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Kiffin Does The Pahokee Pokey And All Is Well

Well, heck, it appears it’s going to be a Lane Kiffin morning here at MrSEC.  The new coach is all over the news today.

In addition to Twitter-gate and another blurb to come, the coach has finally cleared up the mess with Pahokee High School in Florida.

Apparently Kiffin’s latest apology — made via phone call — has been accepted by the town and the principal of the high school who barred a UT assistant on May 4th.

“Everything is a go,” Pahokee vice mayor Henry Crawford, Jr said.  “He apologized once again, and they are welcome any day, any time.”

“We got an apology.  That’s all we wanted.”

Well, no, apparently they wanted at least two apologies because the man did say that Kiffin “apologized once again.”

At any rate, running backs coach Eddie Gran was in Pahokee yesterday and set up the phone calls between Kiffin and the town leaders as well as the one between Kiffin and the school principal, Ariel Alejo… who isn’t speaking on the matter right now.

He then went to practice.

Just my take here, but I get the feeling the coach at the high school was fine with Tennessee’s coaches when they called him and apologized weeks ago.

Then the principal, who happens to be a Florida fan, found out that a UT assistant was on campus and had him booted.

By doing so, it made a pretty big media splash.  And all of Kiffin’s comments — which were pretty stupid in the first place — were posted in news stories across the country.

Do you think the town leaders liked hearing on ESPN that Pahokee residents can’t afford shirts and shoes?  True or not, I’m guessing that’s not something the Pahokee Chamber of Commerce tries to push.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if the town gently told the principal to shut the heck up, accept the apology and move on. 

Now, Crawford says that Alejo “had the best interests of the community at heart, his school and his football players. … I applaud him for taking steps to protect the school, our citizens and my community.”

Buy that if you want.  He might applaud the principal for “protecting” the community, but I guarantee you he didn’t like Pahokee’s name getting dragged through the mud.

Bottom line –

It was stupid for Kiffin to make such unnecessary comments about a community and school where he currently has five scholarship offers extended.  And for those who would say, “he was talking to boosters,” welcome to reality in 2009… with folks in the audience having internet access and cell phone cameras, NOTHING is off the record anymore.

It was also stupid for a high school to ban a coach and limit the opportunities of its players.  I’m sure the players and their families can figure out for themselves whether or not they want to play for Kiffin and Tennessee without their high school principal getting in the way.  (The same goes for Tucker High in Georgia who banned Steve Spurrier from their campus.)

And it’s stupid for Florida fans to call Tennessee fans shoeless and shirtless when it was Kiffin’s comment of the same nature that ticked off Florida folks in the first place.  Where’s the logic in that?  What is this the playground?

Time for everyone to move on.  At least until the next Kiffin bomb goes off.


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