someone other than Adam James and his dad by now. Believe me, TTU’s administrators have been scouring the face of the earth for those players for days. Nobody else has come forward to complain about physical abuse, or even being embarrassed by Leach’s discipline. This isn’t a Mangino situation where complaints started coming in from every direction once the word got out.
- ESPN has circled the wagons. I don’t know why the WWL has made this bet, but it clearly has taken sides. Ex-coaches doing TV commentary are like policemen and the blue line: they never criticize their own. Yet listen to the likes of Holtz and Davie go on about the subject.
- The affidavits don’t help the school. At least the timing of the affidavits doesn’t. The immediate response was to treat those as new information. To us, it was. But the school had that information on December 21. If that was enough to justify the termination of Leach’s contract, why didn’t TTU act immediately then?
What a mess. Leach is out of a job. The school has fractured the program and the fan base. ESPN’s credibility has taken a hit (h/t Jim from Duluth @ Dawg Run Message Board). Whoever winds up claiming a win when the dust settles, it’s going to be Pyrrhic as hell.