Okay, maybe Leach has been rail-roaded

Sally Jenkins has a column in the Post arguing pretty persuasively that Mike Leach has been railroaded in his firing from Texas Tech.  If you are curious about the matter, just read it.  Also, I found this video about the "shed" and "electrical closet" the player was locked in made things look pretty bad for the player's side and pretty good for Leach.  

As for Leach, I also found this bit from Jenkins' column to be particularly interesting:

Actually, nothing in this case is simple. Leach is not some
head-banging throwback. He's idiosyncratic and incurably outspoken, but
nothing suggests he's a sadist or an idiot who would endanger a player.
In fact, he is one of the more well-read and thoughtful men in the
game, with a large curiosity and a law degree from Pepperdine. More
importantly, he's a serious, demanding educator whose team has a
graduation rate of 79 percent, eighth best in the country and first in
the Big 12 Conference. He trails only Notre Dame (94 percent), Stanford
(93), Boston College (92), Duke (92), Northwestern (92), Vanderbilt
(91) and Wake Forest (83) in turning out grads, while he also has made
nine bowl appearances in nine years.

Mike Leach really is a fascinating guy.  Great NYT magazine story on him 4 years ago.  

Concussions and Texas Tech Football

As Texas Tech is my 2nd favorite college football team (after Ohio State) I’ve been intrigued by the recent story that coach Mike Leach has been suspended after mistreating a player after receiving a “minor” concussion (all the news reports say “minor” but as far as the human brain is concerned, there’s nothing minor about a concussion).  Leach insists he didn’t do anything wrong, if the allegations are accurate, however, it speaks to the “suck-it-up” culture of football that quite often leads to permanent brain damage.  Malcolm Gladwell had a great article in the New Yorker a couple months ago about the long-term effects on the brain for so many pro football players.  It’s not a pretty picture.  (You really should read it—classic Gladwell, in this case how football players sacrifice their bodies and long-term health much like the dogs in dog fights).  

It’s good to see that Texas Tech is taking the issue of player concussions and their long-term health and safety quite seriously even if Mike Leach is not.  [Wow, just heard he got fired– perhaps a little too serious for the best coach TTU will ever have]

Paranoid parents and pictures of kids on-line

First off, let me just say that parents who are afraid to post pictures of their kids on-line need to get over themselves.  Seriously.  Your kids are surely at much greater risk from your own bathtub.  Might as well get rid of your indoor plumbing.  The N&O had an article today about this “controversial” topic and it classic facile journalistic style tried to take a look at “both sides” of the issue:

Parents are grappling with what is safe and what fears are irrational. As with most debates about child safety, the risks are not as severe as many imagine. But neither is posting photos online as safe as many assume.

Guess what– it is as safe as you assume.  Here’s the key:

"Research shows that there is virtually no risk of pedophiles coming to get kids because they found them online," said Stephen Balkam, chief executive of the Family Online Safety Institute. While the debate makes this crime seem common, he said, all the talk is really just "techno-panic."

Professor David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, says TV shows like the "Dateline NBC" program "To Catch a Predator" have falsely inflated the danger of the Internet.

So, what are those legitimate concerns?  Someone might find an on-line picture of your particularly cute kid and use it in an advertisement or something.  Oh, horror of horrors!  Or, in the really shocking development, Brazilian teenage girls might decide to photoshop your kid's face onto an adult body in some weird on-line game they play.  Somebody protect my children!!  Somehow, I think I’ll take the risks of this to share the photos of my beautiful boys.  They’re right here, by the way.

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