Pat Haden can’t do both

Steve Sarkisian at a press conference introducing him as the new USC  head football coach at the John McKay Center at the University of Southern California on December 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

Steve Sarkisian at a press conference introducing him as the new USC head football coach at the John McKay Center at the University of Southern California on December 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

What we have here is the latest example of, “you can’t do both”.

You can either have off the field issues or have on the field issues. Problems in one area can earn you a second chance. Problems with both will get you fired. Sarkisian was the head coach of a USC Trojans team that was supposed to contend for a national title but has since slipped out of the top 25 in the polls. If he’s sober with a 3-2 record he has a job. If he’s drunk with a 5-0 record, he has a job assuming he doesn’t make a fool of himself in public again. But being an alcoholic with a 3-2 record and a loss at home to Washington will cost you your job. You can’t do both.

But, if you listen to Pay Haden talk about the straw that broke the camels back he does a good job of pretending this is the first time he’s noticed Sarkians health problems. Seeing Haden give that press conference reminded me of all the times I pretended I didn’t get a bill in the mail. He really tried to sit there and act like he didn’t witness or hear of Sarkisian being intoxicated at any point since he hired him.

Either he’s not connected to his football program or he’s acting like the special guest referee at WWE match who didn’t just see that guy get hit with the steel chair. Haden even had a “zero tolerance policy” regarding Sarkisian and alcohol like the only thing keeping Sarkisian from kicking his addition was his boss saying not to drink. I can’t tell if this is him not understanding the nature of addiction or if he was just looking for a way to cover his own ass by saying the prevision was in his contract.

How much effort was required by Haden to act like he didn’t see he had a problem on his hands? Was it like back in the day when I knew I failed a test and didn’t look at the grade like the F didn’t count unless I saw it? How many times did coaches say something to him about Coach Sark not looking well?

“Hey, Pat I don’t think Sark is healthy right now. He seemed really out of it today at the team meeting.”

“Yeah, well there’s been a cold going around campus so be sure to wash your hands and sneeze into your elbow.”

“I don’t know, I’m concerned he may be drinking again.”

“Well, the atmosphere on campus on game day is so intense its impossible to not get excited and feel intoxicated.”

And I would also love to hear what Haden had to say the boosters who questioned him when he announced the hire of Sarkisian:

“ Come on guys, I know he’s had his issues but I know a good coaching talent when I see one. Its not like I had to fire the last guy I hired in the middle of a blow out game or anything.”

(You can’t hire Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian back to back like you’re on the cover of Lethal Weapon, back to back like your Jordan ’96, ’97.)

To be clear, the fact that Sarkisian was battling with issues in his persona life  and it went unaddressed for a number of years isn’t funny. But, I will not make any apologies for laughing at the level of denial that it must have taken to justify what was obviously the wrong choice in head coach. Haden made a move that was morally questionable and lost football games at the same damn time. He could have done either one of those things and not had people call for him to step down. But now,  USC’s title hopes are virtually non existent and he decided to put the kids in that program under the care of someone battling with deep seeded personal issues.

If Haden wants to keep his job, he can’t do both.


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