Columnists have a responsibility to be fair and thoughtful and not to rush to judgment. The case of the Notre Dame camera operator who fell to his death this week after strong wind gusts toppled the lift on which he was working, has sparked a lot of finger pointing. And I think it’s too soon for finger pointing.
One columnist, Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports, called for the immediate firing of Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly, writing that everything that happens on the football practice field and beyond is his responsibility. Kelly is in his first season as Notre Dame’s
I think Whitlock has gone too far. I can’t imagine how bad Kelly feels in the aftermath of this tragedy. And, yes, he is the head coach and thus responsible for how the Irish conduct a football practice.
Obviously, it was too windy for 20-year-old Declon Sullivan to be on the lift’s platform filming practice. Gusts reportedly were hitting 50 mph and Sullivan made a couple of tweets that reflected a concern for his safety. It’s heartbreaking to think that Sullivan had no other recourse but to stay up on the lift and continue to film.
Ultimately, blame will be cast. But it’s far too simplistic and much too quick to lay this at the feet of Kelly, I think. Let’s get more details before any rash penalties are handed down. It’s human nature to want to lash out after something like this happens. But it does not good for anyone to start pointing fingers and laying blame this quickly.
More information is needed. Details of Notre Dame’s practice procedures are warranted.
I’m not saying Kelly is innocent in all of this. If he was aware of the danger that Sullivan was facing then by all means he should be held accountable. How accountable?
We just don’t know yet.
Meanwhile, Kelly coached the Irish in Saturday’s game against Tulsa. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for him, and for the Irish players. This is a terrible tragedy, one that shouldn’t have happened. But to write that a coach should immediately lose his job is irresponsible. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Not yet.
*Cartier Martin scored a team-high 17 points for the Washington Bullets in their season-opening blowout loss to the Orlando Magic the other night.
This is newsworthy for a couple of reasons: 1) Martin was the leading scorer for an NBA team; and, 2) I had no idea Martin was with the Wizards, even though he played in eight games with them last season, in which he also appeared in 10 games with the Golden State Warriors.
The 6-foot-7 Martin is one of many NBA players looking for a place to stick. He was an undrafted free agent after the 2006-07 season and played professionally in Turkey for a season. He then went to the NBA Development League and played parts of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons with Iowa.
In 2009, he signed a 10-day contract with the Charlotte Bobcats and went on to play 33 games with Charlotte. Last season, he got chances with the Warriors and Wizards and this season went to training camp with Washington.
Against Orlando, Martin played 24 minutes – minutes he’s not likely to get in closer games. But he came through, making 5 of 9 field-goal attempts and all six of his free throws. Worth keeping an eye on.
Some NFL picks for tomorrow’s games
Dallas 24, Jacksonville 14
Washington 27, Detroit 24
Kansas City 30, Buffalo 23
New York Jets 20, Green Bay 17
Oakland 27, Seattle 14
New England 21, Minnesota 14
Pittsburgh 20, New Orleans 17
Indianapolis 27, Houston 20
My Facebook Friend
Ann Fowler Turgeon
Ann is a coach’s wife and most coach’s wives don’t like me. They think I write negatively about their husbands and his teams and a lot of times they are right. But occasionally, a coach’s wife understands the job of a sports columnist and accepts that not everything written is going to be glowing. Ann, the wife of former Wichita State coach Mark Turgeon, always understood. Then
again, how much negative was there to write about Turgeon’s years as the Shockers’ coach. He did an outstanding job and got WSU to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 in 2006, then left for Texas A&M after the 2006-07 season. Ann is one of the good ones and here’s what she had to say about herself and our Facebook friendship:
“I met Bob Lutz about nine years ago at Koch Arena. We had been living in Wichita for about two years and I kept asking my husband, ‘Who is this Bob Lutz guy?’ ” My husband was the Wichita State basketball coach at the time and Bob loved to write “thought provoking” articles about the basketball program. I actually loved Bob’s articles – he knew what he was talking about and his sarcastic and dry sense of humor was always quite entertaining. He interviewed me two or three times, which I DID NOT LIKE. It made me extremely nervous.
“I grew up north of Chicago and always LOVED basketball. I played basketball in high school and watched Michael Jordan come to town and change the world of NBA basketball. I went to the University of Kansas and met my husband my sophomore year when I was hired as the first female manager of the basketball team. Mark left for the University of Oregon right before my senior year in college and we were married the following September.
“I lived in Wichita for seven years from 2000-2007. Mark and I had two of our three kids in Wichita and it was home. Most of Mark’s family lives down the road in Topeka, we had moved my parents to Wichita and we both went to college at KU. My Dad passed away in Wichita four years ago after a six-year battle with Alzheimers. We moved to College Station, Texas 3 1/2 years ago when my husband took the job at Texas A & M University. College Station is a true college town – a wonderful place to raise our family. Our kids are now 11, 7 and 5 and we love our new home and the AGGIES! This season our seniors have been coached by Mark all four years and hold a very special place in my heart – they chose to come to A&M even with a new coach taking over the program. We still follow the Shockers and keep up with so many of our former players and friends from Wichita.
“As we start our fourth season in College Station – Mark’s 13th as a head coach – I cannot believe how time flies and all of the places we have been: Eugene, OR; Philadelphia; Jacksonville, AL; Wichita; College Station, and the amazing people/friends we have met at each stop on this adventure?
“Happy Hoops season!”