Sports Illustrated dropped the hammer on Lane Kiffin this week. Pete Thamel pointed to Lane Kiffin’s black Mercedes, lined up a smattering of colleagues and NFL executives to slam him (anonymously, of course) and sprinkled in damning words such as “discipline” and “maturity.” This sweeping disparagement was not surprising. It’s another notch on a well-worn shillelagh for SI. Just in the past couple of years…
George Dohrmann appointed himself custodian of “The UCLA Way,” blaming the team’s mediocre play on Ben Howland’s inability to manage partying off-the-court problems. We all know an asceticism is key to basketball success. Florida’s 2006/07 teams lived like veritable monks. Former UCLA player Reeves Nelson had his defamation lawsuit against SI thrown out recently.
Dohrmann also wrote the infamous Ohio State piece, where we found out Ohio State players exchanged foods belonging to them for services and smoked the marijuana. We also rehashed some Jim Tressel Youngstown State stories and found out that (gasp!) the villain might have rigged a summer camp raffle as an Ohio State assistant in the mid-1980s. The NCAA could not substantiate the findings before levying sanctions.
We’ve also had the puritanical take on the Honey Badger, which sadly came shortly before his marijuana arrest. Mathieu had to hire a law firm to fend off the interview requests. Then there was the sweeping assessment that college football had an epidemic of criminal activity, albeit one that at worst met the national average.
Sports Illustrated is throwing punches, or wants to be perceived to be doing so. We’d be remiss not to point out these bold shots were all taken when the mighty were on their way down, with facts fashioned to fit a preconceived premise.
As for Kiffin, he’s not a likeable coach by any stretch. Creaming him for not meeting preseason expectations, though, seems a tad unfair. Many saw the Trojans competing for a national title. Many overrated the skill position impact and disregarded the loss of Matt Kalil and turnover on the defensive line.
[Photo via Presswire]