I hope no one here is surprised that Karl Dorrell has offically decided to play the race card before leaving UCLA. And, no, the reporters and columnists are not playing the race card for him. They are doing it because, to me, it is pretty apparent that they are being goaded to do it by Dorrell himself.
Is this the first time we have seen the hint of the race card from Dorrell? No.
Race card was evidently in play when Dorrell was hired in Westwood. Once again let's got back to Jason Whitlock's seminal article on the hiring of Dorrell (emphasis mine throughout):
According to the L.A. Daily News, "Dorrell is viewed as young, handsome, fit, energetic, bright and, of course, African-American."
Take out the adjective "fit" and it sounds like I could've been UCLA's new coach. I don't think Larry Coker, Frank Beamer or Ralph Friedgen were ever young and handsome or, of course, African-American.
But the L.A. Daily News quoted a source close to the search as saying, "In today's day and age, having an African-American football coach represent your university has the potential to pay incredible dividends for the university. It's a whole brand new ballgame now."
Michigan State is still waiting to collect on those incredible dividends. What, is Trent Lott proposing legislation for kickbacks to universities with young, handsome, fit, energetic, bright and, of course, African-American head football coaches?
And the L.A. Daily News story wrapped up with this valuable bit of insight: "According to a source close to the search, Dorrell, dressed in a stylish dark suit and white shirt, had an extremely impressive interview" with UCLA's chancellor.
Why not just go out and hire Denzel? He did a great job in "Remember the Titans."
I hope Dorrell can coach football. Because I'm not confident the people he'll be working for know a damn thing about football. They won't be any help. Greg Robinson should've never been a candidate. Mike Riley, the other finalist, shouldn't have been a candidate either. He's never won anywhere and, obviously, judging by the jobs he's turned down, doesn't want the responsibility of being a head coach.
The Bruins return a great deal of talent and are expected to contend for the Pac 10 title next season. I pray Dorrell didn't just step into some ... stuff. Because if he's not ready, if he's unsuccessful at UCLA, black assistant coaches will be hearing his name, not Willingham's, every time a high-profile job becomes available.
Oh, and following his hiring, Dorrell continued to hint or subtly play the race card issue a few more times before this weekend to make excuses for his below average performance as the UCLA head coach. Remember this comment to TSN's Matt Hayes leading up to 2005-06 season:
"If they could've hanged me," Dorrell says, "they would've."
This was just about as predictable as the performance of a Dorrell "coached" football team that underachives every season. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, Dorrell's actions will end up hurting the cause of African American coaches in college football than helping. And in the process, Karl Dorrell has done something that was unthinkable even days ago: he has shown himself to be an individual that is more shameless and selfish than Steve Lavin.