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Ron Incognito

November 10, 2013

Somewhere, there is a team of anger management counselors capable of providing adequate therapy to both Ron English and Richie Incognito.  It’s time to use the bat signal to get them out of their cave and help these two troubled souls.  (For the record, the bat signal for the super-hero anger management counselors is the silhouette of Bobby Knight’s face).  In the case of Incognito, the dude’s a complete dick and a locker room cancer.  Anyone who followed that guys career saw his troubles from a mile away.  Ron English, not so much.

English, while an intense competitor, did not seem like he could fall to these depths.  I’m sure he dressed his team down on several occasions.  But to use homophobic slurs, to call them quitters and complainers, no, I have to say I did not see that coming.  What he said was reprehensible.  When he said it completely boggles the mind.  In the words of Army Counselor Joseph Welch to Senator Joseph McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” 

You see, if the report is accurate, Ron English’s tirade happened the week after Demarius Reed was murdered.  Have you no decency, indeed.

The appalling audio of English’s outburst is quite revealing.  No, it doesn’t reveal that Ron English is a monster.  What he said, and when he said it, was monstrous, but it was the act of a desperate, stressed-out man – a man defeated by his job, probably humiliated by his own failure.  He should not have been in that situation.  He should have been fired weeks earlier.

Every single person who is close to this program knew Ron English was finished after the Ball State loss.  I’m sure Ron English knew it.  At that point, he had a record of 11-41 and was headed for what we all saw happen, a complete implosion.  Forget the Detroit media, who show up only when coaches get fired or a player gets murdered.  Those who know the program inside and out knew it was over, and saw this disaster waiting to happen.  Eagle Totem, The Eastern Echo – the only ones who are covering this program week in and week out, not as an afterthought but as a real passion – called for English to be let go before things went to shit.  We were ignored, and things went to shit.

Don’t get me wrong, the fault of the tirade lies with English.  Those were his words, and he will have to live with that.  His future job hunt just became very difficult.  But keeping English around while things fell apart was soaking the rag in kerosene, lighting it, and sticking it in a bottle of petrol.  Failure and stress can reduce a man to his most base behavior.  Firing English after the Ball State loss would not just have been good for the program, it would have been an act of mercy.

As much as we are all happy that Eastern beat Western yesterday, this has been a horrible year for the EMU program.  We’ve been in the news twice this year, once when our starting wide receiver was gunned down in a callous and cowardly act, and once when the head coach went on a homophobic tirade that would make Alec Baldwin wince.

What English did isn’t so different from Richie Incognito.  It was harassment, pure and simple.  Just like Jonathan Martin, these guys who were verbally abused by English were just trying to play football.  Every one of these players has courage and guts, or else they wouldn’t be risking CTE or whatever other long-term injuries can come from crashing into other humans at high speeds.  No football player deserves to have their manhood questioned.

All this makes me that much more proud of this team’s (and the coaches) victory on Saturday.  It was a good win, and hopefully behind Stan Parrish Eastern can salvage a win or two more here at the end.  Too bad Parrish wasn’t given this chance a month ago, EMU could have been spared this embarrassment.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Andy Dufresne permalink
    November 10, 2013 6:23 pm

    Speaking of the Free Press, quite a sloppy, poorly written piece here. He poorly tries to connect a losing football team with murders on campus.

    http://www.freep.com/article/20131110/SPORTS08/311100090?fb_comment_id=fbc_534953129922937_69506332_535210656563851

    • Ken permalink
      November 11, 2013 12:39 am

      I call bullshit on that article because he said that you could time the lights from Stadium to Hewitt. Maybe in the world he lives in but not in this world.

      • Block E permalink
        November 11, 2013 9:47 am

        I’ve seen grass grow an inch before that light at Washtenaw and Carpenter changed.

  2. Kenneth Barna permalink
    November 10, 2013 6:59 pm

    Dear Jeremy,
    I agree with your article. Very well written. However, now that this recording has surfaced, I’m also beginning to wonder that maybe the players really did not like Coach English, and really did not give their best effort. Maybe this behavior had come up before, and that’s why the recording? I read that from somewhere, so that is not my Idea and I can’t take credit for it, but it does make sense in a way. I’m just stunned by the whole outcome, but glad Eastern acted on it.

  3. Block E permalink
    November 10, 2013 11:47 pm

    Seen on the EMU Football facebook page a week before this all blew up:

    “My son is a senior and unfortunately he has has had all 4 of his years wit English… I have an inside track on what goes on with these young men and it’s terrible… He is NOT good to these young men and it’s not just him. The whole coaching staff needs to go cause not one of them has done what is right for these young men… The team or the school. There really is incredible talent on this team that is misused…not used… Or they just don’t know what to do with them. My son has played football since he was 8 and has never been under worse coaches and this includes the volunteer coaches in the peewee leagues. I look forward to my son flying when he LEAVES EMU football!”

    • Ralph Pasola permalink
      November 11, 2013 7:41 am

      That’s really too bad since that’s not what Eastern is all about. They’ll all be gone by the end of the year.

  4. Humpty Dumpty permalink
    November 11, 2013 7:45 am

    Clear this rumor up for me if somebody can: Someone told me that right before EMU hired Ron English it was arranged for Chuck Martin and his entire staff to start the next Monday morning at Eastern. Then we have Stapleton and Carr and another idiot from Sports Network interfere and English gets hired. What a mistake. And to boot they payed Lloyd Carr and someone else a big finders fee.

    • Ken permalink
      November 11, 2013 10:45 am

      If “Three and Out” is to be believed, Lloyd was not happy messing around with Ann Arbor’s hires, he had to come here as well?

  5. Grady permalink
    November 11, 2013 11:22 am

    English had a breakdown borne out of desperation. I am sure he regrets things now but at the time, it seems like he felt he had do say something, anything to motivate his players. It was a desperation move and it failed on every level.

    Having said that, and in some ways this is not the best example, but I can speak from experience that todays teen/20 something does not want anyone telling them what they are doing wrong on any level. They are above criticism. “Who are You to Criticize Me” is uttered from students after presentations where a panel reviews projects and offers praise/critique. They honestly think they are being attacked and that their C-level work is above reproach; perhaps because they have never been told otherwise in their young lives.

    This is not gonna get better. The Trophy Generation is now in college and the next generation will be even more self-absorbed and full of esteem I cant even imagine what it will be like dealing with these kids in 15 years.

    • Block E permalink
      November 11, 2013 12:51 pm

      My take is that Ron English is a hard-assed coach from the trenches. That’s fine if you win. But if you don’t, things will snowball fast. It’s hard enough to take a tirade like that from a *winning* coach.

  6. Block E permalink
    November 11, 2013 1:07 pm

    Jeremy and Chris –

    All of the reports I have read about the “change” in Ron’s employment status suggest that he has been “relieved of duties”. The question arises – is this a termination of his contract or is he just idled and being paid through the end of the year?

    Under his contract – see http://www.coacheshotseat.com/CHSEasternMichigan.pdf – If he is fired for “just cause” (moral turrpitude / embarrassing the university – see clause 6.1.3) then the University has to give him a hearing. From my cursory review, it’s at least a fifty thousand dollar question.

    • Jeremy permalink
      November 11, 2013 2:13 pm

      E — Reading 6.1.3 he certainly could be fired for just cause. From there, he [English] would have to request a hearing. I would suspect that the public and dramatic natire of the tape will discourage that. Best guess is that English continues to be apologetic, and goes quietly.

  7. Kenneth Barna permalink
    November 11, 2013 2:26 pm

    Dear Friends,
    If I remember reading somewhere, English was fired without cause, and he would be paid the remainder of his salary which was approximately $48,000. I agree with Jeremy. He wants to get out of town quietly.

  8. Ralph Pasola permalink
    November 11, 2013 9:30 pm

    A strength and conditioning coach at W. Virginia has indicated that Eastern has been talking to one of the assistants. I got this from the strength and conditioning coach’s mother-in-law. What do you guys think?

  9. Kenneth Barna permalink
    November 12, 2013 9:13 am

    Dear Ralph,
    Do you know which one? Personally, I’m hoping for a head coach hire. Eastern has gone the route of big time assistants and it hasn’t panned out. Rasnick, Woodruff, Genyk, English, I just don’t see it.

  10. Ken permalink
    November 12, 2013 9:34 am

    After the last coach that came to the State of Michigan from West Virgina, not sure if I want to see another one here. I’m with Mr. Barna, I would prefer to see a coach with head coaching experience (preferably at a college level). Although, I was talking with a guy at work and he was suggesting Mr. Ron Adams (EMU quarterback when they went to the Cal Bowl) who is currently coaching a downriver high school. But I don’t see that one being a good choice either except perhaps as a QB coach or something like that.

  11. Ralph permalink
    November 12, 2013 10:45 am

    After talking to Ron Saturday I don’t think he would want the job however never say never. Also, I’m not advocating for anyone from W.V. That would be a bad choice. Just wanted to know if you guys had heard anything.

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