We need to talk about college coaches

Why do they keep saying and doing appalling things?

This newsletter was supposed to be about college sports, but there are no college sports. I thought that would be a problem. In some ways, it still is. Fortunately (I guess?), college football coaches continue to do and say fucking wild stuff so that we have something to talk about.

First, new Mississippi State coach Mike Leach, a known shitposter whose brand of humor routinely comes really close to misogyny, tweeted a joke so racist that a player decided to transfer. Then Clemson coach Dabo Swinney goes on vacation during a pandemic.

Not to be outdone, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, decided to start talking. On a conference call today he said he’d like football to start back up May 1. He seems to be under the impression that testing will be widely available by then, and mentions something about antibodies. And yes, he reportedly called it “the Chinese virus.”

“The majority of people in this building who are healthy ... and certainly the 18-, 19-, 20-, 21-, 22-year-olds that are healthy, the so-called medical people saying the herd of healthy people that have the antibodies may be built up and can fight this? We all need to go back to work,” he said.

If Gundy sounds misinformed, it could be because his favorite source for pandemic news is something called “American News One,” likely misspeaking about One America News Network, a far-right website known for its conspiracy theories. Right-leaning media has long downplayed the danger of covid-19, which likely contributes to Gundy’s optimism about a virus that’s killed more than 12,000 Americans in 38 days.

Weirdly, the most inflammatory quotes from Gundy were removed from ESPN’s write-up of the conference call.

Nobody who’s been paying attention is surprised that Mike Gundy has right-leaning opinions. He, like most college football head coaches, is a wealthy white man whose income depends on the labor of unpaid athletes — who are largely black and often from low-income backgrounds. To make your living that way while arguing against paying the players is kind of a tell. But this is still a problem.

For a crowd that seems to value teamwork, college football coaches sure don’t seem to understand that their words and actions don’t affect just them. For a group that’s known to preach responsible citizenship, reminding athletes that eyes are always on them, college football coaches sure aren’t behaving like role models. For a profession that exalts selflessness, leadership, and molding young athletes into high-quality men of character, college football coaches sure don’t seem to give a shit about anyone else.

In the immortal words of Kourtney Kardashian, “Kim, there’s people that are dying.”

It’s not ok to spread misinformation about a deadly virus during a worldwide pandemic. It’s not ok to downplay the risks, and in the process devalue the lives and health of college athletes, just because your paycheck depends on it. It’s not ok to travel for fun during a pandemic, even if you take a private plane. It’s certainly not ok to make jokes about nooses. And, more relevantly, it’s not ok for someone charged with leading, developing, and protecting young black men to not understand why noose jokes are inappropriate.

Any player behaving this way would be reprimanded. So why should coaches get a pass?

Here’s some links tho

Remember when seemingly everyone got a mustache tattooed on their fingers to, like, hold up to their face and pretend they had a real mustache? That was a weird trend. Alex Zaragoza at Vice catches up with people still living with their permanent fingerstaches.

Kelly Loeffler, the Georgia senator who sold off a bunch of stocks and invested in telework companies after the senate was briefed on covid-19, owns the Atlanta Dream. Loeffler, a republican, has lamented that sports have been “politicized.” And that, as Britni de la Cretaz points out in The Guardian, is not consistent with anything about the WNBA.

The butthole cut is real! Laura Bradley at The Daily Beast spoke to the Cats visual effects crew about the difficulty of editing all those anuses out of the movie. Enjoy this positively batshit read.

If you’ve been baking bread, whipping coffee, or attending PowerPoint parties, you’re in good company. At Vox, Terry Nguyen breaks down the ‘micro-trends’ of quarantine. I still have not been invited to any Zoom happy hours, but I’m sure my time will come.

Finally, here is a picture of Lavender. Stay safe out there.

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