TCU Daily Skiff Wednesday, April 14, 2004
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Barnett fails to teach morals, responsibility

COMMENTARY
Ashley Menzies

When parents send their children off to college to play sports, what are their expectations for the coach?

To guide their child through college. To watch over them. To help them. To be a second mother or father figure to them.

These are mere hopes and the actuality is that few coaches reach all those expectations.

But there is a certain amount of care a parent should expect from a coach toward their budding adult.

That is something suspended University of Colorado coach Gary Barnett doesn’t seem to understand.

Over the past few months, several Colorado football players have been accused them of rape. Three women have come forward so far, including former kicker Katie Hnida, who has since transferred to the University of New Mexico.

And what does coach Barnett do?

Shrugs it off and blames his players. He blamed his own players.

Yes, I know people are responsible for their own actions, and it is up to them to make the right decisions.

But come on Coach. Isn’t it you who should be helping the players make these decisions?

Isn’t it you who should planting it in these young men how to be respectable pieces in our society?

Isn’t it you that the athletes look at as a role model?

But no, coach. You turn your back your players. Not even picking up a little of the slack.

You say there are limits to tracking the activities of dozens of players.

“I have 48 I have held accountable over the last four years,” you say. “I can’t live their lives for them.”

Oh, I’m so sorry, coach, that you’ve had to keep players accountable. No one wants you to live the players lives. What people want you to do is point these players in the right direction making sure they have the skills to be good people.

Coach, there is a point where you say this is your team, and that you let these players down by not instructing them correctly on how to be adults.

You said there was no doubt in your mind that the misbehavior that occurred at those recruiting parties was based on poor decisions and influence of alcohol.

Yes, it is your players’ responsibility not to get drunk at these parties. Yes, it is your players’ responsibility not to sexually assault those women.

But coach, someone knew about these recruiting parties. And someone should have put their foot down about those issues. But instead, that someone turned their back.

Do I have to say who that someone is? Or have is it pretty obvious?

Yes, it’s you coach Barnett.

You all but said “oh well” to your players, coach.

It sounds to me as if you just gave up on these players by saying that you’re pretty much tired of being accountable for these athletes. Regardless of how you intended on your words being interpreted, that is how they came across.

Colorado did the right thing by suspending you. But I think they also need to take a look at how much you really care, too.

Assistant Sports Editor John Ashley Menzies is a senior news-editorial major from Aledo.

 
 
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