At every bowl game, there are events for each team to attend. The committees that put on the bowls normally bend over backwards for the teams, to ensure they have a great bowl experience. The people responsible for the bowls work tremendously hard at planning executing such things. That's not always easy with more a couple hundred people traveling with the teams.
And, one of the few requirements of the teams is that they show up. USC apparently believes it is too good to follow this one requirement.
Last night, Duke Keith of the El Paso Times tweeted that USC was an hour late for the Sheriff's Posse Dinner, so Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson took his team and left. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the obvious, that the Yellow Jackets were apparently not pleased at the snub. The AJC and Los Angeles Daily News reported that the Trojans were actually 90 minutes late for the dinner.
No matter whether it was an hour or 90 minutes, let's all agree that either amount of time makes the Trojans football team look like classless jerks.
If you wish to believe this was one isolated incident, how about another story from what's turning out to be a marvelous bowl week for USC's reputation. ElPaso411.com captured a tweet from USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams saying, "Out here in El Paso. (S***ty) city but glad I can enjoy this moment wit the USC family." That tweet has been deleted from Williams' account, and on his timeline he admits he took it down with a long list of apologies.
Yes, when Williams called El Paso a (expletive) city, he really meant that he was so grateful to be in the Sun Bowl. Common mix-up.
Here's the thing - this isn't even the first time a USC player has had to backtrack after ripping El Paso leading up to the game. Earlier this month linebacker Tony Burnett had to apologize after disparaging Georgia Tech and the city of El Paso.
Congratulations, USC. You are coming off as the most unlikeable team in college football.
Back to last night's bowl dinner for a second. This is what the Los Angeles Times reported, explaining the absence.
A USC athletic department spokesman said the Trojans' tardiness was because of their late arrival at the airport, which pushed back the start of practice and their return to the team hotel before they departed for the dinner. The spokesman said USC apprised bowl officials of its delays.
(UPDATE: Here is the explanation from USCFootball.com on the dinner faux pas: The Trojans said they were only a half hour late, bowl officials knew the whole time, Georgia Tech actually left 75 minutes before it was supposed to, and therefore USC deserves no blame. "It wasn't a problem for anybody," USC Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone said Thursday to the site. "No one was upset.")
Sorry, doesn't matter. There are responsibilities beyond practicing that fade route for the 20th time. Many bowl officials went through a lot to put on that dinner. The city and community takes pride in putting on this bowl game. There was another team waiting for an hour or more that you completely disrespected by not showing up. Flat out, USC coach Lane Kiffin needs to get his team to that dinner on time. And have his players stop blasting the city. Apparently Kiffin doesn't get how poorly this all reflects on him.
If USC is so upset about the Sun Bowl, here's a couple possible solutions. How about winning more games? Had the Trojans not been the most underachieving team in college football this year, maybe they would have been in a bowl they thought wasn't beneath them - one they also probably would have disrespected anyway. Or here's another option: don't go. Turn down the invitation if it's that terrible of a destination for your unranked five-loss team. Let Louisiana Tech go to the game. They probably would have appreciated it and not left a trail of upset people in El Paso by acting like the most entitled 7-5 team in college football history.
So here's a gameplan for Kiffin and the Trojans the rest of the way: Show up on time to all the events that were put on for you. Don't disrespect the bowl officials. Stop disrespecting Georgia Tech, too. Quit acting like your team that was barely over .500 this season deserves to be in a better destination, because it doesn't. And, if you could, quit calling El Paso (expletive).
At very least, follow a general rule: quit embarrassing USC. It deserves better on and off the field from you.
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