North Carolina Coach Roy Williams' Haiti Comments Par for the Course

Justin McTeerCorrespondent IFebruary 11, 2010

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 16:  Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts to his team during their game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the Dean Smith Center on January 16, 2010 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The North Carolina Tar Heels' struggles on the court this season have been the focus of much media attention.

In the preseason, North Carolina was picked as the No. 4 team in the nation. They were also voted to finish on top of the ACC along with Duke.

Now, past the halfway point of their conference schedule, the Tar Heels have partnered with N.C. State as one of only two teams in the ACC with only two wins, and if things continue the way they have recently (they have lost eight of their last 10 games), Roy Williams' squad is in danger of missing both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT.

But as surprising as this young Tar Heel squad's level of play may be, it has been Roy Williams' comments off the court that should be making the headlines now.

In a press conference (full of television cameras no less) prior to North Carolina's loss to Duke in Chapel Hill, Roy Williams compared the Tar Heels' season to the disaster in Haiti.

"Our massage therapist told me, 'You know, coach, what happened in Haiti is a catastrophe.  What you're having is a disappointment,'" Williams said. "I told her that depends on what chair you're sitting in. It does feel like a catastrophe to me, because it's my life."

While Williams certainly was not implying that what he's going through in this disappointing season is actually as serious as the horrific disaster in Haiti, his comments should raise eyebrows for their insensitivity—period.

Let's be honest, anyone who even has a massage therapist to begin with should never engage in a comparison of their job frustrations to a natural disaster of any kind.

For Williams though, comments like this are nothing new.

As his team has struggled, he has consistently focused the attention on himself and how hard this season has been for him in post-game interviews.

In his post-game press conference after Wake Forest beat North Carolina earlier this season, Williams was, again, the focus of his own comments.

"I don't know if I can live through this," he said.

He has consistently commented at his teams inability to pick up the things he's teaching in practice this season, telling the media that he has never had a team in his 20-plus years of Division I coaching that failed to respond to his tried-and-true coaching methods.

It's almost as if Williams wants us to feel genuinely sorry for him.

It's obvious that he feels genuinely sorry for himself.

For a coach who has won two national titles in five years (and has a massage therapist), the self-pity routine just doesn't cut it.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time Williams has displayed this kind of behavior.

Last year, when asked about his salary in light of Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun's infamous salary tirade, Williams called himself "the most sensitive person in this room to the state of the nation's economy" because his son had just lost his job.

Keep in mind that Williams was in a room filled with people who work in the newspaper industry, one that has seen substantial layoffs in recent years.

Frankly, Williams comments about Haiti should make headlines this week, especially when his string of recent self-focused comments are considered.

His comments should not be sensationalized into something they are not, but no matter the context, they are certainly unacceptable and monumentally insensitive.

In the meantime, someone at North Carolina needs to remind Williams of an important principle in team sports, one with which he should already be familiar—it's not about you.