I don’t care much for the Trojans.
My allegiance to Washington football makes it impossible for me to root for good things to happen in Southern California. Because of my passion, I have spent most of the last decade rooting against Pete Carroll.
Now that he is the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, I think I have developed a soft spot for him. As a homer, I think my biases have gotten the best of me.
If he weren’t the head coach of my favorite football team, I have to believe I’d describe him as a loser, a cheater, or worse. But because he is, I find myself inclined to give him a break. The University of Southern California obviously violated NCAA rules, but I think I’ve convinced myself Pete Carroll shouldn’t be blamed for it.
Pete Carroll should take responsibility for what happened at Southern California, but there is no evidence out there suggesting he was aware of the violations as they occurred.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, however, writes about Carroll with a harsher tone.
When the NCAA hammered Southern California with sanctions, Florio called for Carroll’s job:
"As to Carroll, he should lose his current job. Of course, he won’t; Seattle Seahawks president Tod Leiweke hired Carroll at a time when Leiweke knew or with the exercise of due diligence should have known that Carroll presided over a program poised to be slapped silly by the NCAA. And if the Seahawks had no qualms about it then, they should have none now."
Florio has also poked fun at Carroll’s new book, Win Forever, declining complimentary copies and referring to the title as Cheat Forever.
Now comes Florio’s latest criticism, which is probably slightly more justified. In an interview with 106.7 The Fan in Washington D.C. earlier this week, Pete Carroll talked about disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. From the interview, it seems obvious Carroll and the Seahawks considered Haynesworth in Seattle:
"I’m not gonna make a decision, declaration on something like that without knowing the player, hearing the situation, and gathering as much as you can. Because you don’t ever really know the whole story until you dig in… We were interested in the thought of him because he’s such a fantastic player, but if he wants to play the game. That’s what you have to figure out. Where’s the love of the game in all this? And where does this all fit in? Because if you’re getting a guy that’s, regardless of what you’re playing him at, if his heart isn’t in it 1000 percent, he wants to be great and part of a great team, then you need to get another guy. It just depends, and I would look deep into it and we started the process because we thought maybe they weren’t gonna be able to come to a deal and they were gonna make him available, but it didn’t work out that way."
That statement drew immediate criticism from Florio:
"In such situations, prudent NFL coaches say something like this: “Haynesworth is under contract with the Redskins. So, guys, I just can’t talk about him.”Prudent NFL coaches take that approach because the league’s Anti-Tampering Policy contains the following language: “Any public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’s player to that player’s agent or representative, or to a member of the news media, is a violation of this Anti-Tampering Policy. (Example of a prohibited comment: ‘He’s an excellent player, and we’d very much like to have him if he were available, but another club holds his rights.’)”… While Carroll most likely won’t get into any trouble over this, the fact that he’d even take the risk shows that either he doesn’t know the rules, or he doesn’t care.In other words, the guy who coached at USC, for better or worse, hasn’t really changed."
I’m curious what you think. Fair criticism, or unjust condemnation? Is Carroll really a cheater, and is history doomed to repeat itself in Seattle?
Either way, it is an interesting read into the Albert Haynesworth rumors.