No sympathy here

Perhaps my amused attitude to the news that three Tennessee freshman football players had been arrested for an alleged armed robbery was a sad statement about my inability to have an appropriate reaction to a disturbing situation. Frankly though, I'd imagine my feelings were pretty similar to most sports fans across the country.

My take went something like this: How you doin' Lane Kiffin? What do you have to say now you obnoxious jerk? Look at what your players did. The players YOU recruited.

I had nothing against Kiffin prior to him taking over at Tennessee. His tiff with Al Davis last year really didn't make me feel negatively toward him. It's impossible to even judge a fight with Davis because Davis is basically insane. Now that I'm thinking back to that bizarre he said-she said between the two last year, in some ways it reminds me of the fight between Jeff Greene and Bam Bam Funkhouser from Curb Your Enthusiasm.

(For the uninitiated, Greene, a married man, had sex with Funkhouser, a mental patient who was the sister of Greene's good friend. When Funkhouser blurted out what had happened to a bunch of family friends, Greene denied the whole thing and said a crazy woman was making up a ridiculous story, and everyone basically accepted his word.)

Funkhouser (Al Davis) seemed like she was telling the truth, but Greene (Lane Kiffin) was considered mentally stable, so his BS denial was more convincing.

My intense dislike toward Kiffin began after I read a fascinating article by John Ed Bradley in the Feb. 16, 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated. Kiffin comes across unbelievably pompous and mean-spirited.

Among the nuggets in the story:
  • Kiffin boasted of "stealing" (his words) the best assistant coaches from fellow SEC schools.
  • Kiffin wrongly accused Florida coach Urban Meyer (by the way, how incredible is it that Meyer could play the victim role?) of violating an NCAA recruiting rule.
  • Kiffin bragged about firing a driver who was 25 minutes late to picking him up at the airport.
  • Kiffin offered this delightful quote: "You can't count the number of people we've run off because they couldn't keep up, and I'm including secretaries."
And then there was the story that he told a recruit from South Carolina that he'd end up pumping gas for the rest of his life if he went to University of South Carolina.

He's continued to be just as insensitive and arrogant in the subsequent months, acting like he's some proven winner and offering a generally obnoxious attitude.

What made yesterday's news even more interesting was the fact that two of the arrested suspects were Nu'Keese Richardson and Janzen Jackson, two of Kiffin's most prized recruits. In fact, Richardson was the player Kiffin accused Meyer of calling on his official visit to Tennessee, claiming that was a violation of recruiting rules even though it wasn't.

Look, no one is suggesting that Kiffin was an accomplice to this alleged crime. I'm not here to say he should be lose his job or even be suspended over the fact that a few of his players are being accused of felonies.

What is true, however, is that players that he boasted about recruiting, the players who would be at the forefront of the Kiffin regime at Tennessee, are potentially in very serious trouble.

Maybe Kiffin will tone his act down just a bit. Somehow, I doubt it.

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