Mike Leach could have spent his Father’s Day doing so many fun things, like a family dinner or golfing (OK, probably not golfing). Heck, he probably could have just spent the day recruiting like Nick Saban probably did.
Instead, Leach honored the occasion by tweeting out a clearly fake video of Barack Obama and spending hours arguing about it with strangers on the internet.
The video itself is 19 seconds long and features Obama supposedly discussing an all-powerful sovereign controlling the lives of ordinary citizens. It is painfully, obviously fake. Leach decided to share the video with his 100,000 Twitter followers and ask them to text and tweet their thoughts. Leach got his wish.
Leach deleted the video sometime Monday, the day Washington State issued a statement about his posting of the video.
“As a private citizen, Mike Leach is entitled to his personal opinions,” the statement said. “Coach Leach’s political views do not necessarily reflect the views of Washington State University students, faculty and staff.”
Mike Leach’s fun day on Twitter
Leach’s tweet was swiftly inundated with replies from Twitter users pointing out the video was spliced from portions of a 2014 speech made by Obama to the European Union, not the conspiracy theory-laden Bilderberg Group as the video itself claims. As SB Nation breaks down, the video takes the segment of Obama discussing NATO’s international influence, then splices in the former president’s description of fascism. You can see the quotes from Obama bolded in the official transcript below.
Leaders and dignitaries of the European Union; representatives of our NATO Alliance; distinguished guests: We meet here at a moment of testing for Europe and the United States, and for the international order that we have worked for generations to build.
The second part of Leach’s video comes later in the speech.
But those ideals have also been tested — here in Europe and around the world. Those ideals have often been threatened by an older, more traditional view of power. This alternative vision argues that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign. Often, this alternative vision roots itself in the notion that by virtue of race or faith or ethnicity, some are inherently superior to others, and that individual identity must be defined by “us” versus “them,” or that national greatness must flow not by what a people stand for, but by what they are against.
In many ways, the history of Europe in the 20th century represented the ongoing clash of these two sets of ideas, both within nations and among nations.
Leach replied to one of the many accounts calling him out for sharing the fake video and asked for proof.
Once Leach was given proof that his video’s content was false, he decided to question the whole idea of something being “false” and invoked the name of President Donald Trump.
All told, Leach asked Twitter users to “prove it” nine different times (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) as he continued to march through the internet battlegrounds, conveniently missing the many people trying to provide him with proof the video he shared was fake.
At one point, Leach asked a Twitter user a point-blank question that essentially summed up the whole exercise: “What’s a fact?”
Mike Leach’s personality meets his politics
Leach has always enjoyed a reputation as one of the quirkiest minds in college football. That is buoyed by the success of his Air Raid offense in a sport that loves its odd-duck personalities, even if they have a skeleton or two in their closet.
However, that reputation takes a sinister turn with Leach tweeting out a video like this. This is not quirky. This is not provocative. We shouldn’t laugh at this like “The pirate is swinging his sword again!”
This is at best an extraordinarily misguided attempt from Leach to gauge the ideas of his followers and at worst an attempt to smear Obama by sharing a video designed to mislead. While tweeting from a position of power as the highest paid public employee in the state of Washington, Leach hides behind the shield of claiming to just want an “open discussion,” but starts it with a completely false premise. It’s a vastly disappointing decision from a 57-year-old man who should know better.
Maybe it’s time to log off, Mike.
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