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Nazi Talk Earns UT’s Dooley National Attention

Derek Dooley is pretty good behind a podium.  He has a career coaching record of 19-25, but behind a mic, he’s solid.  Probably because he grew up as a coach’s son and was trained as a lawyer.  Public speaking is one of his strong suits.

But during a presser on Monday, Dooley compared his inexperienced Tennessee football team to the Nazis at Normandy.  And now the scheisse is about to hit the lufter.

USA TodayESPNSports Illustrated.  Everyone has picked up on the story and the following line appears in the AP version:  “Dooley may not have intended to anger anyone, but comparisons drawn between sports and military battles or disasters usually offends someone.”

So the national press has picked up the story and run with it because it might offend someone.  And this is the state of our society.

Dooley’s meaning was pretty clear.  His team is young, inexperienced and often gets confused when faced with bigger, badder players doing exotic things against them. 

“Right now we’re like the Germans in World War II.  Here coms the boats, they’re coming.  You have the binoculars, and it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, the invasion is coming.’  That’s what they did, they were in the bunkers.  It’s coming, they call Rommel — they can’t find Rommel.  (Pretends to speak into a radio.) ‘What do we do?  I’m not doing anything until I get orders.’  (Pretends to look through binoculars.)  ‘Have you gotten Rommel yet?’”

That’s offensive?  Really? 

In 2007, Alabama’s Nick Saban got into hot water for saying that his team’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe might turn his program around… a la 9-11.  “Changes in history usually occur after some kind of catastrophic event.  It may be 9-11, which sort of changed the spirit of America relative to catastrophic events.  Pearl Harbor kind of got us ready for World War II, and that was a catastrophic event.”

Howls followed.  “He’s comparing a football game to 9-11!”  No, actually he was just making a point.  Awful events can unify people and change their mindset.  I got the point.  Many did not because they did not want to. 

Ironically, now his old aide, Dooley, is in tepid water for making a Nazi reference.  Nowhere did he say he’s pro-Nazi.  At no time did he compare a football game to D-Day.  And after looking at the video of the press conference, I can also confirm that he sported no Hitler-esque mustache.

If folks want to rip the Vols coach, they don’t have to spend their time talking Nazis.  They can instead ask why his thin, untalented team is still acting so confused in the face of battle — whoops — in the face of competition.  After playing Oregon, Florida, LSU and Georgia it’s a little surprising that his guys would still be starry-eyed when lining up against Alabama.  They may have been outgunned — whoops — out athlete-d, but should they still be confused in Game Seven?

As for the comparison to the Germans at Normandy, folks, I get what he was saying.  It’s pretty darn clear where he was going with that one.  It drew laughs from the media in attendance.  And if you were offended by his remarks, then you’re just looking to be offended.



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