Mike Leach admits that he “didn’t select a very good video” when he tweeted a doctored video of a speech by former President Barack Obama. But it doesn’t seem like he has too many regrets about choosing to post it in the first place.
The Washington State coach spoke at length with the Seattle Times about the offseason controversy that he sparked and poured gasoline on when first posting the video Sunday night. It contains two separate portions of a 2014 Obama speech spliced together to make it look like one continuous thought.
Leach was called out by many Twitter users about the video’s lack of authenticity and tried to claim he was just trying to start a discussion. He had nine — nine! — replies to Twitter users with versions of “prove it” and even asked another Twitter user at one point what a fact was.
While Washington State issued a statement Monday saying Leach didn’t speak for the university as a whole, the coach hasn’t apologized for posting the video and doesn’t seem like he’s going to anytime soon. He told the Times he’s “not particularly sorry” for tweeting the video when the topic of apologizing came up.
Well, for one, I’m not particularly sorry. I thought (the video selection) was poor from the standpoint that … and anytime you quote a guy it’s difficult because there’s always a broader context to any conversation. I didn’t think the context to that was as precise as I wanted it to be, so from that standpoint I thought it was sloppy.
I’m not particularly sorry about it, because it was in his speech and he did say it. I just think it was plugged together in a bad way by whoever made the video.
You get passed things all the time. It’s not like I researched or looked it up. I just listened to what was sent and was like, “Oh yeah, this might work.” But that doesn’t change the fact that people should be able express their thoughts.
I just don’t understand all this name-calling. I never took a position on any of it. You look at anyone of them, I didn’t take a position at any point.
The “I didn’t take a position at any point” argument is a weak one. Leach could have easily said “I didn’t realize this video was doctored and it didn’t prove my point, I’m sorry for posting it” or something along those lines. Instead, we’re at this weird point where it’s been an entire workweek and Leach is still talking about his Sunday night tweetstorm and either refusing to admit he has a large responsibility to be publicly pragmatic as a highly-paid Washington state employee or just doesn’t care.
Leach’s defense in the interview with the Times is about as incomprehensible as this whole thing has been. A thing that’s also included Leach publicly going after a USA Today columnist who wrote how Leach’s decision to tweet the video Sunday night was an example of why some Power Five schools don’t see him as a viable coaching candidate for their programs.
Leach challenged Dan Wolken, the author of that column, to a debate earlier in the week. In the Times interview, he said Wolken would be selling Big Gulps soon, claimed to forget his first name and then a few questions later said “Dan Wolken” without being reminded what Wolken’s first name is.
Calkins: I guess what I’m saying is that people are going to say is “Mike Leach doubled down. He didn’t apologize. He’s saying this journalist is going to be selling Big Gulps.” They’re going to say you’re not contrite about anything and are this total wild card. What would your response to that be?
Leach: I didn’t double down on anything. First of all, I never took a position on what that video said. I never took a position on what that video said when I thought it was an imprecise summation of Obama’s political philosophy. I took it down.
With that said, rather than name-calling, I’d rather see thoughts and discussion.
What do you see the problem as? How do you solve it? And what’s your opinion on how to do it? That’s what a good response is. All this business of all the little categories people call themselves on both the right and the left, it doesn’t really solve much.
If this gives you a headache, don’t feel bad. We have one too. Bring on actual football games.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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