This following was my lengthy comment in response to gbruin's excellent post "What Price To Win? Integrity, Hypocrisy, and The Gray Area" which raised the issue of the costs of CRN's decision to bar Josh Shirley, Paul Richardson and Shaquille Richardson from playing last year after they stole a coed's laptop. All three of the ex-Bruins are now impact players at their respective schools. Nestor suggested I Fanpost my views. They follow:
I have enormous respect for CRN.
And the biggest reason is he has clearly learned from his mistakes. He acted poorly at Colorado and UWub. Poorly. He was not "Slick Rick" nor "Tricky Rick." He was a cheat who spoke and acted out of both sides of his mouth. When DG hired him, my heart (True Blue in color) was troubled. I was hopeful he would win (he has not), but I feared a coach whose ethical guru seemed to be the likes of Bugsy Malone would only dishonor UCLA. I was clearly wrong on this latter count. He has in fact honored our school with his teaching and leadership. And a woman or man who learns from her or his mistakes, well, they are special folks in my book.
Three last points, the first for which I will receive unmitigated heat from some worshipers at this beloved site. The first final point, Dan Guerrero gets much of the credit for the ethical side of the CRN hiring decision. DG must accept responsibility for: bureaucrats who try to foist weak minded misleading press releases ala, the students preferred to sit in lousy seats rather than the best ones in the house, on some of the smartest fans on the face of the Earth; the loss of a top of the line women’s hoops coach to Baton Rouge, the ultimate backwoods vacation destination for swamp aficionados (Nikki, what were you thinking?); and hiring Karl Dorrell, who it turns out could not recruit at all. But one thing is clear—since the December 2002 hiring of Coach Dorrell by Dan Guerrero, unlike southern cal, Miami, Ohio State, Auburn, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Oregon, to name but a few, UCLA has run a by the book ethical football program and the athletic director must get some of the credit. (I am pleased to take the heat on this point. A kid down the street just got back from Afghanistan, and he is willing to let me wear his Kevlar, so fire away.)
Next final point. It takes a lot of Courage to admit you have behaved unethically. That’s right, Courage, with a capital C. CRN obviously possesses that kind of Courage; it has become part of his character. I admire him for many reasons and one of them is his willingness to address the fans after the games; even ones where we have performed poorly. It takes a lot of guts to stand up and speak your piece when you know you will be booed. CRN is willing to take the heat. The Courage to admit you are wrong and to change on one hand, and, on the other hand, to step up after that southern cal disaster last fall and admit failure involve different issues, character traits and fears, but they are related—they a born of Courage.
Last final point. The people who rag on CRN for what happened in what amounts to another life, well, they: are more morally flawed than most of us; lack the motivation to get the facts, that is learn the truth; or they are consumed by partisan fan driven myopia.
Rick, let’s fight the fight and win. Go Bruins!