What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini is fiery sort go guy. That’s not really a surprising characteristic for a football coach. It also seems that he may be a colossal dick, which again, isn’t exactly virgin territory for these guys. But it seems that Pelini crossed the Lee Elia line by having a profanity-filled tirade directed largely at the fans.
For those of you who don’t recall, Lee Elia was the manager of the Chicago Cubs in 1983, and he found himself with a typically shitty Cubs team. One day during that fetid summer, Elia was goaded into a obscenity filled tirade about the Cubs’ fanbase. While it may not have been the reason Elia was out of a job (a 54-69 record at the time the axe fell couldn’t have helped), the “Tirade” certainly helped see Elia cleaning out his office by the end of the season.
Flash the clock forward to 2011. The Nebrasks Cornhuskers have just scored a huge comeback win against Ohio State. The problem was that a big chunk of the fans had left before the comeback, which led head coach Bo Pelini having a very Elia-esque moment which was brought to light this week by the good people at Deadspin.
This is fun. Here we have an audiotape of Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini flipping his shit about both the media and the Cornhuskers’ fans after a 2011 game. Why are we getting this now? Well, our tipster was particularly exercised by Nebraska’s flameout against UCLA on Saturday, which has led to some awkwardness in Huskerdom. In the 2011 audio, Pelini says the word “fuck” a lot. He seems to have no idea he was being recorded.
Our tipster says the recording was made on Oct. 8, 2011, just after Nebraska had come back from three touchdowns down to beat Ohio State in Lincoln. He or she only recently had come into possession of this audio before sending it our way. It was recorded moments before Pelini did his postgame radio interview with Greg Sharpe of the Husker Sports Network. Pelini sounded anything but relieved by the big victory.
In the recording, Pelini is talking to Sharpe and to a woman whose identity we’ve been unable to determine. Pelini initially seems upset with an unknown person who works at the Omaha World-Herald, whom he calls “a piece of shit.”
So, after you take in all that has happened, it is time for us to boil all the media bullshit off this story and get us back to the hard facts we all know are present here.
1) This, in and of itself, is not a death sentence for Pelini.
This is only surfacing now because Nebraska football sucks. This is an institution that brought us the tradition of the “Blackshirts,” and to see the real problem, you just have to look at the last few Nebraska football scores.
Forget that Southern Miss game; that’s the one that looks like what Nebraska fans want to see in September. But the other four are a B1G problem, even that win against Wyoming illustrates the issue. A team that prides itself on defense; a team which is coached by a defensive-minded guy should NOT under any cirumstances be giving up four touchdowns to Wyoming.
If Nebraska turns this around immediately, the Pelini tirade will fade into history. But if the defensive woes and the losses continue, all bets ore off. Pelini better beat South Dakota State by 40 points on Saturday or he could have a very Mussolini-like ending in Lincoln.
2) Sports produces the last absolute monarchies left on earth, and most of them are false
Guys that build traditions of winning get an almost unchallenged rule in the world of sports, college or professional. Nobody would dare challenge Mike Krzyzewski on the duke campus; try to tell me Nick Saban isn’t the de facto king of Tuscaloosa. Tell me Phil Jackson couldn’t stroll into any NBA locker room today and demand tribute. Those guys earned it by winning.
The problem is there are too many guys like Pelini who think they can command such respect simply by being a loud mouth. I understand there is a time and a place for that sort of blather, but I’m also really tired of these blow-bag, bullying pieces of shit who without the illusion of absolute power couldn’t lead wolves to fresh meat. The guys like Pelini produced by the sports world are the precise reason why we have a nation full of micro-dicks who because they made it to shift manager at McBurgerQueen think they are the “man” because they can push around minimum-wage employees.
3) The people piling on Deadspin for releasing this are idiots
If you look at the comments section on that original Deadspin piece, you realize quickly that the majority are are attacking Deadspin for simply doing what Deadspin does. Tehy didn'[t gerenate the quote, and they didn’t realease it two years later. Yet they are the ones taking the heat for it’s publication. This is just another exercise in american misplacing blame.
To properly place the blame for this situation, one need look no farther then the dipshit who uttered it. If Lee Elia taught us anything, its that once you blame everything on the fans, you’d better start winning right fucking now. The point that all the Deadspin-haters are missing is that once your blood in the water, the evidence supporting your execution is never time stamped. Ask any politician, and they will tell you all about the “skeletons in the closet” syndrome. While they aren’t elected, big-time coaches and managers in sports are very much subject to the whims of public opinion, and when those whims go south, nobody really cares about the expiration dates on reasons to hate you.
Even worse, once the piling on starts, it takes on its own momentum which continues until either your break it or it kills you. For Pelini, winning is that game-changer, and it better happen, because the shit-ball is certainly rolling down the hill.
Update (5:31 p.m.) As another reader has since noted, Pelini wasn’t happy with the World-Herald‘s Dirk Chatelain during his presser after the Ohio State game. Pelini had been angry about this Chatelain column.] Pelini then begins venting about World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel: “Fuck him, too. Fuck him. That’s what I’m going to tell him. He wants to walk out after my press conference? I’m gonna say, ‘Get the fuck away from me. I’m done with you, motherfucker.’ I’m done with him.”
All of that is just the prelude to Pelini’s message for the Huskers’ fans: “It took everything in my power to not say, ‘Fuck you, fans. Fuck all of you.’ Fuck ’em.” After Sharpe says a lot of students had left at halftime, the woman starts to say that people did return to their seats. Pelini interjects: “Our crowd. What a bunch of fucking fair-weather fucking—they can all kiss my ass out the fucking door. ‘Cause the day is fucking coming now. We’ll see what they can do when I’m fucking gone. I’m so fucking pissed off.”
Sharpe then changes the subject by pointing out how Pelini’s “guys showed some guts.” A moment later he gets ready to roll the tape for the actual interview.
Update (8:40 p.m.): Nebraska’s chancellor and athletics director respond.
Update (8:54 p.m.): Bo Pelini has responded:
I want to sincerely apologize for my comments from two years ago which became public today. I take full responsibility for these comments. They were spoken in a private room following the Ohio State game. I was venting following a series of emotional events which led to this moment. That being said, these comments are in no way indicative of my true feelings. I love it here in Nebraska and feel fortunate to be associated with such a great University and fan base. I again apologize to anyone whom I have offended.
It starts with the tirade that started the ball rolling, and two days later we are already to the apology nobody believes and even less will remember. But the point that cannot be lost in all of this is the popular nature of coaches and managers in sports. Before April 29th, 1983, Lee Elia was a popular guy in Chicago. by August, he was filling out change of address cards. Nobody oscillates between hero and shitbag faster or more often than New York Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin.
What it all boils down to is that in internet era, everything is remembered, and nothing has an expiration date. Anything you’ve ever said can come back to bite you. That certainly isn’t Deadspin’s fault. While it has become large and monetized, Deadspins’s roots are they very same as what you are reading right now. It’s a blog, and by not playing by established rules, blogs have changed the face of journalism. I’m sure there are those who long for the day when writers for the local paper had virtual control over what became news and what didn’t. The 24-hour news cycle via cable television changed that, and the internet changed it again. Deadspin’s only responsibility was to make sure the story was legitimate before running. Once they had that, all was fair.
Speaking of fair, it is certainly fair to question the motives of somebody releasing a damning bit of tape 2 years after the fact; Deadspin certainly did so. But they also knew they had something that would get them a ton of site views, and they ran with it. That’s what bloggers do. It’s also the exact same thing that the people in the “mainstream media” who deride blogs do every single day.