When I got first wind of the alleged suspension of ESPN scribe Bruce Feldman, it was early and had just a little time to really put any sort of coherent thoughts together, so I put them in my daily link dump and that was about it. The gist of the story was that Feldman was suspended for allegedly working on Mike Leach's book, Swing Your Sword, although Feldman hasn't mentioned or discussed what he's done on the book, although he has merely been a behind the scenes fellow helping organize the book. Then, Thursday night, Sports By Brooks (linked below), wrote that Feldman had been suspended.
I thought that the best, and different, responses were from SB Nation's Spencer Hall, Dr. Saturday's Matt Hinton and CBS Sports Adam Jacobi, but you can find varying responses all over the place. And then we find out that Feldman was never suspended, or at the very least that's per ESPN's official statement on the matter. You have folks that just don't believe ESPN, including Sports By Brooks, who originally broke the story, has quotes from a meeting that supposedly occurred on Thursday that may have threatened Feldman's job. But on the other hand, you have those that do believe ESPN and think that everyone was merely blowing this non-story out of proportion.
Unless Feldman speaks on the matter, we may never know exactly what happened.
As I try to wrap my head around everything that's happened, I still think that the biggest thing that most outsiders, i.e. those that are not Texas Tech fans, don't realize is the general disagreement as to the entire situation. There are fans that are clearly on the side of the administration. There are fans that are clearly on the side of Leach. I think everyone hates ESPN.
For the longest time, I struggled, internally, with how to handle this. I don't have a subscription to Red Raider Sports, but from what I understand most of the fans there are not particularly fond of Leach. At RaiderPower if there are any Leach-related threads, they are moved to a less-visited forum that doesn't get the traction that the football forum has or are locked entirely. At the LAJ, I think there is a perception is that they're there just to give a voice to the administration. Honestly, I don't have any contact with any of those media outlets so I really have no idea how they really feel about the situation. What I do know is that you've got a brain and you can decide for yourself and I also think that you know that the media can be biased, including me.
I haven't done a damn thing, but that doesn't mean that I haven't considered doing something. The problem with "doing something" is that I never felt that it was appropriate for me to do anything because the point of all of this is for you to have your voice, even if it's different than my opinion. But I'll be honest, there was a long period of time where I was very much worried about what others thought about the type of operation I was running at DTN and that there were times that I felt that every topic turned into a Leach vs. Tuberville discussion when I felt that there was no point in arguing that point because Leach was never going to coach at my college ever again. That ship had sailed.
This may come as a surprise, but I think the general perception of DTN, at least by those that have Texas Tech websites, is that DTN is more Leach-friendly than Texas Tech-friendly. I've tried to be relatively fair about the situation and in trying to be objective and reading the depositions I tend to side with Leach's version of the facts. I've always maintained that no matter what, it really doesn't matter what I think because ultimately, a jury will make a decision about Leach and Texas Tech and ESPN. And although there will be an appeal no matter who wins, justice, as far as the U.S. legal system is concerned, will prevail. Granted, you might not agree with the decision, but it's the way the system works.
So where does that leave me and DTN? Well, I still want to do the same things that I've always done, which is that if you want to have an opinion one way or another on the matter, you're well within your right to do that here at DTN. What I don't like is when one user tells another user that he or she are part of some deep conspiracy, or are working for a public relations firm, or a certain network, or a certain coach. That doesn't matter to me and I could care less. It's still just an opinion, it's not right or it's not wrong. It just may be different than your opinion.
If you want to know my personal opinion, it's complicated. I love Texas Tech and I love Texas Tech football. In just about any incarnation, I'll love it. I may not like some of the things that happen on the field or things like that, but that doesn't mean that I'll always support Texas Tech football. I also love Texas Tech University and like the football team, I may not like certain things that are done, but decisions or persons do not, at least to me, define a university. My definition of a university is bigger than that. I also very much support and love what Mike Leach did while at Texas Tech. It was an amazing run. I hate the way that things ended with Leach at Texas Tech. I mentioned earlier in the week that no matter what happened, the administration at Texas Tech and Leach probably could have done things differently in order to make the relationship work, but ultimately, that relationship had run its course and like a lot of relationships gone bad, I'm sure that both parties felt that they had both given concessions to the other side too much.
When I watched the video from Patton Productions this past week and saw Graham Harrell involved in a Red Raider Club event in Tyler, it made me happy. There may not be a bigger supporter of Leach than Harrell and even he found a way to, perhaps, put aside any feelings that he has for his former head coach to support his university. Ultimately, this is how I feel, which is that I can love my university, I don't always have to say negative things about my university or the administration, I can have an appreciation for the former coach, and I can be focused and be excited about the future of the program.
Maybe that's too much of a duplicitous stance on the whole thing and maybe this isn't the way that you feel. Again, I personally feel that there's plenty of room for dissenting opinions and as stated above, I don't necessarily expect anyone to have the same opinion as myself. The only thing that I'm asking of any of you is to agree that someone's opionion isn't wrong, it's just different than yours.