Another Tennessee Coach Doesn’t Know When To Stop Talking

Posted by nvr1983 on September 25th, 2009

In just a few months we have all become familiar with Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin and his tendency to talk way too much especially when attacking their main rival Florida (I doubt the Gators feel the same way about the “rivalry”). Well it turns out that Lane isn’t the only Tennessee coach who doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. Witness Bruce Pearl at a local charity fundraiser:

“I’ve got a tough job. I’ve got to put these guys from different worlds together, right? I’ve got guys from Chicago, Detroit. I’m talking about the hood! And I’ve got guys from Grainger County, where they wear the hood!”

(link to a news report with video of Pearl’s speech)

For those of you scoring at home Pearl just made fun of the living conditions of African-Americans and other groups that live in the inner city then implied that there is a strong KKK presence in rural Tennessee. So he’s being critical of African-Americans from the inner city and people from his own state. I’m not a recruiting expert, but that doesn’t seem like the best way to recruit especially when you are losing prized recruits while coaching overseas.

Pearl has since issued an apology for the statement:

This morning while speaking at a private kick-off event for a great organization that benefits many local charities, I made a statement in jest to describe the diverse group our staff recruits year-in and year-out. Unfortunately while I was trying to excite the crowd and encourage employees to give, I made an inappropriate joke. I certainly did not intend to offend anyone and I apologize to everyone, especially the people of Grainger County.

In no way am I trying to justify what I said, but I’m disappointed that the focus has been placed on me rather than the charities I was there to help. My only hope is that the visibility of this mistake will encourage those who can to give to those in need during these difficult times.

Judging by the reaction of Tennessee fans on the the local news site they don’t seem to think it is a big deal, but we’ll have to wait and see how opposing coaches try to use this against Pearl on the recruiting trail.

nvr1983 (1397 Posts)

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2 responses to “Another Tennessee Coach Doesn’t Know When To Stop Talking”

  1. Brian says:

    It’s not a big deal, people need to lighten up. I don’t think he was making fun of inner-city kids. “The hood” is not a derogatory term, people from those areas use it themselves.

    The joke about rural Tennessee is sad but true.

  2. rtmsf says:

    I see this as a kind of damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. While everything Pearl said is somewhat based in fact, he opens himself up to negative recruiting by losing control of his mouth in this situation. Remember, it’s not often what’s said, it’s often how people interpret it.

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