From: Naithan Jones
Date: Nov 1, 2005 2:08 PM
Subject: Notre Dame and racism

Dear Mr. Whitlock, 
As a fellow Kansas Citian and a black Notre Dame fan, allow me to state my feelings

The Notre Dame vs. Washington was the worse weekend for me as a black man and an ND fan that I can remember. Being black has/had nothing to do with me being an ND fan until that weekend. Nothing. I'm just a person who happens to be black. I have views that are birthed from a mother that is half Irish and half Jamaican (what a mix) and those views are to work hard, earn what you get, don't accept handouts, treat others like you would treat yourself or your own family, and in all situations be slow to speak, humble and meek in your approach, and wise in your application of ideas and advices. I had no idea that I was being taught corner stone philosophies of what some people consider "conservative" and neither did she. I have taken to all of those principles and I did so at a young age. To be quite honest with you all it's the reason I was drawn to watching and rooting for ND at 10 years old, while watching them at 3AM via satellite as a boy living in Europe.

I have been saddened, disrupted, and boiled in many directions this weekend as I watched and listened to the senseless and irresponsible comments and antics from adults that look like me that should know better, Frankly I think a large portion of American blacks are just plain dumb when it comes to racial assessments and assignments, and I think their European counterparts are wholly smarter in their approach and understanding of it. They judge everything on a visceral level and come to the same conclusion on every matter that happens to involve a negative outcome for a fellow black person. I've lived all over the world and I can tell you this, there is no where on this planet where black people are treated better and given more opportunities than the United States. No where. Black people in this country have no clue how good they have it here, and perhaps that is part of the problem here. They have no perspective. Now let me say this, I'm not so naïve as to think racism isn't alive and well in this country, hell I've experienced it myself on occasion, but I also knew it when I saw it and it wasn't debatable. The funny thing about those situations though is that I felt uncompelled to report r talk to someone about it when it happened mainly because clams of racism are empty these days due to the very thing that Saunders and the liberal PC/black media are doing.

I have never been more ashamed of my (supposedly) educated voices of my community than now. We are at an all time low, with the antics of Jesse Jackson and Sharpton and their ilk, and now this. ND football used to be an escape from this stuff for me but alas now it has even tracked me down here. All I ask for as a black man is to be given the same opportunities that everyone else similarly credentialed would receive. That's all, no more and no less. Zook was not performing after three and he was canned, Cutcliffe was over performing historical standards for his institution, and was fired, both of them after three years. Why should I expect preferential treatment for Ty above those other coaches because he looks like me? That would be racist on my part wouldn't it? It would also signal that for me and people like me we will always be dependant on special treatment to be successful, which to me would signal more of a slap in the face than any racial slur. In it's essence that is the core of my beef with the welfare state under Carter and Reagan and Clinton. Welfare in essence was set up in my mind to the tune of share cropping, and dependence. I sometimes feel that the 70's/80's welfare mentality is what guides a lot of this knee jerk reactionary prose and rhetoric. The philosophy that we need someone to help our poor silly souls out, because we earned a pass due to oppression that took place 200 years ago. It disgusts me, and if anything it makes us look like wimpering fools that cry wolf every five minutes in order to generate fear and guilt that in turn will keep the milk tit flowing with milk. That topic is best breached another day though.

So to a point, since the firing of Ty was (supposedly) racist (according to Ty and Saunders et. Al.), doesn't that in essence make his hiring racist as well, if we follow logic through that would is the only plausible answer. It's as vapid as saying "Bush went to war for oil and Haliburton" or if you like "Kerry is commie". Senseless bumper sticker rhetoric that doesn't respect the issue fully or the persons the issues touch. At the end of the day we are all less respectful to the issue and each other because of it.

There are other African Americans who feel the way I do, but are too afraid to do so publicly because as we've seen with others like us they ostracized and marginalized in our community and are made to feel as outsiders with labels like "sell out" or "uncle Tom". That's sad, because for a group of people that wants change so bad they sure don't accept the other point of views that would accommodate such a thing.

I have a gut feeling and it isn't so good at this time. I feel that the trust between some alums and subs that happen to be of differing sides of the racial line in this debate about Notre Dames treatment of Ty will suffer. I think most of the African American subs and alums understand but I think its only human nature for the ones who got burnt (mainly te white alums) to feel shell shocked and harbor distrust. I don't think most will have this reaction but I think a few will and that in my estimation is the real sadness in this tragic episode.

I am upset, angry, sad, frustrated, furious, and full of grief. Most the emotions I have towards Ty Willingham (a man I expected better from) and you, Jason, are rangy. They go from disbelief all the way to rage. If any one thing is holding us back it's the slave mentality of persons like Ty and Saunders and dare I say a slight majority of Africa Americans that voice themselves this way. That's right I said it, it's slave thinking. It's slave mentality. These are men that wouldn't know anything about "the struggles" per se. Not that I would, but I'm a hell of a lot less wealthy than they are, and I feel I have a hell of a lot better perspective on this stuff than they do, and I also feel I understand what Dr. King wanted better than they do. Today, we have been reduced to using Dr. Kings legacy like a weapon instead of building upon it's great foundation. Even in the immense wealth that this country (with al of it's problems) has heaped upon these men and with all of the things that Dr. Kings legacy has afforded them they are still not grateful enough to not understand the virtues that I learned from that little Irish Jamaican woman from south London years ago.

I weep today for the state we are in.

Comparing Ty to Weis

Comparing Ty to Weis is not a conversation any Irish fan or sub alum should even dignify with an engaged response but since I'm here, I will this last time. For the twelve or so people in this world who are still under the spell of Ty's marketing strategy I will give you some clear common sense articles of common sense differentials. Ty was promoted from a position coach to a head coach. He never spent time as a coordinator so in turn he has never built a game plan, he has never had to game plan against any other coaches, and he has a limited X's and O's pedigree. This will of course obscure his vision on hiring those who do handle it because he doesn't have the wherewithal to know a good coordinator from a bad one. This is especially bad because due to his lacks as an X's O's coach his fate is tied exclusively to his coordinators.

The second problem with his political promotion in the coaching fraternity is respect. He hasn't cut his teeth as a coordinator with any other up and coming coordinators and that has limited his arsenal of respect and coaching connections. No coaches respect him as a professional because no one knows him as a coach. He has never made a name for himself in their circle. They don't respect him because they don't know him and they don't know him because he didn't earn respect by coming up like Pete Carroll, Bob Stoops, Tedford, Jim Tressell, and just abut any other coach worth their salt came up. Coaching is a tight knit fraternity and one bonded by working with guys up through the ranks. When major jobs are given to position coaches because of their color it is noted by those coordinators that are worth their salt and aren't getting jobs. This is why Ty can't get an OC. Why should they slave for a guy and make a guy successful that no one respects and that will ultimately get the credit for your success when quite frankly he doesn't even understand your schemes.

With Ty, Stanford did what Stanford does. They experimented with political correctness, but this time on their football program. They hired a position coach. It has hurt Ty Willingham more than it has helped him.

I am black myself, but being black doesn't divorce me of common sense. The media is crying about the plight of black coaches but quite frankly I don't see it. There just aren't any black coordinators to choose from. I can see clearly why this is happening.

Having played college football I have several friends that I am still in contact with that obviously played as well. To a T I have only ever seen one black player have a motivation to be a grad assistant coach. Why? They love the game and all, but the pay isn't there. Also to a T, I have seen several of my former white player friends come back as grad assistants. Why? They say it's because they love the game more than money. Am I saying that this is always the way it is? No, but it certainly seems to have been an analogue in my experiences. No coordinators, no head coaches. The cultural aspect of coaching cannot be ignored. Many young black grads just aren't interested in coaching. They just aren't. Many aspire to play for various pro and semi pro football teams and the others want to go to grad school or join the working world. Many of the white players want to do the same, but I also see many of them that want to coach. Bad enough that they will tough it out financially for a few seasons and work hard.

Enough with that rant. Ty wasn't getting it. He was ill prepared for the stage that the ND job is. He made poor hiring choices. He was loyal to the wrong entities. he was arrogant to a fault. He was arrogant without reason. He was poorly organized. He lacked the talent to recruit and so did his staff of stiffs. He managed ND like a position coach turned head coach would. He allowed ND to be skewered in the media after firing him, an outcome that he himself engineered with false loyalty. He did that for a buyout. He not once in the three days there after spoke to the media and told them to call off the dogs. He very cryptically praised ND only when pushed in his first interview after the firing which was after five days of media damage. Damage was already done. His father figure act was just that, an act. It was a cover for his deficiencies as a professional. He was let go. Good riddance

With Weis you have a guy that is universally respected in the coaching world. A guy that has cut his teeth as a coordinator with the best and against the best. You have an ND grad that witnessed first hand how a great ND team is supposed to look, feel, act, and play. He brings in a staff that is universally heralded as a top staff. His D-Back coach could be a defensive coordinator himself and three of his assistants could be head coaches today. Weis has coached five positions as a position coach and produced Pro-Bowlers each time. He has coordinated four Super Bowl featured offenses. Two of them winning Super Bowl offenses. He has done that with no first round TALENT. Weis won the state championship in his first and only year as a high school head coach. Weis has taken a group of players that you media types up there in your ivory tower of sports talk said would go 1-5 to open, and has them eight points from being undefeated (including a nail biter to USC). Anyone that saw Willinghams 8-0 start and compares it Weis start hasn't watched much Notre Dame football or the have an agenda to further. I'll assume you're a smart man Jason, but upon doing so I'll have to admit my repulse at your antic.
I'm sorry that you feel the need to paint a whole group of people as racists because of the color of those involved, and it saddens me that we have cheapened the word so much so that it has become a career furthering cliche' buzz words for the like politicians, sports editorialists, entertainers, and other public figures. Sadly, it has no more function, potency, or use due to the misuse that it has incurred at the hands of your ilk.
Nate Jones