Notre Dame radio analyst Allen Pinkett says you can tell the Irish are on the right track because their players are getting in trouble.
According to ESPN, Pinkett, a former all-American running back at Notre Dame, told WSCR-AM:
“I’ve always felt like to have a successful team you’ve got 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.”
Notre Dame has four players serving out suspensions for the opening game against Navy in Dublin, Ireland: starting running back Cierre Wood, backup defensive Justin Utupo, quarterback Tommy Rees and linebacker Carlo Calabrese. Wood and Utupo, who will also sit out the second game, were disciplined for a violation of team rules. Rees and Calabrese were benched for their role in a confrontation with police after a party.
Later in the interview, Pinkett insisted he was serious.
“I absolutely meant that. The chemistry is so important on a football team. You have to have a couple of bad guys that sort of teeter on that edge to add to the flavor of the guys that are going to always do right because that just adds to the chemistry of the football team. You have to have … you look at the teams that have won in the past, they have always had a couple of criminals.”
Later Wednesday night, Pinkett released an apology, ESPN said.
“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 understand that there may be consequences to my actions and accept whatever discipline is imposed.”
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick derided Pinkett’s comments.
“Allen Pinkett’s suggestion that Notre Dame needs more ‘bad guys’ on its football team is nonsense,” he said. “Of course, Allen does not speak for the University, but we could not disagree more with this observation.”
Anybody think Pinkett’s got a point? There have been some very good teams with some bad guys — the Miami Hurricanes and Oakland Raiders among them. Or is Pinkett the real bad guy here?