Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rivalry Gone Too Far

It's all in fun until someone gets sued.

Missouri State and Drury have a traditionally strong swimming rivalry between them in Springfield, MO.  The thing that is great about it is that after all the trash talk and incidents, at the end of the day the kids are all still friends.  I am not going to say that there has never been bad blood between the coaches or the kids-- there is a great history there.  Drury's Brian Reynolds actually swam for Missouri State's Jack Steck back when Jack was leading the Panthers to some of their first national championships.  As a matter of fact, there was a twenty year gap where the two schools were not allowed to dual each other because the administration worried it would just be too much for Springfield to handle.  It was pretty heated between the two programs.

Still, after all of that, the two teams have been able to set it all aside and get together for some pretty intense match-ups that are great for all involved. And the best part is that when the meet is over, the swimmers from both teams get together and have a great time, just as they do throughout the year.  I can't say the same for some of the big sports rivalries like MU/KU or North Carolina/Duke, but fans of several rival teams have fun-spirited banter and that makes for great conversation between sports junkies.  Graduates from the two local colleges here among our teaching staff constantly rib each other about wearing the wrong colors.  That is a part of what makes sports worth following.

Sports rivalries are meant to be fun.  Not ugly.  Not bitter.  And they should definitely not require lawyers getting involved...  unless of course you are into football and you live in Oklahoma.  Then it gets ridiculous.

Oklahoma State Football Coach Mike Gundy is being sued because he fired a contractor from a $30,000 job simply for wearing an OU baseball shirt while on the job. 

For reals.  From USA Today:

According to the lawsuit, Gundy arrived at the house at 9:30 a.m. and spotted Loveland's shirt. "How dare you come into my house and offend my wife," Gundy allegedly said.

Gundy then allegedly used profanity as he told the contractor to get off his property. He called Loveland a "stupid idiot" for wearing the shirt on "OSU soil," and refused Loveland's apologies. The contractor offered to turn his shirt inside-out, but was refused, according to the lawsuit.

Besides just the absurdity of the whole situation, I have to ask some real questions:

How in the hell are they gonna find a jury in Oklahoma who isn't a fan of one team or the other?  And if they ain't a sports fan, aren't they gonna be biased against the sports coach?  If you are not a sports fan, this is an even more ridiculous situation!  This is going to be dismissed and it will be a real shame.  This coach should not be able to get away with treating anyone this way.  The sad part of it is that I can only imagine he is being hailed as a hero in Stillwater for his Cowboy loyalty.

This makes me want to laugh and throw up at the same time.  Relax, people.  Please just chill.



  1. Wasn't there a case of a sportswriter being fired in the last year or two because she asked a coach a question at a press conference while she was wearing a hat with the opposing team's logo, and he was very cold to her? Talk about taking things too seriously.

  2. At a USA Swimming age group meet, my 17 year old daughter got chewed out by the head coach for wearing her college water polo sweatshirt, yet he ALWAYS wore his alumni sweatshirt.

  3. NE LSC: BGSC vs. Everyone else, often find "gator hunters" on deck looking for all sorts of blood.

  4. Viking, I think in this case YOU need to chill. You must be one of those litigious types, that thinks that everyone needs to get sued for everything, ehh? Gundy has the right to fire a contractor for any reason he wants aside from those protected by the constitution, and last I checked, fans of Oklahoma are not a protected class. In fact, people are hired and not hired routinely based on which school they're a fan of (read: attended). People are also routinely fired for the way that they dress.

    Like you said, if this contractor is from Oklahoma, he knew whose house he was working on, and he wore the shirt on purpose. Thus, he paid the consequences for being a smart***.

  5. Really? Doesn't a contract work both ways? Isn't it legally binding? When you break contract and are taken to court over it you still have to defend your reasoning, whether you are the contractor or the one who hired him. What bothers me about it is that this contractor's family, and the families of his employees, were probably depending on that income.

    When I see a corporation announce that they fired hundreds of people I understand that times are tough and that those unfortunate things happen in a bad economy. When I see that hundreds of people were fired and their CEO makes millions and then got a pay raise and a bonus immediately after, it pisses me off. There have been studies that show an alarming percentage of CEO's are psychopaths. To me, harming others by firing them without reasonable cause is psychopathic behavior. Losing a job like that can shake up a family. Are you one of those people who is okay with that?

    Sports fans rib each other all the time. The local university football coach here jokes around with people in the shirts of his rival teams, and our entire community has a running joke about whether the "Lion or the Gorilla is the king of the jungle." That is a normal response. When an OSU alum sees someone with an OU shirt, the normal response is "at least a cowboy is a real mascot. What in the heck is a Sooner anyway?" I see that all the time.

    The way Gundy responded is not normal. In my opinion it is the behavior of a psychopath along the same lines of that CEO who has no problem patting himself on the back and going on vacation after firing hundreds of people. What if that contractor thought he was going to start a funny conversation by wearing that shirt like he probably has with many well-adjusted OSU fans and alum in the past? What if his son plays baseball at OU and he just has a bunch of work shirts that have OU emblems because they were free? What if he is just proud of his son who plays ball in college and thought it would be cool to talk to a coach about the fact that his son is a college athlete? What if he spilled coffee on his shirt on the way to work and bought a cheap shirt at wal-mart that morning?

    It doesn't really matter. Even if he was being a smart-ass, I am sure he was not expecting that kind of reaction.

  6. Like I said, he has to accept the consequences for what he knowingly did. If I steal a candybar from Walmart, expecting them not to persue it legally because it's only a misdemeanor, but they do it anyways, don't I have to accept that?

    The post you linked to gave no indication that there was any breach of contract here. Without seeing the contract, if there was one, it would be foolish of you to assume that the contract protected the man from being fired on whatever grounds Leech felt appropriate.

    You obviously have some sore feelings about some political issues or something, but the CEO issue is totally irrelevant. This is Gundy's money, not the money of some big corporation, and he shouldn't be guilted into spending it any way that he doesn't want to. That's entirely different than a CEO, who has some duty to all of the employees in the country. Gundy will now hire a different contractor, who's family is also probably going to be counting on the money.

    In a down economy, this contractor should have known that any job is precious and highly competitive, and he should have thought twice before doing anything to jeapordize his position in a highly-competitive field. Sure, Gundy was a dick about it. Doesn't mean he was outside of his rights, and it doesn't mean that the contractor doesn't deserve any fault. He knew exactly who he was working for, and chose the OU shirt anyways. Dumb, dumb, decision.

  7. I am sure there are many employees at OSU that he has worked for in the past who had no problem. Gundy was a jerk and in the least he is making his school look bad. And I doubt there would be a lawsuit if there was no contract.

  8. maybe Gundy should be fired for bringing negative press to the school. that is a hell of a lot more legitimate grounds.