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T.J. SIMERS

Shocking: Readers have a bone to pick about Lane Kiffin, et al.

They email to claim foul on several opinions by a certain columnist, especially those about the USC football coach.

November 01, 2011|T.J. Simers
  • USC football Coach Lane Kiffin speaks with his players during a game against Syracuse on Sept. 17. Not everyone agrees with columnist T.J. Simers' take on Kiffin's actions during Saturday's loss to Stanford.
USC football Coach Lane Kiffin speaks with his players during a game against… (Jonathan Moore / Associated…)

I am always surprised when people disagree with me.

Ask my family and they will tell you, "Yeah, he knows everything.' "

On occasion, the wife will take an opposing view before stomping off and saying, "You always think you're right."

I have never understood why someone would say something thinking they are wrong, but that would explain the emails I receive.

Take Tuesday. I had a whole lot of angry folks defending Lane Kiffin and emailing me. One canceled his KTLA app; one demanded I be put out to pasture; another suggested I do some real reporting like others and take note that one of the game's officials went to Notre Dame.

Someone else wanted to know whether I was from Canada, because "it is the American way to stand up," as Kiffin did. Apparently, in America columnists cannot do the same.

That's why I gave up being a serious journalist, what with so many jokers and USC fans in the audience.

I was a little surprised, though, to see none of these emailers had copied Pat Haden or the commissioner of the Pacific 12 Conference.

I got the impression after quoting Haden in the newspaper and knowing the Pac-12 fined Kiffin, that both agreed with Page 2.

Do all these emailers believe Haden is off base and maybe should also be put out to pasture?

Someone else wanted to know, "Where would Page 2 be if they took away your 1st Amendment right to criticize players and coaches?"

I would imagine Page 2 would be in the same place, just after Page 1 and before Page 3 in the newspaper. I don't know how I do it, but I just know these things off the top of my head.

Several emailers wanted to know why the official wasn't fined, taking for granted Kiffin was right in claiming the official lied.

How do we know the official wasn't fined? If you took something public like Kiffin that should be handled privately in your company, you might be fired. I would guess the Pac-12 reviews the work of officials every week — privately.

Another wave of emailers wanted to make the point that almost every article here is negative, and none of the emailers were Frank McCourt.

I took a look back. In the last week, I have written about Kiffin crying and Dan Guerrero possibly replacing his football coach. OK, that's two negative ones.

Before that I wrote a column praising Rick Neuheisel for being a stand-up guy in defeat; another about my affection for John Robinson; another on Don Rickles going strong at age 85; and an ode to a local blue-collar worker who is a huge Notre Dame fan.

I get anymore sappy and I'm going to email myself to knock it off.

I think this whole thing about being too negative is very interesting. How do you write positively about Tim Tebow and Norv Turner?

Ignore them?

Tebow is one of the worst NFL quarterbacks to ever pull on a uniform, and this is where you probably need to be reminded that I'm never wrong.

Yet, if you watched him play and listened to Fox and CBS commentators the last two weeks, almost every one of them pulled their punches.

Former NFL safety John Lynch, who worked the Denver-Detroit game as a broadcaster and watched Broncos punt after punt, said there are "non-believers" out there. But he told everyone, "I'm a believer."

Are we talking religion here or football?

The world is full of fine young people who just don't have what it takes to hit the top of their profession. This is nothing more than the fact the guy isn't NFL-worthy.

Tebow doesn't even fall in the Mission Bay Shrimp category. Doug Flutie was a great story as well, good enough on occasion to win. But over a 16-game schedule, there was no way he could consistently give a team what it needed at the quarterback position.

Tebow doesn't pass the eye test; every sports fan is capable for a minute of being as smart as a sportswriter.

And yet some commentators seemed reluctant to say so. Was it a network edict, with Fox and CBS going easy because they might keep viewers who usually have no interest in the NFL watching the feel-good Tebow story?

Are commentators afraid of upsetting the public, which has been known to strike back with angry emails?

He just can't play. There is no crime in that, as long as he doesn't play. The fact that the Broncos continue to start him is great only from the standpoint they are giving their clueless fans exactly what they wanted.

Now, like Tebow, Turner is just a swell guy. But like Tebow, he also fails the eye test — his teams consistently underachieve.

This is his 14th year as an NFL head coach, and he should begin every day saying, "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this Earth."

His overall record is 103-108-1. He got his team to a conference championship game once, and lost. He might be a fine offensive coordinator, but he hasn't cut it as a head coach.

Based on my count, that's now three negative articles to four positive ones, allowing for one more negative column to even things out.

Thank goodness, since I'll be writing about the UCLA-Arizona State game next.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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