The truth is still the truth, but if it is served up too raw, it has a way of upsetting delicate sensibilities and ultimately backfiring on the truthsayer.

That’s what happened this week to Allen Pinkett, the former Notre Dame star running back from the 1980s and now longtime analyst on the Fighting Irish radio broadcasts.  Pinkett has been suspended from his radio job because he uttered an unacceptable truth about the kind of players Notre Dame needs to have on the team in order to return the school to its former football glory.

Allen Pinkett

“I’ve always felt like, to have a successful team, you have to have a few bad citizens on the team.

“That’s how Ohio State used to win all the time. They would have two or three guys that were criminals and that just adds to the chemistry of the team.  I think Notre Dame is growing because maybe they have some guys that are doing something worthy of a suspension which creates edge on the football team.

“You can’t have a football team full of choir boys. You get your butt kicked if you’ve got a team full of choir boys so you’ve got to have a little bit of edge. But the coach has to be the dictator and the ultimate ruler. Here’s my opinion: You don’t hand out suspensions unless you know you’ve got somebody behind that guy that can make plays.”

Those were the most inflammatory of the remarks Pinkett made in response to questions about the team during a radio interview he did Wednesday on a Chicago radio station.  Pickett was addressing Notre Dame’s readiness in light of the recent suspensions of four Fighting Irish players for violating team rules.

The IMG Notre Dame Radio Network says that Pinkett has been pulled from this weekend’s upcoming Notre Dame-Navy game which will be played in Dublin, Ireland.   A spokesman for the network said the game didn’t need the added distraction that Pickett might bring because of the comments.

IMG added though that no decision has been made regarding Pinkett’s long term future as a commentator on the radio network after Saturday’s game.

Pinkett’s comments set off a firestorm of negative reaction, from former Notre Dame players as well as others around the country, who believe what he said was unacceptable and irresponsible and don’t befit a school with Notre Dame’s rich football tradition.  It also sends the wrong message about the kind of citizenship Notre Dame expects from its student/athletes.

I do understand what I think Pinkett tried but failed to successfully convey.  But Pinkett’s words standing alone are hard to clean up or justify, which is why Pinkett issued an apology.

“In reviewing my remarks from a radio interview Wednesday, it’s clear that I chose my words poorly and that an apology is in order for these inappropriate comments.  My words do not reflect the strong pride and passion I have for the Notre Dame football program.

“I am deeply sorry and did not intend to take away the focus from the upcoming season opener. I especially would like to offer my sincere apology to the current members of Notre Dame’s football team, including Coach Kelly, the entire Notre Dame community, the IMG College Audio Network and the Ohio State football program. As a proud Notre Dame graduate, I wish nothing but the best for our football team and the University.

“I understand that there may be consequences to my actions and accept whatever discipline is imposed.”

Yes, Allen Pinkett is ironically paying the price for saying out loud what many frustrated Irish supporters have been thinking for years – that Notre Dame can’t beat the tops teams anymore because it has a team full of nice guys.

And as we all know, these days, nice guys may not finish last, but they rarely finish first.

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  1. pctv says:

    He said what everybody knows!!

  2. […] Allen Pinkett’s Unacceptable Truth About Notre Dame Football […]