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Mike Leach Details Craig James' 'Meddling' on ESPN

Jan 2, 2010 – 10:50 AM
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Michael David Smith

Michael David Smith %BloggerTitle%

ESPN is in an awkward situation when covering Texas Tech's firing of Mike Leach: The firing was precipitated by an ESPN employee, Craig James, complaining to the school that his son, Texas Tech wide receiver Adam James, had been mistreated by Leach. And so there's an inherent conflict in any coverage of the story.

In my opinion, several ESPN commentators -- most notably Mark Schlereth -- have shown a bias in favor of the James family and against Leach when covering this story. But I think Rece Davis did a fair job of interviewing Leach in the video you see here, and I credit ESPN for making the full interview available on YouTube so we can all watch and judge for ourselves.

In the video, Leach makes his case that Craig James was the worst kind of helicopter parent, constantly meddling, calling the coaches so often that they had to institute a policy of ignoring his calls, and raising a spoiled son who felt entitled to playing time he hadn't earned.

"Craig James required more time than all of the other parents combined," Leach said.

I think Leach makes a persuasive case that Craig James did, in fact, cross the line in some of his dealings with the Texas Tech coaching staff, and I think Leach is right to point out that if he were going to mistreat a student-athlete, he'd be crazy to pick "The richest kid whose father's got the biggest microphone in front of his face."

That doesn't mean Leach is blameless in all this, or that he didn't deserve to be fired. But it's not fair for ESPN to report on the story of Leach's firing without always making clear what Leach's side of the story is. Leach got to give his side in the interview with Davis, and as ESPN continues to report this story going forward, it's going to have to continue giving time to Leach's side of the story -- no matter how uncomfortable that makes one ESPN college football analyst.
Filed under: Sports