Bruin Blue writes another epic post for BN. GO BRUINS. -N
None of us knows all the facts about the Eric Scott matter, and we may never learn them all. But it doesn't take all the facts for any reasonably intelligent person to reach the conclusion that even at this stage, the story is a very embarrassing one for Scott, Karl Dorrell, and UCLA. This is even if the charges are dismissed within the next few days. At the very, very least, Scott was guilty of incredibly poor judgment in hanging out with these two guys who apparently broke into a house and removed items from it, including a handgun. And it is hard to believe that Scott had absolutely no idea of what his two buddies were doing. Now it is certainly possible that the house belonged to a "friend," that they expected him to be at home, and when he wasn't, they just let themselves in, one way or another; that the "friend" wouldn't have cared that the items were taken. It's possible. It's also very possible that this was a burglary of sorts, but that Scott was completely unaware of it and had nothing to do with it. So although I hardly pretend to be Philip Marlowe or Lew Archer, I think it is very possible, maybe even likely, that Scott's charges will be dismissed.
Now, if the charges are not dismissed, then we have a really bad situation. But even assuming the best case scenario for UCLA, we still have a major embarrassment at hand. A former player, who has never coached in college before, is given his first opportunity by UCLA and Karl Dorrell, despite the fact that he has a criminal history of four arrests and two convictions. Dorrell says that he knew about at least some of the past history; but the UCLA administration, according to reliable sources, claims that it had no knowledge of it whatsoever. That would mean that neither Scott nor Dorrell informed the administration of these facts. The employment application for this job clearly asks the question about past criminal history, as a state institution is allowed to do. So if the administration says that they did not know these facts, it either means that 1) Scott lied, either explicitly or by omission on his application; 2) Dorrell deliberately did not inform his bosses of Scott's history, because he didn't think it was necessary or important, or because he thought it would jeopardize Scott's chances of being hired and thus keep Dorrell from being able to take advantage of Scott's recruiting contacts; 3) Scott did not hide the information but no one in the administration had the capacity or intelligence to actually read the application; 4) The administration is lying. Or any combination of these four. My bet would be on both 1) and 2), which makes Scott guilty of falsifying an application for employment, and Dorrell guilty of being at least a moral accessory to this act, by not informing his superiors.
We all know how public relations-conscious UCLA is. In fact many of us think that their history of hiring and keeping coaches has had too much to do with public relations and too little to do with actually trying to be a topflight program. We can bet that UCLA is and will be doing everything they can to put the best face possible on this story. And thus I am fascinated by the fact that the respected columnist and blogger Brian Dohn states unequivocally that the UCLA administration says they were unaware of Scott's past history. Because for public relations' sake, the administration could have said that, yes, they knew about it, but decided to give him another chance, because he had paid his penalty to society, etc, etc. That would at least get Scott and Dorrell off the hook, even though it might make the administration look bad for being so willing to hire someone with a criminal past. But it appears that the administration either simply wanted to be honest, and/or was not going to risk making itself look bad by saying that they knew about Scott's past but hired him anyway. It might well be that some other past applicants for UCLA teaching positions were denied hire because of some criminal history, and UCLA fears a lawsuit if it says that they were willing to ignore Scott's. Whatever the case, the statements of the UCLA administration clearly implicate both Scott, and to a lesser but still significant extent, Dorrell, in this matter.
Thus even if Scott is now guilty only of hanging out with very questionable characters, this event, superimposed on the past history and the apparent falsfication of the employment application, would certainly seem to make him completely unqualified to be hired as an assistant football coach, a supposed teacher of young men, at UCLA. And thus the person who hired him looks very bad himself, even if he can say all sorts of things about wanting to give second chances. And we all know how 90% of Dorrell's resume so far has been based on this idea that he has "cleaned up the program," so what are we left with now?
Well, we are left with an almost incomprehensible counterattack from Dorrell's army of supporters, saying things I can scarcely believe had I not read them with my own eyes. These are reminiscent of the way that Steve Lavin's apologists would viciously attack those who dared to point out the truth about his program--except that what I am seeing now is actually worse. I am reading that the Los Angeles police force is guilty of a "witch hunt," or racism, in their arrests of the three individuals involved. Incendiary things are being said which are the last thing we would want or need, yet are apparently glibly uttered because the beloved Dorrell is under fire. I am far from a knee-jerk supporter of the police in general, but I do believe that most of the Los Angeles force under the highly respected Bratton are very conscientious, and do not go around arresting Black people, or those of any race, just for a lark, or on non-existent evidence. And saying just that, implying that this is the normal modus operandi around this city, is disgraceful. Then we are treated to theories about USC somehow being behind this; after all, it is stated, they control the police force, the media, the courts and judges. This sort of paranoia would be laughable, if I did not see poster after poster on other UCLA forums apparently subscribe to it. Yes, USC was so frightened of Scott's recruiting ability that it sought, or at least took the first available opportunity to set him up, to smear him, so that he wouldn't be able to coach in Westwood. Such ludicrous ideas, expounded without a touch of irony, make the Bruin family look like a bunch of cultists, who are willing to imagine anything as long as it does not reflect negatively on Karl Dorrell's program.
So in my view, much of the damage has already been done. I always knew that the Dorrell support group was pollyannnish and wishful-bordering-on-delusional, but these reactions (and they're not coming from just one or two people, but many) have taken this see-no-evil, Dorrell forever, attitude to an almost frightening level. Frankly, I don't know if I even want to be associated as an alumnus and fan with such people. I still well remember the desperate vehemence of the Lavin bloc which went on for years, threatening to sue people who wrote well-documented facts about Lavin and his tenure, calling his critics all sorts of names. Now these same people, or another incarnation of them, are all gratified about Howland. and attribute their Lavin-worship to simply an error in judgment, or call it water under the bridge. Well, anyone can make a mistake; and it's just sports after all. But it's one thing to be wrong, and another to defend a ridiculous position with almost fascistic fervor. And should Dorrell end up having to leave for one reason or another (my honest belief is that he is a very lucky person who saved his job at least once and will save it again with the "perfect storm" year, to be followed by five or ten more of mediocrity), I'm sure that these people will happily enjoy the era of a new and better coach with no compunction whatsoever. And they really don't deserve to, even though we do.
- Bruin Blue