You haven’t seen anything wrong with the tweet from the new Mississippi State trainer showing the meme of a woman knitting a noose with her caption: “After 2 weeks of quarantine with her husband, Gertrude decided to knit him a scarf. “
You are entitled to your opinion. The same goes for actors in the state of Mississippi, many of whom shared their not-so-indifferent opinions on the tweet.
This did not include MSU defensive lineman Fabien Lovett, who entered the transfer portal a few days after the tweet was posted. Lovett’s father confirmed that even though it was not just the tweet that played a role in his son’s decision, yes, the tweet was a factor. We found out on Monday via AL.com this offensive lineman Brevyn Jones also entered the transfer portal.
To recap, several MSU players publicly shared their disagreement with Leach’s tweet and several MSU players entered the transfer portal in the days following Leach’s tweet.
If you mean they were only transferred because they were not going to play or they just want to be eligible immediately elsewhere, you are again entitled to your opinion. If you mean “the media” are bored and looking for something you can talk about, you have the right to that opinion. Well, that is not the right opinion, because the second you have multiple players share their less positive feelings about something that a top coach tweets, including a senior captain like Erroll Thompson, this is news.
And for what it’s worth, his own sporting director, John Cohen, came out with a statement saying it’s “never appropriate” for a tweet with this topic:
“No matter the context, for many Americans, the image of a noose is never appropriate and this is especially true in the South and Mississippi. Mississippi State University was disappointed with the use of such an image in a tweet from coach Mike Leach. He deleted the tweet and made a public apology. University believes that Coach Leach quickly and sincerely moves beyond this unintentional misstep and will provide the leadership for our student athletes and the excitement for our football program that our fans deserve and that our students and alumni will be proud of support.
Even if you think there is nothing wrong with Leach’s tweet, you can at least admit that he did more harm than good. The parent of a player citing a tweet as the reason why his son was transferred is always a bad look, as is a sports director using the words “disappointed” and “faux pas” when he refers to something that a trainer did on social media. Clearly, Leach still has a little to learn.
Maybe he could learn a few things about entering a new part of the country from his predecessor, who never had a problem with everything he posted on social media. If Joe Moorhead had tweeted about the ropes, you can bet on the farm that the “this Yankee just doesn’t understand” would have been in effect.
So, because Leach has learned to do with more looks on him now than ever, I thought I would try to help him avoid future negative headlines with a few SEC lessons.
Let’s have a chat, Mike:
Just use your big brain to generate content on social networks
In other words, don’t rely on the memes you snatched from Facebook or Reddit. Why? It may not be obvious to those who spend hours doing exactly this work every day, but when you’re a head coach paid $ 5 million a year, shooting from the hip is probably not the best social media strategy.
Sharing the comic content of other people in 2020 should be treated as trying not to walk on a landmine. You can avoid it with 1,000 steps, but the first time you don’t, it can explode and have a greater impact than those 1,000 steps. You would say the same to your players.
That’s the thing. More often than not, Leach shares funny stuff. His Twitter account has more than 360,000 absurd subscribers, in part because of this.
But if you’re worried about it “censoring” me, how many times have you said something viral in a press conference that came from something you saw on Facebook or Reddit? These viral thoughts come from your big brain. When you talk about pirates or wedding planning, that’s all you do. Then you are at your best. There is still room for that.
Talking about that…
Timing is everything
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the biggest question I have about Leach is how he is going to handle the weak spots this season. Losing 3 consecutive conference games and unlike Pullman, the fan base will not laugh at a long-winded answer to the American Revolution if it avoids answering something about the team’s difficulties. For example, transform the question “what should you do to get Kylin Hill more involved” in a 7-minute rant about how “Bay of Pigs” was stupid not to fly at MSU.
If you want to squeeze in these references, do it at the spring or fall camp. Even better, do it after a 59-0 defeat by Alabama A&M. Choose your spots in the SEC. This conference is not oddly embracing like the Pac-12. It includes victories and bowl games that have not been played at Shreveport.
Again, this is not entirely unknown to you. When your program wins a big win, it’s great if your star quarterback wants to stick a fake mustache on you.
Mike Leach on Gardner Minshew’s mustache: pic.twitter.com/OvdfOSEFEv
– Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) November 10, 2018
These moments can still be there in the SEC. People want to see this side of you.
Treat your new fan base like you’re in your twenties and meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time. You don’t have to wear a tuxedo or act like Eddie Haskell. But read the room. Don’t burp after dinner and avoid telling them “what you like about their daughter’s body”.
After all, it’s the SEC. This is the conference where a coach can win a national title and be dismissed 2 years later. Specifically, this is the school that just fired a coach for 2 years despite the fact that he went to bowl games and won the Egg Bowl in consecutive years. Public perception can change quickly.
Or, you know, when the whole country is in quarantine and has nothing to do but to look at social networks, maybe you are not sharing a joke on the ropes 3 months after accepting a job at south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Start using y’all
Because “all of you” is just a waste of time.
Don’t ask players the size of the rings
I remember asking Moorhead at SEC Media Days what he said sadly after arriving in Starkville. You know, when he got off the plane and told the MSU players to learn their ring sizes. A year later, he said he regretted it. Why? It lacked historical context. It didn’t take into account some basic information that MSU fans knew. That is to say, it is a program that has not won a division title since 1998.
Should you be talking about low expectations? No. The masses don’t want to hear, “I told the players to get new swimsuits because we’re going to a bowl game somewhere near a beach this year. But just remember that if you want to talk about expectations, do so with the understanding that MSU has 1 winning conference season in the 21st century.
These things can all be goals. Just talk about it the right way. If you want to go out and say, “I think K.J. Costello can lead the country,” that’s fine. You have already done it and you can do it again. Maybe avoid saying something like “I said to K.J. to get a place on his coat ready for his Heisman Trophy.” Again, Moorhead certainly made that mistake.
You don’t have to lose your confidence. You just need to express it in the right way. This is the SEC West, where you can play in a playoff elimination game as a top-4 in early November and get stuck on 8 wins at the end of the season (see: Auburn 2014 or essentially any which team Kevin Sumlin Texas A&M). This league tends to humiliate those who have publicly raised the bar to unprecedented levels for their respective programs.
And when you lose public favor, just tear up SEC officials
If there is one thing that everyone in the SEC can agree on (apart from “It just means more”), it is the SEC who officiates. It’s the default punching bag, and understandable. Want people to forget that your team awarded 28 unanswered points at home? Talk about how a certain blown call totally changed the dynamics of the game. Chances are you have a lot of choices.
Use a post-match press conference like “Ted Talk” on the severity of the targeting process. This does not avoid a question in the aforementioned manner to which I referred regarding the transformation of the tactile problems of Kylin Hill into “The Bay of Pigs”. SEC fans can get behind the official whistle-blowing anywhere, anytime.
Better yet, you know what will really go far? Tweet to the @SECOfficiating account with a screenshot of a missed call. SEC fans eat this content like Waffle House after the game (that’s another thing you should be familiar with).
Will it hurt the bank account a bit? Sure. This league fine will be inevitable. But hey, you’re paid $ 5 million with this concert. It’s a small price to pay if it means doing something to gain public support to keep your job.
That’s what it’s about. Winning is the panacea of the SEC. It’s an intimidating climb, often uphill. But there is at least 1 thing you can do to make sure there is still a way to it.
Avoid walking on land mines.