Thursday, December 31, 2009

Leach of Contract

Mike Leach's firing this week has helped to reinforce something that has been made apparent throughout both college and NFL football this year: concussions are very serious and overlooking them will not be tolerated. I for one was a fan of Mike Leach. He brought the Texas Tech program back to a national level and coached in one of the most exciting games I have ever seen when Texas Tech beat Texas on a last second TD pass last year. However, it appears that even in Texas, where everyone is a little bit tougher, Leach's old school coaching style has become intolerable. My how the times have changed.

In case you haven't heard, Mike Leach was originally suspended by Texas Tech for locking a player who had a concussion in a dark closet while the rest of the team practiced. His actions soon thereafter led to his swift termination, despite the fact that he had just signed a 5 year, $12 million contract.

In the old days a player who refused to play with a concussion would be labeled a pussy, or a guy who is not committed to the team. If this were the 1970s in South Bend, Indiana, Leach would have said; "You just summed up your entire sorry career here in one sentence!" and would have busted this player Adam James from the third team straight to the prep team. Then he would have thrown his hat to the ground, kicked it and shouted "Get me a new wide receiver!". And he would have been right. Nowadays, that type of thing doesn't happen anymore. Trainers and players have just as much power as coaches.

Apparently this guy Adam James was kind of a turd. Other players didn't like him, and a lot of people thought he wasn't committed to playing football. Unfortunately for Mike Leach, that doesn't matter anymore. If a player is injured, you can't touch him. We have seen how playing through injuries can devastate a players life after football (look at Ted Johnson) and programs will not allow injuries to go untreated anymore. The balance of power has shifted in the arena of football.

Unfortunately in this situation, I think both sides lose. Mike Leach was a great coach, and despite what they say I don't think Texas Tech will find another one better than him. For Mike Leach, his name is ruined and he probably won't be able to find another D-1 coaching job. Both parties might have been better served to sweep this thing under the rug, but with the way the wind is blowing these days mistreatment of players is becoming a thing of the past. Get with the times man!

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