Mike Leach: Bruce Feldman Was Kidnapped by ESPN
Former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach joined the Tony Bruno Show on FOX Sports Radio Tuesday to talk about his new book, Swing Your Sword. Excerpts from the book already showed us what a farce his firing was. We learned Leach was fired because Texas Tech wanted him out so they didn’t have to pay him a bonus. We also learned that Craig James and ESPN teamed up with Texas Tech in a smear campaign.
ESPN didn’t like the negative attention they received from the book, so they reacted by suspending Bruce Feldman (one of their reporters), who wrote the book. ESPN says they asked him to take a few days off while they decided his fate, so the “suspension” talk is a matter of semantics.
During his appearance on the show, Leach addressed the treatment of Feldman and described ESPN’s actions as “kidnapping.”
“Every step of the way he had permission from ESPN to write it,” Leach said of Feldman. “He has written permission. The chapters they’re sensitive about are all in the words of the perpetrators, so that’s what makes it powerful. Evidently ESPN didn’t like the way it came out — they’re not comfortable with the facts — so [Bruce] did what any journalist would do he wrote the facts down in the appendix of the book.
“ESPN claims they didn’t suspend him. We’re just arguing definitions there. Bruce virtually disappeared, hasn’t written anything, didn’t go to SEC media day. They don’t like the word ‘suspended’ [they] tell you he was never suspended. Perhaps they like the word ‘kidnapped’ better.”
“Clearly they’re not trying to let him see the light of the day and it’s because they’re not comfortable with their own actions. It’s a little bit like in Unforgiven when Clint Eastwood says ‘What scares a man is what he knows about himself.'”
Later in the interview Bruno asked if Leach felt he’d been blackballed in the coaching profession. Leach felt that was somewhat the case.
“I think [the Texas Tech firing has] had a chilling effect,” Leach mused. “Craig James and ESPN working together with his public relations group, and the chancellor who was bitter about the contract negotiations, all worked together to smear me to perpetuate their agenda. Since when does the chancellor of a university work with a P.R. firm that was hired by a disgruntled father because he’s dissatisfied by his son’s playing time?”
“I think it’s necessary for me to do what I can to defend myself to set the record straight. … The material is such that there’s none of this ‘well there’s two sides of the story.’ No no, this is the side of the story because it’s in their words where they specifically outlined their actions with their internal memos and their sworn testimony.”
You can listen to audio of Leach’s appearance on the show below.
Mike Leach with Tony Bruno Part 1
Mike Leach with Tony Bruno Part 2