…Someone you never would have guessed, perhaps not even heard of. This year saw no shortage of villians, from the obvious choices in ISIS, Al-Queda, Putin, the terrorist shooters in Paris and California, or the soon to be nuclear armed Iranian rulers. One could also look at these characters’ enablers, such as President Obama, the European leadership, the mainstream press, or your western leftists who will excuse any crime committed by people of a certain religion. There has been the sad indictment of the MSM for lacking basic reading comprehension skills when they tried to brand a Supreme Court justice a racist. And we’ve seen the hyserical fascist mobs of #Black Lives Matter and crybully uprisings on campuses across the nation. Actually, our villian of the year comes from where these last two groups intersected.
It’s easy to spot and label villains who watch from their towers as their band of Orcs raze the land or in the worm-tongued toadies who support them. But sometimes being a villian is doing the wrong thing, especially when one has the chance to help someone about to make a terrible mistake that will heavily impact their future, and encouraging that person to make the wrong choice. Ladies and gentlemen, your villain of the year is… Gary Pinkel.
Who? You’ve probably heard about the student protests at the University of Missouri, of which Robert Stacy McCain gave a great summary if you need the background info on the ‘Systemic Racism,’ Anarchy and Incipient Totalitarianism at University of Missouri. One subset of the protests is that some of the members of the Missouri football team threatened to walk off of the team if the university’s President failed to resign for showing insufficient enthusiasm for the protesters’ grivances. I suggested that not allowing the football team to walk off and accept the consequences of their actions was a missed teachable moment. And this might not have happened had the team’s head coach stood up been a leader to his team – that man is Gary Pinkel. One important element of this story is the coach’s health – via Ace:
Pinkel resigned, citing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I won’t offer any speculation, but the timing is curious. I didn’t expect he’d be retained as the coach after this escapade, and I think he’d have had a hard time recruiting after all this. A few people have pointed out that you could make a reasonable case to fire him with cause, and I’ll let you make up your own minds on what happened.
Pinkel was asked about this on a sports talk radio interview, and while he didn’t implode as Dailywire’s Amanda Prestigiacomo suggests, he didn’t of a very good job of defending his position. Alex Martin Smith at SEC Country also points out that the team was not as united in this walkout either as you may have been led to believe.
But there is apparently a large contingency within the Mizzou Athletic Training Complex that wants to get back on the field.
“As much as we want to say everyone is united, half the team and coaches — black and white — are pissed,” an anonymous player told ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy. “If we were 9-0, this wouldn’t be happening.”
If Missouri is forced to cancel this weekend’s game vs. BYU (scheduled to be played in Kansas City), it would owe Brigham Young $1 million.
Up to this point I’ve just given the background info, but you are probably wondering why I’d label Pinkel a villain in all of this. It’s not so much his actions or or intent (of which we’ll probably never completely know), but rather the impact of his decisions and how it will affect the lives of these young men who engineered the threatened walkoff. People in positions of authority that deal with young people, whether teachers, coaches, or bosses to varying degrees have some impact on the kids they’re mentoring. It can be as significant as taking on some role that an absent/negligent parent did not, or as simple as a rebellious teenager needed to hear things from a perspective other than his or her parents. As any fan of Spider Man knows, with great power comes great responsibility. And that is where Coach Pinkel’s role comes into play.
These young men were ready to walk off of their team over a childish protest against some unspecified grievance. They were ready to abandon the commitments they had made to their school, their coaches, and their teammates, not to mention any stakeholders potentially harmed by potentially cancelled games (such as local venodrs or people counting on extra income from working at those games). In this day and age, The Internet never forgets, and what they have done is something that (unless each player did a good job of ensuring that his name is not specified in any stories) will make getting any kind of job outside of higher education or being a professional social agitator damned near impossible. When a potential employer googles the player’s name and sees participation in this protest, what do you think the initial reaction will be? Will it be “Now there’s someone of outstanding charcter who stands up for his beliefs!”, or “Ah, we have a candidate who has already demonstrated that he has no problem ignoring commitments, regardless of what burden that may place on those around him. Not to mention that I could also potentially be hiring a ticking discrimination lawsuit waiting to happen”? Over the years I’ve probably interviewed a few hundred job candidates, and I have learned the hard way that if there is even the slightest doubt as to whether or not to hire someone you err on the side of caution. For any of you lefties reading this who say you would gladly hire any of these players, are you willing to do so if you bear the full responsibility for the hiring decision and whatever happens once the employee is on board?
Coach Pinkel should have known better, and should have talked to his team. Missou is not having a good season, and as you saw earlier this issue only divided the locker room. If a number of players wanted to leave the team, he should have gathered them and explained the potential consequences of doing so. Or better still, get the entire team together, explain the consequences, tell them that whatever the players choose to do he would support them, but that whatever choice they made to do it as one team. And then gather the rest of the coaches and leave. The players might be too young to fully appreciate the impact that today’s actions will have on their lives, but he can give them the guidance to make a very important adult decision. And if they make the wrong choice, at least they were given some guidance to think through the impact of their choice and will be better prepared to face the outcomes.
While taking the path or least resistance by capitulating to the loudest voices is hardly the most vile or sinister action that happened in 2015 (see opening paragraph), turning away from someone in need who is about to hurt themselves when you may be the only one who can help them is a terrible act. And if you find yourself in such a situation, don’t be like Coach Pinkel – take responsibility. It doesn’t always make you popular in the short run, but if more people did there would be less oportunity for the true villians of the world to rise.
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog