I was speaking with a friend of mine who dates back to my days in Nashville. She’s a big Tennessee Vols fan, and feels betrayed by the defection of Lane Kiffin to Southern Cal.
My question: Why?
By now, it’s very clear that the pecking order of professional integrity goes as such:
1. Bank CEO.
3. Gary, Indiana-based pimp.
4. Crack peddler.
5. Big-time college sports coach.
It’s true. With rare exception, these men have no integrity, and a remarkably nonexistent sense of loyalty. If you come calling with large wads of bills, fat sneaker deals and chance for unlimited TV time, they’ll follow. Every. Single. Time. That’s why, even though I’d like to believe him, I have little doubt Pete Carroll joined the Seahawks for the simple reason that Southern Cal is about to be smacked with some severe penaltiesâ€”and he knows it. Hell, why else would someone leave a secure, well-paid gig in Southern California for the chance to take over a miserable franchise in America’s rainiest city? (If you’re answer is, “The chance to guide the team once quarterbacked by Kelly Stouffer,” you win a dime).
And yet, I probably shouldn’t even thrash these guys. Where, exactly, does loyalty exist? Family? Yes. But where else? Most of our employers would fire us in a flash if it meant upping stock value by a cent. Hollywood? We keep going to movie theatres and they keep upping prices. Religion? Don’t make me laugh.
Truth is, Lane Kiffin owes Tennessee no more than Tennessee owes Lane Kiffin. He’s looking out for No. 1â€”a sad, yet common, practice in this country.
PS: By the way, I’ve been to Knoxville more than once. OK town, passionate fans. But L.A. or Knoxville? Not exactly a tough choice.