Nebraska coach Bo Pelini entitled to a private rant
BY SETH GRUEN Staff Reporter September 17, 2013 8:34PM
FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2013 file photo, Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini watches a replay during an NCAA college football game against Wyoming in Lincoln, Neb. Pelini said he expects the defense to be "significantly better" Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, against Southern Mississippi. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver, File)
Updated: September 18, 2013 3:56PM
Bo Pelini isn’t the pioneer of the F-bomb.
And here’s another shocker: The Nebraska coach isn’t the first to get frustrated with fans or the media.
Pelini’s job as a major college football coach is to be publicly diplomatic even in cases when he chooses to be critical. But when Pelini lashed out at media members and fans nearly two years ago in a recorded rant that was released Monday on Deadspin, he thought an off-the-record conversation gave him the opportunity to vent.
For that, he shouldn’t be fired.
He is guilty of the terrible defense Nebraska has played and, more important, the losing. If anything, that should be his inevitable undoing.
The outcry over the recording concerns Pelini’s criticism of a fan base that has been unyieldingly loyal — though Nebraska fans aren’t unique in that regard. His attempt to check his emotions has gone widely overlooked. On the recording, he says ‘‘it took all [his] power’’ not to vent publicly. So he said something privately. And he is entitled to a modicum of privacy.
Deadspin isn’t to blame for running with the information. Blame the anonymous tipster who went J. Edgar Hoover on Pelini by holding onto the recording for so long. For close to two years, those who knew about the conversation thought enough of Pelini’s sanctity to keep the conversation private. The surfacing of the tape two years later, after a brutal loss to UCLA, screams ‘‘agenda.’’
Were the comments any less egregious two years ago? Nebraska was 5-1 at the time and had just beaten Ohio State, and it wouldn’t have made as much news.
Pelini issued an obligatory apology through the university Monday, which had to be done.
‘‘I want to sincerely apologize for my comments from two years ago which became public today,’’ he said in a statement. ‘‘I take full responsibility for these comments. They were spoken in a private room following the Ohio State game. I was venting following a series of emotional events which led to this moment. That being said, these comments are in no way indicative of my true feelings. I love it here in Nebraska and feel fortunate to be associated with such a great university and fan base.’’
Ultimately, the best apology will come on the field, where the fate of his job should be determined.