I'm not sure where to begin, the whole, "your team's coach getting suspended for putting a player in a closet" wasn't taught at the Blogging 101 class that I took when I first started this gig. This is more or less a rambling mess of thoughts and ideas, with a few facts thrown in for good measure.
It's All Gerald Myers' Fault, Blame Gerald Myers: There's no doubt that Mike Leach and Gerald Myers have had their issues, but I find it hard to believe that Myers acted alone and is the sole and only reason that Leach is suspended. That's not happening. Myers has plenty of control, but I hope you don't think for a second that Myers has the unilateral ability to suspend a coach. I have no doubt that this was a mutual decision from all of the higher-ups, including the University President, the Chancellor, and most of all the attorneys. It's no secret that the bad blood between Myers and Leach would be the first thing that popped into everyone's mind and I don't have any inside information, I'm thinking that this goes above and beyond what Myers has the ability to do. The fact that Myers was cut out of the negotiation process last year is at the very least an indication that Myers is Leach's superior in name only. I defended Myers last year during the contract negotiations and I'm doing it again now. There's no way in hell that Myers has the ability to suspend a coach indefinitely. If want to replace "FIRE GERALD MYERS" with "FIRE ALL OF THE ADMINISTRATION" then fine, go ahead and do that, but Myers doesn't deserve your wrath here.
The Truth Has to Be In the Middle: I'm still trying to piece together everything that's happened, but at the end of the day the truth is probably somewhere between what the James' family is saying and what Leach and his attorneys are saying.
[Note by Seth C, 12/29/09 6:30 AM CST ] I added a page-break to help keep some of these stories near the top of the page.
ASIDE: Before we go much further, I thought I'd throw this aside out there. I got a new DVR over the holiday and didn't save any games, but the last game that Craig James did for Texas Tech (I cannot for the life of me remember which one it was) the play-by-play guy asked Craig what he thought of Leach's comments regarding "fat-little-girlfriends". I seem to recall that Craig's response was a little bit shocking at the time in that he stated that he disagreed with Leach's comments. Craig had always seemed to be a Leach sort of guy, attending practices and being somewhat vocal of what Leach was accomplishing in Lubbock, etc., but his comment jumped out at me as I watched the game and it's stuck with me since then. And this was well after the fact where Leach explained that it was a metaphor for players listening to the media, family, friends, and fat-little-girlfriends. I'm hoping that one of you guys and gals can corroborate my recollection of Craig's comments, because I think this may lend some insight into what may have been the first inclination of a crumbling relationship between Leach and Craig. END ASIDE
In any event, I'm imagining something like the following. Adam suffers a mild concussion and is held out of practice. Adam returned to practice wearing sun glasses told Leach that he had to wear sunglasses under doctors orders and Leach probably felt that this was a bit much, perhaps Adam didn't have the requisite respect for Leach that Leach thought he deserved. Leach then directs that Adam go into a closet and sit there and think about his actions. The James family hears about the incident and then demands that Leach apologize for his actions. Leach, being somewhat of a smart-ass, probably responded something to the effect that Leach he was helping the situation as Adam needed the darkness so as to not hurt his concussion. Leach then probably asked that someone make sure that Adam actually stayed in the closet during the team practice. I think it's been reported that there was a "guard" present, but I seriously doubt there was an armed guard blocking Adam from leaving the confined space.
Leach was then asked to apologize and he said no. In fact, I would bet that Leach offered that he was doing Adam a favor by not putting him in direct sunlight.
The LAJ is reporting that Leach was given a deadline of Monday to write an apology. I find it interesting to think that someone, probably the James' family, wanted what would essentially be an admission of mis-treatment. If I had a client with a similar situation, I'd make damn sure that my client has all sorts of fancy attorney language to make it clear that this sort of written apology could in no way be construed to be an admission of guilt. Leach, perhaps thinking the same thing, may have decided that this wasn't going to happen. In fact, in the aside mentioned above, I thought I sensed some displeasure from Craig about Leach, and this bit from the LAJ, which apparently came straight from Leach made me laugh:
During the university’s initial investigation, Leach said the player was a slacker and his father was always calling and acting like a Little League dad.
This isn't a laughing matter, but for whatever reason, the relationship between Craig James and Adam James and Leach deteriorated to the point that this happened.
Leach has been known for unusual punishments. Earlier this spring WR Edward Britton was made to study in a desk, in the middle of the field, under blizzard conditions because he couldn't get his act together during non-practice hours.
I know that if I had my choice, I'm thinking I'd rather bet in Adam's shoes rather than Brittons'.
Administrative Law, Somthing I Know Very Little About: I can honestly say that I did attend an administrative law class in law school, but what happened in that class I have no idea (I had a really good outline). I made a B, which is great for me, but what confuses me about this entire situation is that it would seem that in order to supend a state employee, that there would need to be some sort of administrative procedure that would need to be followed. Again, this isn't my specialty, so maybe someone can help out here, but I'm wondering if this is the basis for . . .
Leach's Attorney is on the Case: Leach's attorney has stated that he will attempt to file a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo in order to allow Leach to coach on Saturday.
I'm sure that this won't be a distraction at all.
I have no idea if it will work, but I'm willing to bet that part of the argument is that the administrative procedures regarding the suspension of a state employee without a proper hearing weren't followed appropriately and as a result, the university didn't have the unilateral right or suspend Leach indefinitely. I could be way off-base here, but I remember something about this from that really great outline.
Prediction: I have no idea, but I really don't think that either party really wants to part ways and I'm hoping that cooler heads prevail. Leach is a hard-ass when it comes to these sorts of things. I have no idea what to think of Craig James in this sort of situation and I have no idea as to how he is as a person, but there's got to be more to this story that just making Adam stand in a dark room. Sometimes I wish my boss would make me sit in a dark room for three hours. It would be infinitely better than answering phones and emails. If the truth is somewhere between Leach's and Adam's stories, then I don't see this being a big deal, but rather a situation where two grown men, Leach and Craig, didn't get their way and now they're each seeing who can throw around the most weight.
I'll try to update and comment as late as long as I can stay awake.