Mike Leach starts Twitter beef with USA Today columnist over fake Barack Obama conspiracy video

Mike Leach is apparently doubling down on defending his tweeting of a fake Barack Obama conspiracy video on Tuesday, and challenged USA Today columnist to a “debate.” (Getty Images)
Mike Leach is apparently doubling down on defending his tweeting of a fake Barack Obama conspiracy video on Tuesday, and challenged USA Today columnist to a “debate.” (Getty Images)

Washington State coach Mike Leach has done some unusual things on Twitter lately, including tweeting out and then deleting a wild and clearly fake Barack Obama conspiracy theory video.

His behavior on social media didn’t change on Tuesday night.

Leach decided to challenge USA Today columnist Dan Wolken to a “debate” with a pair of tweets that sounded similar to the ones that Donald Trump sends out daily.

“So a guy, who no one knows, Wolken, has an ax to grind,” Leach tweeted. “I’m not sure who he is, but at the risk of building his career, I am willing to debate him, anytime and anywhere. He is pathetically biased, but I think that the message of free thought needs to get out.

“Wolken is clearly a brilliant man, because he can write an article, without any sources, only his brilliance. Amazing. In any case, I can’t wait for him to show me the light. He will set me straight and I can move forward.”

Wolken wrote a column about Leach and the Obama video on Monday headlined, “Mike Leach’s tweet of an anti-Obama hoax showed why many schools won’t hire him.”

Wolken makes a pretty good argument in his column — and as a USA Today columnist, he is perfectly entitled to do and to do so without sources.

Here’s an excerpt from his column:

Under the guise of “creating discussion,” the second-highest paid public employee in the state of Washington, who works for a university with 30,000 students, retweeted a doctored video of an old President Obama speech that helps spread a toxic conspiracy theory, argued with followers who pointed out the hoax and refused to back down after several hours.

When people ask why Washington State football coach Mike Leach hasn’t been hired by a big-time program despite his undeniable success at two schools where it’s difficult to win, well, here it is in plain sight.

Over many years of being quirky and accessible in a largely humorless profession, Leach has managed to develop a cult of personality that enjoys his random musings on dinosaurs and pirates. But within the college athletics industry, he is widely regarded as a ticking time bomb of embarrassment whose usefulness as a coach is largely outweighed by the risk that he will say or do something inflammatory and unnecessary with little regard for whose reputations he’s dragging down with him.

And now here we are.

What Leach wants to specifically debate with Wolken is kind of unclear outside of the broad context of the Obama video he tweeted.

As for his claims that he doesn’t know Wolken, well, Wolken shut those down.

“Mike Leach, who blocked me on Twitter after my column, and claims he doesn’t know who I am (gave me his cell number last year) now challenging me to a debate,” Wolken tweeted. “Very genuine, Mike.”

“I called out Leach for Tweeting a fake conspiracy theory video,” Wolken said in a follow-up tweet. “Leach, who hasn’t admitted he was wrong, blocked me. I wrote this shows why bigger programs are leery of him. He gets back on Twitter to challenge me (blocked) to a debate. Am I barking up the wrong tree?”

Instead of just moving on and doing whatever it is Leach does during the offseason, Leach kept his “feud” up, retweeting responses from other users.

While the video at the center of this is fake, Leach has still yet to admit that simple fact and is apparently doubling down on it.

Why? We’re not sure.

But, in a way, he’s only proving Wolken’s column right.

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