Quite frankly, Larry Fedora made a fool of himself during his ACC Media Days press conference this afternoon. USA Today columnist Dan Wolken thinks the performance should cost Fedora his job.
Fedora, whose North Carolina Tar Heels went 3-9 last season, used his presser to go on a bizarre diatribe about the future of football. He linked changes in the game spurned by concerns about CTE to the U.S. military, and argued that if the game changes too much, it will have large negative impacts on the country as a whole.
He went on to deny the scientific link between football and CTE, which is pretty widely accepted at this point. Obviously there is research to be done, but everything points to the sport of football leading to serious risk of long-term brain injury.
Fedora was widely chided and mocked online for his strange rant. Wolken has taken it to the next level.
In a column filed shortly after the press conference, Dan Wolken said that Larry Fedora should be fired if he continues his CTE denialism.
From Wolken's pointed column:
North Carolina coach Larry Fedora suggested Wednesdaythat the game of football is “under attack” due to the focus on head trauma in recent years, claimed that “our country will go down too” if football is fundamentally changed and, in a coup de grace of stupidity, said repeatedly that he didn’t believe the links between CTE and football have been proven.
No need to dance around this. If Fedora actually believes what he said, he’s too dumb to coach college football and should be fired immediately.
It’s one thing to be a know-nothing rube with no sense of perspective or understanding of American history. It’s another to be a rube who is in charge of the well-being of 85 college students on scholarship and denies the mountain of science that has linked head trauma in football to significant health problems later in life.
It is a step farther than what we've seen from other writers in the wake of Fedora's comments. However, he's far from alone in being seriously critical.
News & Recordcolumnist Ed Hardin was also extremely critical of Fedora:
"He said most of all of our troops have grown up and played the game at some point in their life, and the lessons they learned from that game makes us who we are," Fedora said.
This is, of course, preposterous, but it does explain why so many football coaches equate football with war.
War is hell. Football is a game. And CTE, as a proven fact, is linked to repeated blows to the head.
Larry Fedora waded into an issue on which he should be an expert, but he proved yet again to be nothing more than a football coach.
UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said he was "surprised" by his coach's statements after the press conference. This definitely wasn't what he wanted, on a week that should be a PR lay-up for every ACC program.