Daddy's Little Girl: Adam James and the Mike Leach Firing

Daniel MuthSenior Analyst IDecember 30, 2009

DALLAS - JANUARY 02:  Head coach Mike Leach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders during play against the Mississippi Rebels during the AT&T Cotton Bowl on January 2, 2009 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Sports has grown into a big time business in the United States, even at the collegiate level, which is one of the reasons why the NCAA is such a sham.

But I digress.

Unfortunately, this means that more and more people that know absolutely nothing about sports are now in positions to comment and officiate them.

Journalists that have never set foot on the field of play, filter the goings on through an ignorant lens, often misunderstanding the necessary nuance of confrontation and the absolute need for discipline.

And more than any other sport, football requires the most discipline.

I say this having competed in many other sports and holding a great love for them as well.

In my wrestling days, the practices were probably the most brutal, but at the end of the day, you could be somewhat of a loose cannon and still be successful.

In my soccer days, the running was intense, but the offense was free form and often improvisational.

In my swimming days, the pool drained your stamina, but I never had to worry much about what the rest of my teammates where doing.

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In this sense football is the ultimate team game and if one of the cards is out of place, then the whole house comes tumbling down.

If the wrong guy blitzes and leaves the flat open, then bam, you're screwed.

If a wide receiver runs an imprecise route on a timing play, then the safety may end up with six the other way.

If a running back is supposed to pick up the free man on the pass rush, but heads to a hot route instead, then your quarterback is going to get creamed.

Add to this the mayhem often incurred among the young testosterone-fueled men that are drawn to the game's violence and you start to understand that the head coach of a college football team has to be one tough dude.

Not unlike a drill sergeant in the military.

Young men are constantly testing themselves and the authority of others and if you allow the wolves to smell even a hint of weakness, then you might as well pack it in and look for another profession.

That's what makes this whole Mike Leach situation at Texas Tech smell absolutely foul.

Now I'm not in a position to know exactly what happened, but we already know that the original allegations were not exactly true.

We were told that Adam James, son of ESPN's Craig James, was forced into a shed to stand hours on end after showing up to practice.

The shed turned out to be an equipment room, complete with ice maker, fan, ventilation, and exercise equipment.

We were told that Adam James, son of ESPN's Craig James, was next confined in an electrical closet under guard.

The "electrical closet" turned out to be a spacious press room with video monitors and stationary bikes, and the "guard" turned out to be trainers who were checking on his head injury.

So we already know that Adam James, son of ESPN's Craig James, was exaggerating the circumstances to the point of nearly straight-up lies.

So the next question one might reasonably ask is: "why was he told to go there?"

Well Adam James, son of ESPN's Craig James, suffered a mild concussion not so long ago that had him sidelined, but was recently cleared by his own doctor to play.

Instead, he showed up to practice wearing sun glasses (presumably because of the concussion he had been cleared from), and offered his own diagnosis to coach Mike Leach.

That being that he was not feeling up to practice and instead would rest on the sidelines in his sunglasses while the rest of the team worked their tails off.

At this point, it's worth taking a step back and looking at the situation in it's totality.

First, I'd like to appeal to the former or still participating football players out there and ask them what they think their coach would have done if they had been cleared to play, but decided quite nonchalantly that they didn't feel like it.

I could very well ask this of any former or current athlete, but football coaches tend to be an ever harder breed; they're all like Bobby Knight.

What Mike Leach did was tell Adam James, son of ESPN's Craig James, that he'd be damned if was going to let him laze around on the sidelines in sunglasses while the rest of the team worked and if the sun was such a problem, that he'd be better off sitting out the practice in the equipment garage, where players often took respite from the heat.

And you know what?  I can't be sure, but he probably said that forcefully and with an expletive or two laced in to accentuate his point.

That's what football coaches do.

It's their job to break you down until you understand that nobody is above the team.

Nobody, not even Adam James, son of ESPN's Craig James.

In the recent aftermath of this fiasco, we also have heard testimony as to exactly the kind of player James was.

His receivers coach was quoted as saying that, "he undermined my authority on many occasions."

His fellow player Eric Morris said, "Ever since the day he arrived on the Texas Tech campus, you couldn't help but to feel a negative energy from him. He expected people to baby him and that he was going make it solely on the fact that his father was a very successful player."

A coach was quoted as recalling that James, "complained to me that we were not doing our jobs as coaches and that his effort was just fine."

There are other reports that he had been a problem many times before, so there was a substantial prior history before he showed up that day with his shades on.

There is absolutely nothing extraordinary about what Mike Leach did.  If you've got a malignancy on your team you either have to cure it or separate it from the rest so it doesn't spread.

And from my experience under collegiate football coaches, it sounds like the kid got off pretty easy.

So why is this a big deal at all?

Well if you hadn't heard, Adam James is the son of ESPN analyst Craig James.

He's white, he's rich, and comes from a semi-famous family.

Because let's be honest,this is but the tip of the iceberg of the motivations a coach will employ to instill disciple and if this was just some poor kid from the inner city, we wouldn't have heard a damn thing about it.

In fact, his scholarship probably would've been pulled and he'd have been sent packing long ago.

If we did hear about it the first question we'd ask is, "Well what did he do?"

And that's the same question Texas Tech would've asked.

Unless of course we're talking about Adam James, son of ESPN's Craig James.

Instead, the administration went the other route and suspended their coach, with absolutely no evidence that he behaved inappropriately for their upcoming bowl game vs. Michigan State, thereby punishing the entire team for their hard work and effort this season.

And as recently reported by the AP, Leach has now been fired.

Football players are a tight knit group and I find it telling that not one of them has offered anything close to support for James (quite the opposite), whereas as a number have broken ranks in support of their coach.

And so I'd like to address the nation in my final words of this rant because I find this situation so absurd.

First of all, I'd like to apologise to women everywhere for my title, as I am really not comparing you to Adam James, son of ESPN's Craig James, but rather falling victim what I felt was a clever play on words.

Who knows, I'm probably wrong.

Second, have we really not evolved past the point where some entitled rich kid can take down an entire team for little more than his own injured pride?

Are we going to allow Little League Dad's to befoul college sports as well?

The kid had a mild concussion, whoopty- freaking-do.

If he wasn't feeling well, than the correct place for him was out of the sun not on the sidelines.

So unless some new piece of information is divulged and the overwhelming testimony of players and coaches somehow switches sides, then Texas Tech has a lot of "splaining" to do.

Let's give a man some due process before jumping off the deep end, validating a spoiled child's whining, and  punishing the rest of the players who did nothing wrong.

Shame on them.

And somewhere I imagine that Adam James, son of ESPN's Craig James, is smiling a dark spoiled smile to himself.


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