University of Nebraska football head coach Bo Pelini is an emotional guy. Harnessing those emotions and using them to motivate his team throughout the season is a major factor in why he has found success at the highest level in college football. Coaches just don’t last five seasons in a ‘win now’ sport if they aren’t effective. That being said, Pelini’s temper may have just alienated his fan base after an audiotape of a vulgar rant leaked on the website Deadspin.
The rant took place after the Cornhuskers’ 2011 victory over Ohio State. Pelini did not know he was being recorded at the time. Emotions were not stemming from the victory his team had just achieved, but rather towards the criticism he had received the following week when his team suffered a massive 31 point defeat at the hands of Wisconsin.
In the rant, which you can listen to on Deadspin (source 1,) you can hear Pelini take on the media and fans alike, cursing both equally.
Singling out a reporter he at the time had a problem with, no word on whether or not the two men are still at odds, Pelini refers to Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald. He calls Chatelain a “a piece of shit” in the article.
Not that he was done with the World-Herald staff. Next on deck during his rant was Tom Shatel, who apparently walked out during a press conference of Pelini’s. Things get ugly and the f bombs start flowing off of the Nebraska coach’s tongue. “Fuck him, too. Fuck him. That’s what I’m going to tell him. He wants to walk out after my press conference? I’m gonna say, ‘Get the fuck away from me. I’m done with you, motherfucker.’ I’m done with him.”
Apparently it wasn’t enough for Pelini to limit his tyrade to the media alone. On deck for the next segment of his rant was the Cornhusker fans. Many fans had not stuck around for the entirety of the blowout loss to Wisconsin, which did not rub Pelini the right way.
“It took everything in my power to not say, ‘Fuck you, fans. Fuck all of you.’ Fuck ’em.” After Sharpe says a lot of students had left at halftime, the woman starts to say that people did return to their seats. Pelini interjects: “Our crowd. What a bunch of fucking fair-weather fucking—they can all kiss my ass out the fucking door. ‘Cause the day is fucking coming now. We’ll see what they can do when I’m fucking gone. I’m so fucking pissed off.”
Now that the recording of Pelini’s rant has leaked to the public, the USA Today reports that there is now friction between the Nebraska fans and Pelini himself. An apology was issued by the coach in an attempt to limit the damage.
“I want to sincerely apologize for my comments from two years ago which became public today,” Pelini said in the statement. “I take full responsibility for these comments.They were spoken in a private room following the Ohio State game. I was venting following a series of emotional events which led to this moment. That being said, these comments are in no way indicative of my true feelings. I love it here in Nebraska and feel fortunate to be associated with such a great University and fan base. I again apologize to anyone whom I have offended.”
An apology is a good start, however there is something else he must to if he truly wants the fan base to move on from this incident. Pelini must win. As many past scandals have shown us in the sporting world, winning changes everything. Should Pelini take his Nebraska team to say, a Big 10 title, or major bowl game victory in the near future fans will forgive and forget.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express