200 Miles From the Citi

November 22, 2009 7:50 AM

SUNDAY PAPER (Year 1, Volume XIII)

Mangino.JPGIt doesn't pay to be a jerk.

That's what I think when I see these stories on Kansas coach Mark Mangino, accused of verbal abuse and inappropriate physical contact against players.

It's the same thing I thought when Bobby Knight was fired from Indiana.

It's the same thing I think when I hear about the Cleveland Browns and the way they feel about Eric Mangini's practices (and what the Jets said about him after he left).

I don't feel like that approach generates respect anymore - fear, yes, but respect, no.  That approach?  It's called being a bully.

We're in a different day and age right now than the times when a coach could get away with inappropriate behavior to get the best out of his players (which is still a far cry from physically abusing a player, especially at the college level).

There's an article in this week's TIME Magazine about over-parenting, and there is a connection between that, I think, and more of a sensitivity these days towards the type of behavior Mangino is accused of.

Instead of being broken down by personal attacks, I think players these days are more apt to respond to encouragement, again, especially at the college level.  At the risk of sounding like my mom (not because she's wrong, just because it's probably not very macho), you catch more flies with honey instead of vinegar.

On a radio show in Kansas City this week, Mangino said,

"We are sending kids out into the world prepared," Mangino told the radio station. "But I can't do the work of some parents, what they should have done before [the players] got to me. Some of these guys are bitter, they are bitter and [the allegations] are about that.

"There are some things that happen for 18 years of their lives that I can't change in four years of college. Can't do it. Can't change their behaviors, can't change their attitudes."

Sure, some of the kids need an attitude change, especially the football players who feel the need to fight with the basketball players at his university.

But maybe they're adopting what they interpret as a macho attitude modeled by their coach....that of a bully.

*On the opposite end of the coaching spectrum...I'm sure you're dying to know how I feel about Rex Ryan crying during Monday's team meeting, following the Jets' loss to Jacksonville.  I love it.  I love seeing that the coach cares more than I do.  Too often I feel like I'm bothered more by a loss than the team (see: New York Mets).

*Is it just me, or does it seem that the Major League Baseball post-season awards are getting less and less significant - more this year than any before?  I feel like the awards have gotten less and less notice over the years, but this year seems like a total afterthought.  Here it is almost Thanksgiving, and MVPs haven't been named yet (unless they were and I totally missed it - which I wouldn't be shocked to find out).  I just don't care at this point, and I'm a big baseball fan.  I know the idea was to draw more attention to the sport in the off-season, but it seems to be having the opposite effect - no one is caring.  Maybe that was a contributing factor in Bud Selig's decision to get rid of some post-season off-days.

*I don't envy the Jets today, playing the Patriots coming off a loss in a game they should have won (quite different from the Week 2 matchup, where the Patriots were coming off a win in a game they should have lost).  I still wouldn't be shocked if the Jets won, but I'm going to say Patriots 31, Jets 23, mostly to keep myself from believing that the Jets can make a playoff run if they win (and get to within a game of the Pats).

*Terrible clock management by LSU Saturday evening in their loss to Mississippi.  That is something that absolutely drives me nuts - 11 players on the field, 50 more on the sideline, a dozen coaches, and no one can figure out what to do?  What a waste of an incredible series of events to end the game (onside kick recovery, 4th and 26 conversion...)  That was always Herman Edwards' problem with the Jets...I feel like it's something that should never happen at the higher levels of the game.

*Where's the outrage over Mike Holmgren telling a Seattle radio station he'd be interested in the Browns coaching job?  Is this much different than what got Gary Carter supposedly blacklisted from Major League Baseball managerial positions for 'campaigning' for Willie Randolph's job?  Seems to me they're not much different...instead of going public with his interest in another man's job, though, Carter kept it private.

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