There's a Line Between On-Field Thugs, Off-Field Criminals and Stupid Analysts

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There's a Line Between On-Field Thugs, Off-Field Criminals and Stupid Analysts
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Allen Pinkett, former Notre Dame running back and current radio analyst, has been sent home from Dublin, Ireland. The Guinness road trip stops now, at least for him. He will no longer be calling the Notre Dame-Navy game thanks to comments he made on WSCR-AM 670’s The McNeil and Spiegel Show.

Pinkett discussed the current wave of suspensions of some of Notre Dame’s high-profile players and how adding a few “criminals” could actually help the Irish improve their “edge”:

I've always felt like, to have a successful team, you have to have a few bad citizens on the team. That's how Ohio State used to win all the time. They would have two or three guys that were criminals and that just adds to the chemistry of the team. So I think Notre Dame is growing because maybe they have some guys that are doing something worthy of a suspension, which creates edge on the football team.

You can't have a football team full of choirboys, you know? You get your butt kicked if you have a team full of choirboys. So you have to have a little bit of edge.

You’ve been there before. You’ve probably never been sent home for Ireland because of bad behavior—although that's not the case with all of you—and learned this lesson long ago, perhaps in your early schooling years.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Even if you are 100 percent in belief of something, sometimes it’s best not to say it. In fact, saying such things can be catastrophic. We brought in a first-grader to confirm such details, and he has since confirmed this to be true.

In a lot of ways, football isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a nasty game, and nastiness is not only allowed, but encouraged within reason. There are rules outlining what you can and cannot do, but being malicious within the lines and within whistles is not only allowed, but also desired.

Coaches love this nastiness (there’s a reason these pep talks are rarely televised), but finding that teachable balance is a challenge. It’s what they all strive for, although that on-off switch is a difficult one to zero in on. That’s where the nastiness stops, however. It has to or there will be repercussions. 

The idea of needing “criminals” in a locker room to improve a team or “balance” it out is almost as ridiculous as citing examples in cases that it’s worked. Have there been "criminals" on winning teams before? Absolutely. Is this the desired formula to be followed?

Is that a real question?

Speed is speed. Size is size. Execution on the field has nothing to do with whether or not a player got into his car or drove drunk. The definition of “criminal” is also incredibly vague, but there is no basis to his argument no matter which way you try to spin it. Pinkett went on to specify that he doesn't want "mass murderers or "rapists" on the team. Well, yeah.

Notre Dame doesn’t need more criminals; it needs a quarterback (it may have found one, actually), it needs talent (which it has plenty of) and it needs a schedule that gives it an opportunity to succeed. That last one is a bit dicey.

As for Allen Pinkett, he needs a good book and a glass of wine for the long, lonely flight home and an alarm clock to make sure he doesn’t miss the game early Saturday morning.

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