Dec 8, 2009, 6:30 PM EDT
As the Fighting Irish search for a new head coach to fill Charlie Weis’ rather large Sansabelt slacks, three columnists at major newspapers seem convinced that Brian Kelly’s stance on politics and abortion are being weighed in the decision-making process. Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times, for instance, said that Kelly is “said to be pro-choice,” and that “could be a deal-breaker for many on the Catholic university’s campus.”
Is that true? Or more to the point; does it matter? Methinks a few columnists are creating a controversy where none exists. It’s one thing for Joe Messageboarder to nix Kelly for being pro-abortion (if he even is), but it’s quite another for anyone with decision-making clout to do so. Yet it seems to be important enough to be mentioned in a lot of places online today.
Hayes in the Sun Times on Saturday:
Notre Dame fans want the best coach possible, yet they keep scratching all the top candidates off their list. Mike Leach is a Mormon. Jim Harbaugh is divorced. Jon Gruden had a DUI. Randy Edsall hasn’t won enough, Pat Fitzgerald isn’t old enough and Skip Holtz doesn’t recruit well enough.
Then there’s the latest controversy that’s lighting up the message boards of what might be the most plugged-in fan base in the nation: Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly is said to be pro-choice.
From Tim Keown at ESPN:
And yet, over the past week, the parameters of the Notre Dame job went from strange to something directed by David Lynch. I have to be cautious about making too much of this since nobody in a position of power at Notre Dame has brought it up, but one of the hot topics on the Notre Dame message boards since the Cincinnati coach became the assumed front-runner is this: Should Kelly’s apparent pro-choice stance remove him from consideration?
David Haugh in today’s Chicago Tribune:
But consider that the Notre Dame administration might want Kelly to answer some tough questions during their scheduled interview Tuesday in New York. The toughest ones have nothing to do with his well-documented background working for Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart 25 years ago or Kelly’s alleged pro-choice beliefs.
Before Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick ever would get to the point in the discussion about Kelly’s stance on abortion — a ridiculous question no football coach should have to answer — duty requires he ask Kelly to explain the Central Michigan incident.
If it’s a ridiculous question, and there’s no proof that the university is thinking along those lines, then why even bring it up? Because of Notre Dame message board commenters?
It’s true that the Notre Dame faithful can get a little feisty when it comes to politics; just look at the Out of Bounds comments section a while back on my President Obama post. If people can claim that the Irish’s football woes can be attributed to Obama’s commencement speech, they can believe anything.
But to make the leap that the Notre Dame administration would be influenced by the commenter masses, well, that’s taking it a bit far. Anyway, NBCSports’ Inside the Irish blog reports that Notre Dame is closing in on hiring Kelly, so this should all go away soon.
Brian Kelly needs to answer some tough questions for Notre Dame [Chicago Tribune]
Irish stuck in hear and now [Chicago Sun Times]
Irish coach: The weirdest job in sports [ESPN]
Notre Dame fans have rational explanation for football failure: President Obama [Out of Bounds]
Search closes in on Kelly [Inside the Irish]
Main Media: How Do We Know Kelly’s Pro-Choice? [SportsbyBrooks]
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