Letter to Kurt Streeter

Mr. Streeter,

First off, let me acknowledge the difficult position in which you now find yourself.  Your colleagues around the country have roundly criticized your previous column about former UCLA coach Karl Dorrell, and you were openly lambasted by the ABC announcing crew several weeks ago.  I'm sure the response to your column has been quite a shock to you, and I doubt you could have anticipated the negative reaction your column has elicited.

Many UCLA graduates, myself and my parents included, applauded the hiring of Karl Dorrell five years ago.  Coach Dorrell was a young, handsome, impressive candidate, a UCLA man with a fantastic playing career, and a quality NFL pedigree.  In addition, he is emblematic of UCLA's outstanding tradition of African-American student athletes, a legacy that includes Jackie Robinson, Rafer Johnson, Mike Warren, Lew Alcindor, and the beloved Arthur Ashe.

Karl Dorrell was a mediocre football coach.  His offense was uninspiring, his play-calling was conservative in the extreme, and even his most ardent supporters admit that he was not prepared for the job.  He "Needed to grow into the position" of head coach.  Such was the mantra of Terry Donahue, Bob Field, and others.  After half a decade, Karl Dorrell proved himself to be a good recruiter, outstanding representative of the university, and a horrid game day leader.  So it goes.

By now, I'm sure you're aware that your race-based screed did far more to doom Dorrell than save him.  Levying racial accusations against an SEC program would probably gain some traction...Levying the same charges against UCLA?  Not so much.  Perhaps you need a history lesson.  Perhaps you thought it was the only way to save Dorrell's job.  I don't presume to know.  But we can all agree, at this point, that the article in question will not make its way into your next portfolio.  When you interview for your next big gig, it will not be the article you tout.  No sweat.  Everybody makes mistakes.

Unfortunately, the only victim of your race-based article will be UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker.  Though his resume is impressive, and he may very well make a fine college coach, he will not be chosen to lead the Bruins over the next five years.  His lack of head coaching experience is obviously detrimental to his candidacy, but now another roadblock has been put up, needlessly, by you.

There is institutional racism throughout the college coaching landscape.  We all know that.  There are outstanding minority coordinators that deserve a chance to helm major college programs.  And your articles, despite their positive intentions, have done more to destroy opportunities for minority candidates than you will ever know.  Claiming Karl Dorrell's ouster has anything to do with race represents a fundamental misunderstanding of UCLA athletics, and your insistence that a .500 coach is the victim of bigotry marginalizes the real struggle that talented minority coaches face every day.  

Mr. Streeter, there are plenty of coaches that have been the victim of bigotry...Karl Dorrell is not one of them.

Sweetbreads Bailey,

Class of 2004

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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