Friday, October 29, 2010

The Tragedy of Declan Sullivan

The more I read and think about this, the more angry and outraged I become at Notre Dame's seemingly obvious negligence. I think about this less as a fan (or even as a knee-jerk Notre Dame hater) than as a parent.

Did you see Sullivan's tweets? When I first saw them yesterday, it was like a punch in the stomach. I got choked up. I got angry -- at Notre Dame, at Brian Kelly.

I know the Sullivans' son was fiercely loyal to the football program and to Notre Dame, but I hope the family sues Notre Dame and Brian Kelly for the amount of the school's NBC contract. I hope that the police investigate and ultimately charge the school and the coach for whatever crime is on the books that could qualify. ND's/Kelly's regrets don't feel like nearly enough.

I hesitate to try to deploy Sullivan and this tragedy as some kind of moralizing metaphor about the state of big-time college football. Let's think about this as a discrete decision by the coach and school, one of the worst -- and most negligent -- decisions in the history of college football.

Up until this week, I had actually been a fan of Brian Kelly's -- which was strange, because I am a tried-and-true Notre Dame hater. But now I can't think of Brian Kelly or the institution of Notre Dame without feeling bile build up in my throat. I'm not sure that will ever go away.

-- D.S.


Will Welborn said...

That is gut wrenching. I hate to throw all "big time" coaches into one bucket, but seems like a prime example of a coach who has no concern for things off the football field.

Practice continued for 25 minutes after the lift fell and the kid hit the street!!!

If Notre Dame had any guts, they would fire Brian Kelly today for cause.

panicstreak said...

I have a job I love very much. A JOB. I am not a Volunteer. I am paid to do it. If I had any reservations that going to that JOB that I love on a specific day might result in my death if I go, and my firing if I don't, I can tell you which side I would be on, and I have a family to feed.

Nobody to date (not one player, witness, student manager) has indicated that anyone forced or otherwise coerced Mr. Sullivan to either A) go up in the platform, or B) remain up there against his protests.

Does ND bear responsibility for saying, hey, today, no film. Yes. Does Kelly bear that responsibility? Partially. Does Sullivan bear some responsibility for his own safety. You bet.

Larry said...

Proof you CAN do gravitas, Dan.

Steve said...

This is a great read about this horrible situation, Dan...

Pen1 said...

I absolutely agree and have sent out Whitlock's column. I'm an ND parent. I have a 20 year old son there and believe me, they've heard from me. I am so angry. With high profile college football, it's not just a job, it's a cause - that's how many of the participants view it & I get that. Even if Declan wanted to go up (and FB and tweets indicate otherwise), one of the men on that field, including Kelly, should have stopped the filming. Tressel moved his inside under similar conditions. Brian Kelly is the head of the football program, he was running practice, he knew of the filming. This is all his and he should be fired.