For the first time in over 40 years, Nebraska Huskers football may not sell-out Memorial Stadium. Why, you ask? Yesterday, Deadspin.com released an audio recording (NSFW) of Bo Pelini speaking to reporters right before a press conference following a come-from-behind victory against Ohio State. Despite the fact that Nebraska scored 28 points in a row to erase a 20-6 halftime deficit and win the game, Pelini still wasn't pleased. In particular, he was not pleased with the fans.
Pelini starts by tearing into some reporters whom he had a particular beef with. Then, however, he goes on to let the fans have it as well:
“It took everything in my power to not say, ‘F*ck you, fans. F*ck all of you.’ F*ck ‘em,” he said. “Our crowd. What a bunch of f*cking fair-weather f*cking — they can all kiss my [butt] out the f*cking door. ‘Cause the day is f*cking coming now. We’ll see what they can do when I’m f*cking gone. I’m so f*cking p*ssed off.”
Unfortunately for Pelini, this was not the only negative attention he has received lately. Following Saturday's 41-21 loss against UCLA (in which the Bruins scored 38 consecutive points) Tommy Frazier, former quarterback of the 1994-95 undefeated Huskers team, criticized the performance of Pelini and his coaching staff:
It's time to get rid of the defensive play caller, the Dc, lb dl and db coaches. I hate saying this but this crap is getting old. How in the hell do you not make adjustments or put your players in the position to compete? If this is what is going to happen for the remainder of the season, count me out. I don't care if we lose a game but the way we are losing is just not what #Nebraska fans deserve.
In full-Pelini style, Bo released a statement in response, saying that "If he feels that way, so be it. We don't need him."
Following the release of the profanity-laden rant, Pelini released the following apology:
“I want to sincerely apologize for my comments from two years ago which became public today. I take full responsibility for these comments. They were spoken in a private room following the Ohio State game. I was venting following a series of emotional events which led to this moment. That being said, these comments are in no way indicative of my true feelings. I love it here in Nebraska and feel fortunate to be associated with such a great University and fan base. I again apologize to anyone whom I have offended.”
Since the recording has been released, there have been many irate reactions on the internet, many of which have been calling for Pelini to be fired. At the current moment, there may be many valid reasons for Pelini to be fired. Since his hiring, the Huskers have gone 51-21, a respectable number. However, many fans still feel that this is not good enough for a program with such outstanding history of success.
That being said, this rant does not necessitate firing Pelini. As the man said, this was a conversation that happened after a frustrating game in which many emotions were to be had. Also worth noting is that Pelini did not make this rant on record. It was recorded by someone privately. Pelini had no idea that this tirade would ever become public knowledge. The NCAA and Nebraska would have to be fairly petty institutions for firing someone due to a private cursing-fest. Football is a game filled with strong emotions, and the guys who coach and play football are not perfectly polished gentleman; they are raw and will act accordingly.
Perhaps the best perspective and commentary on the incident comes in a report from Dan Wetzel from Yahoo! Sports. In this report, Wetzel details all of the ways in which Pelini improves college football beyond the field. Pelini's thoughts concerning playing Penn State immediately after the troubling news concerning Jerry Sandusky was uncovered show how much he intimately cares and his players and their livelihoods. Perhaps even more touching was Pelini's handling of the annual spring game, in which he invited Jack Hoffman, a 7 year old kid who suffers from brain tumors and seizures, to the game and allowed him to score a touchdown against the Nebraska defense.
These are the moments we should be focusing on when looking at Pelini's career; not a privately held, expletive-filled rant stemming from an emotional day. Despite how one feels about his win-loss record, it is evident that Pelini is a man who deserves to be coaching at a high-profile school in the national spotlight. Let's hope that more coaches like Pelini surface on the national scene in the future.
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