FanDuel - WFBC

December 30, 2009

E-mails in support of Mike Leach: "Before Adam James ever entered the football locker room at Texas Tech I heard how spoiled and selfish he acted in a team atmosphere from many of my baseball friends. Adam was on the baseball team his true freshman year at Tech, before he ever joined the football team, and did not make it through the baseball season because of his selfish attitude. After a baseball game in which he felt like he did not get enough playing time, but the team still won twenty to one, he came into the locker room after the game and 'pouted and threw a big fit' according another player on the baseball team. A few weeks later in the middle of the season, he just stopped showing up to practices or game and quit because he was not happy about how he was being treated. One of my roommates was a baseball player on the team and many of my friends were a part of the team that witnessed all of this. These baseball players told me he was 'spoiled and selfish' before he ever came to the football team."

posted by gfinsf to football at 07:33 AM - 43 comments

OK, so James is a known-problem. Send him home. Ban him from practice. Boot him off the team. All these issues brought up in the e-mails have nothing to do with the concussion doctors diagnosed James as having and Leach consequently having him put in a shed for hours, with a guard outside. Leach wanted to find a way to show James up and humiliate him, and he may have succeeded. Unfortunately for him, he didn't pay attention to the buzz around football about concussions and the major, negative health impact on individuals who attempt to play when they have not had adequate time to recover. Maybe if Leach would have dealt with James' spoiled, terrible attitude earlier it wouldn't have come to this.

posted by dyams at 08:05 AM on December 30

gfinsf, are you quoting someone in your FPP, or offering your own opinions? Because, ya know, Thou Shalt Not Editorialize in a Front Page Post.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:52 AM on December 30

Yeah, it's a quote from one of the emails, but it's hard to tell from the post. I hate that coaches always get this blowback support. For all we know, Adam James banged each emailer's girlfriend.

posted by yerfatma at 09:26 AM on December 30

James sounds like a sniveling crybaby. The e-mails support that, and they are from credible sources inside the program. Most of us who follow TT football support Leach. No one else has complained about Leach's treatment of his athletes in 10 years, and I dare say most of his present and former players have the utmost respect for him. He should've kicked James off the team instead of doing something that all the PC'ers could get in an uproar about is all I see wrong. If Gerald Myers doesn't support Leach in this matter, I hope Leach uses all means at his disposal, including his own law degree and brilliant mind, to take Tech and Myers to the cleaners.

posted by mjkredliner at 09:40 AM on December 30

A few weeks later in the middle of the season, he just stopped showing up to practices or game and quit because he was not happy about how he was being treated.

Serious question: do coaches for the same school, but of different sports not talk to each other? If this kid was on Texas Tech's baseball team, why didn't any of the football team's coaching staff inquire about his tenure on the baseball team with that coaching staff?

posted by NoMich at 09:45 AM on December 30

He should've kicked James off the team instead of doing something that all the PC'ers could get in an uproar about is all I see wrong.

You know how you can tell if someone has done something wrong?

If the people defending him use the phrase "politically correct", "political correctness" or "PC" to as a counter-attack against those leveling accusations.

posted by grum@work at 10:05 AM on December 30

You know, really, it doesn't matter if James is the biggest ass to ever walk the face of the Earth.

Dude had a concussion and Leach either punished him for it or didn't believe his doctors.

Either way, Leach sends a message that you should play/practice with a concussion.

Which goes against all the current science that's coming out about the very real long term damage football players suffer.

In what world does medical science equal political correctness?

posted by Joey Michaels at 10:14 AM on December 30

He should've kicked James off the team instead of doing something that all the PC'ers could get in an uproar about is all I see wrong.

Adam James sounds like a complete tool, but it's idiotic to describe this as political correctness. It's medical correctness. The treatment of players with concussions is one of the biggest stories of the year across football. Leach subjected a player with a concussion to punishment, a move that encourages other players with concussions to hide or downplay their injuries. Dumb dumb dumb, and he'll be lucky to survive that stunt with his job intact.

posted by rcade at 10:25 AM on December 30

No one else has complained about Leach's treatment of his athletes in 10 years

Remind me not to hire you as a defense attorney.

posted by yerfatma at 11:33 AM on December 30

After a baseball game in which he felt like he did not get enough playing time, but the team still won twenty to one, he came into the locker room after the game and 'pouted and threw a big fit' according another player on the baseball team.

I think many people would be pouty and throw a hissy fit if they didn't get enough playing time despite a 20-1 baseball score.

No one else has complained about Leach's treatment of his athletes in 10 years

Most athletes won't. I told the story before, but in highschool we played tackle basketball and the courts were filled with blood when we were through. There was an official investigation when one of the coaches complained to the school board and every single athlete on that team defended the head coach despite all of us knowing it was far from appropriate.

He should've kicked James off the team instead of doing something that all the PC'ers could get in an uproar about is all I see wrong

So you don't think locking someone in "the coldest,darkest place you can find", ordering him to not sit or lean, and with a guard posted outside is only something "PC'ers" would have an issue with? Sorry, I'm anything but a PC'er and there's nothing "PC" about why I find issue with it.

posted by bdaddy at 11:37 AM on December 30

Hey, sounds like they both have issues.

Leach doesn't need to worry ... sounds like he's prime material for the Raiders in 2010.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:46 AM on December 30

No winners in this situation. I watched a brief on-camera casual clothes interview with Craig James last night during the bowl game. He's got two kids enrolled at TT and professes to love the place.

He seems torn about the whole thing. He surely realizes that his son is a problem child, and he seems to have (had) genuine admiration for Leach's program. Yet he knows what Coach did was over the top.

It was the most subdued and thoughtful I've ever seen Craig James. I would wish him a few more moments like that, but under better circumstances. Take stock of things, quit being in such a hurry to run the mouth.

Adam James will hopefully grow up and become his own person and move past the fact that he's the son of HyperCraig.

Interesting footnote: Leach gets a six figure balloon payment if he's still the coach on Dec. 31, and gets a similar payout (but in staggered annual payments) if he's terminated prior to that.

It's not giant money either way by today's Saban standards, so it probably will not heavily influence whatever decision TT makes about Leach. Behind closed doors, they are probably more worried about who would replace him if they let him go.

posted by beaverboard at 11:47 AM on December 30

Things you may not know about Craig James (just for the hell of it, because I just learned it myself) -- last white running back to rush for 1,000 yards in the NFL, back in 1985.

And that does not look like it will change any time soon -- the highest rushing white player comes in at number 60 on the rushing charts with a whopping 314 yards and is a quarterback (Aaron Rodgers).

posted by holden at 12:26 PM on December 30

Well, it's fascinating to see the Cult of Coach in full effect.

posted by etagloh at 12:53 PM on December 30

It's being reported that Leach has been fired.

posted by NoMich at 01:11 PM on December 30

correct!http://msn.foxsports.com/cfb/story/Texas-Tech-Mike-Leach-fired-123009

posted by texpat at 01:15 PM on December 30

Things you may not know about Craig James (just for the hell of it, because I just learned it myself) -- last white running back to rush for 1,000 yards in the NFL, back in 1985.

Mike Alstott, FB, came close in 1999 with 949 yards. He also scored more TDs than any other player in Bucs history.

posted by bperk at 01:18 PM on December 30

"Interesting footnote: Leach gets a six figure balloon payment if he's still the coach on Dec. 31, and gets a similar payout (but in staggered annual payments) if he's terminated prior to that."

Given the timing of his firing the day before Dec. 31 and today's scheduled court hearing for an injunction to coach, get ready for a massive lawsuit.

posted by jjzucal at 01:23 PM on December 30

Comparatively speaking, this punishment was pretty mild. A good defense attorney would also point out that the same doctor who diagnosed the mild concussion also stated that the punishment involved would have zero adverse effects on the kid.

After Mark Mangino got fired current and former players stood in line to lodge their complaints. After ten years at Tech without a single allegation, current and former players of Leach are standing in line to sing his praises.

No one is minimizing the seriousness of concussions, not even Leach. This has more to do with a problem player that had a history of slacking off- that was emerging long before the string of e-mails. I would bet a month's salary that the other players didn't consider this abuse or bad treatment of a concussion. I seriously doubt that any one with a concussion in the future on that team under Leach would be afraid of the same treatment.

The kid was embarrassed in front of his peers, he complained to network daddy who in turn made a mountain out of a molehill.

posted by irunfromclones at 01:50 PM on December 30

The firing surely passed extensive legal review and given we're talking about Texas, which is notoriously employer-friendly, I don't know how much of a case Leach would have had for the injunction or will have about the termination.

$800k may not be Saban-huge but is more than pocket money and despite this blemish I doubt Leach will be waiting long for a quality gig to come his way.

posted by billsaysthis at 01:51 PM on December 30

Comparatively speaking, this punishment was pretty mild.

Compared to what?

the same doctor who diagnosed the mild concussion also stated that the punishment involved would have zero adverse effects on the kid.

Does this same doctor also work for Texas Tech per chance?

posted by yerfatma at 02:22 PM on December 30

All this talk about no complaints or allegations in 10 years, how do you know there weren't several issues that came to light since the James incident? For all the individuals coming forward in support of Leach, maybe others who didn't dare say anything before have spoken up now. Texas Tech most likely looked into potential legal ramifications prior to firing the guy, don't ya think? Stop thinking Leach is the end-all of legal minds just because he has some background in law. I have a cousin who is able to practice law and he's an idiot.

posted by dyams at 02:23 PM on December 30

Given all of the data surfacing now about the long terms effects of brain injuries, how can that or any physician really say that being made to stand up for 2-3 hours after suffering a concussion is not harmful?

posted by yzelda4045 at 02:39 PM on December 30

I doubt making a college kid stand in a storage shed for hours will pass any judges test with regards to acceptable treatment. And no, I'm not saying it caused further harm to James. But Leach will have a hard time proving he didn't do this to punish the kid for not practicing. He didn't believe the kids diagnosis was serious enough for him not to practice, decided to proceed in a stupid way, and was fired for it. The Junction Boys days are well in the past, and coaches can either deal with that fact or expect to be made accountable when called on their actions.

posted by dyams at 03:33 PM on December 30

come on yzelda, it wasn't that the punishment might have worsened the concussion, it was that Leach punished the player at all. The long term effect being that others might be inclined to play through an injury out of fear of reprecussions.

So, where does Leach land?

posted by dviking at 03:36 PM on December 30

the same doctor who diagnosed the mild concussion also stated that the punishment involved would have zero adverse effects on the kid.

I don't care if the kid never had a concussion. The concussion doesn't have anything to do with this. As far as I'm concerned the injury could have been a sprained ankle.

The issue is that he held a student for 3 hours
- against his will
- in a cold/dark room
- with a guard
- ordered not to sit or lean


all to discourage this player (and others) from missing practice due to an injury.

That is unacceptable in any world, in any sport, at any age, for any injury.

posted by bdaddy at 03:53 PM on December 30

While the punishment might have been ill-advised, I find it hard to see where it was medically harmful to the kid.

And given the apparent feelings toward the kid, I don't know how many of the other players would take it as punishment for the injury as opposed to just punishment for the kid.

posted by graymatters at 05:01 PM on December 30

perhaps Leach's firing has been months in the making:

http://www.sportingnews.com/college-football/article/2009-12-30/james-gang-helps-texas-tech-get-revenge-on-leach

posted by Newbie Walker at 05:28 PM on December 30

perhaps Leach's firing has been months in the making

Perhaps it has. Perhaps a college that wants to keep its coach, bully or not turns a blind eye, ESPN dad or not. But I've joked elsewhere that for a country without "titles of nobility", there's a shitload of deference paid towards Holy Sainted Coach, and if the protesting alums decide to vote with their wallets, then it really speaks to the state of shamateur college sport in the US.

posted by etagloh at 05:59 PM on December 30

bdaddy,

Actually it does matter that it was a concussion. Just went to a talk last week by the medical researchers who convinced the NFL to change their mind about concussions. Ankles heal. Brains don't - at least not very well. After one concussion, the changes of more concussions are exponentially greater especially if not given sufficient time and rest to heal. After some number of concussions (as yet unknown), serious brain damage shows up. Symptoms appears typically when patients reach mid 40s. The researchers showed former athletes with mind numbing headaches, depression, behavior problems, suicides, and/or serious mental impairment. Google "Ted Johnson" formerly of the New England Patriots (Craig James' team). One video showed one former NFL player unable to recall the months of the year. The concussions cause build up of proteins in the brain very similar to Alzheimer's. Tissue damage can only be physically proven by autopsy - won't show up on a CT or MRI scan. It is called CTE. And it's not just NFL players. One case involved a teenager football player (who had died) with permanent damage from concussions - a brain that showed serious protein scarring. This is going to affect all impact sports - hockey, football, soccer, etc. As a former player, a coach and a father, this was a chilling talk. It was no wonder to me that the NFL reversed course so quickly. That Mike Leach missed the biggest issue in sports today shows a huge disregard for the long term health of his players and incredibly poor judgment.

posted by wmorrison27 at 06:01 PM on December 30

While the punishment might have been ill-advised, I find it hard to see where it was medically harmful to the kid.

graymatters, Physical rest is one of the factors cited in helping to minimize concussion damage.

posted by wmorrison27 at 06:05 PM on December 30

While the punishment might have been ill-advised, I find it hard to see where it was medically harmful to the kid.

Is it really so hard for people to see what was actually going on here? I'm so confused at this point I'm actually starting to get pissed. Several have mentioned above that having the kid stand in the shed with guards posted outside so he couldn't leave, sit, or lean was NOT anything meant to be medically harmful to him. It was meant to punish and humiliate him because he was not on the practice field with the rest of the team, going through drills. Having him go through this was a way to let other players know they better be practicing and participating, unless they're basically crippled (and who cares what any dumb shit doctor says), or they will be subjected to some sort of humiliation too. Maybe if Leach would have had a portable john next to the field he would have made James stand in that for three hours with a guard posted outside.

posted by dyams at 09:15 PM on December 30

I'm so confused at this point I'm actually starting to get pissed.

Seconded. If we're discussing the medical implications of the treatment, Leach has gotten away with a fast one. He could have given a shit if the kid lived or died. He wasn't gonna have any goldbrickin' on his watch. The lesson for hard-asses here is that gold-bricking private might just be Captain America and where would we be if it weren't for him? Discussing this in German is where we'd be. Except we'd be reading from a script.

posted by yerfatma at 09:01 AM on December 31

Looking past James and how he was treated, seems to me that Leach's biggest problem was he forgot the Chancellor always has the last word. No matter how important a head coach thinks he is or how much the alumni love him, if he forgets this, he's on a track for a quick departure.

Although we'll never know, I'd bet Leach would still be coach if he'd met with the Chancellor and AD on Tuesday!

posted by BikeNut at 09:53 AM on December 31

Looking past James and how he was treated, seems to me that Leach's biggest problem was he forgot the Chancellor always has the last word.

The idea that Leach got fired because of the incident with James seems far-fetched to me. A lot more was going on in Lubbock for the school to be willing to fire its acclaimed coach right before a bowl game.

posted by rcade at 12:06 PM on December 31

The idea that Leach got fired because of the incident with James seems far-fetched to me.

There must be a great deal more behind this entire issue than just this incident, or what the public has been informed of. I also get the impression Leach is just another example of an overblown, egotistical coach who feels he's first, and the university is a distant second. The fact they are a school who can bring in Bobby Knight as a coach and deal with him, but needed to give Leach the boot says something. It would be interesting just exactly what that "something" is.

posted by dyams at 01:28 PM on December 31

Stop thinking Leach is the end-all of legal minds just because he has some background in law.

No one said he was the second coming of F. Lee Bailey.

I have a cousin who is able to practice law and he's an idiot.

OK. With that, I will edit yerfatma's brilliant remark:

Remind me not to hire you him as a defense attorney.


The Junction Boys days are well in the past

Ah, but the Bear's methods got results.

posted by mjkredliner at 02:30 PM on December 31

And now they get you fired.

posted by tron7 at 02:55 PM on December 31

True.

posted by mjkredliner at 03:04 PM on December 31

Can someone tell me if there was ever medical proof that James had a concussion? In the articles I've read, it is never mentioned (or I don't remember) whether Leach was presented with proof.

posted by skippy at 03:15 PM on December 31

Curious also when this concussion occurred? Same day? Few days prior? Weeks?

posted by MW12 at 03:34 PM on December 31

Can someone tell me if there was ever medical proof that James had a concussion?

Say it's my Catholic school upbringing, but why does it matter? From all accounts, Leach was told James did have a concussion and still went through with what he did. Not sure concussion is a yes/ no thing anyway (ignoring the different grades of concussion).

posted by yerfatma at 03:35 PM on December 31

Leach is alleging that his firing was based on lies made up by the board of regents, members of the booster club, etc. While I find this a little far fetched, let me just say that if it turns out to be untrue, I agree that he shouldn't have been fired - but if it is true, he should have been.

You don't punish somebody for getting injured.

posted by Joey Michaels at 06:01 PM on December 31

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