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Sign of the Apocalypse: The Ron English Tirade

Cliff’s Notes

Columnist

Published: Friday, November 22, 2013

Updated: Friday, November 22, 2013 01:11

Tucked in the cobwebs and covered in the dust of college football mediocrity lie the Eastern Michigan University Eagles, a team that had few people talking outside of Yipslianti, Mich. before last week.

The only story until last week for the underachieving 2013 Mid-American Conference (MAC) squad came in the form of a tragedy. An Oct. 18 murder of junior Eagles wide receiver Demarius Reed in his off-campus apartment sent shock waves across the quiet town of just over 19,000, and put perspective on a rough (1-5) start to the Eagles season. One would assume the murder, which still remains unsolved, took the hearts and minds of the team away from football. In times like this, a locker room becomes a place of healing, a place of consoling and home to a brotherhood unlike any other in sports.  

Demarius Reed was described as the “life of the locker room” according to his teammates. The junior communication major was seen as an influential leader who succeeded on the field and in the classroom. Recently, a fund was established in the Chicago native’s memory that will support the reward leading to an arrest in the case.

Since Reed’s murder, an audiotape containing the profanity-laced tirade of head coach Ron English landed on athletic director Heather Lyke’s desk. The tape contained English’s outburst on his team’s effort leading during an unfocused week of practice on the field. Homosexual slurs, telling his players he had no respect for them and referring to their playing style as “S***bird Football,” was enough to get English fired when the tape surfaced Nov. 9.

Justice appeared to have been served until a report this week from The Detroit Free Press that stated English’s outburst on his team came only days after Reed’s murder. If so true, a sudden “loss of poise,” as English described it, appears to be a much more egregious offense.

How could English berate his players for being unfocused? How would the thought of using homosexual slurs and derogatory language even occur? Surely a man like English, who has coached in the college ranks for 21 years, was aware of the emotional distress his team was under. Did he simply not care? Was he fearful the next blowout loss would lead to his firing?

Regardless, English, who compiled a (11-46) record before being fired, should be blacklisted from college football if these accusations prove to be true. Surely that locker room knows when the tirade occurred. The truth will prevail. And if Ron English was in fact disgusted with his team’s following the murder of a teammate, then America should be disgusted with Ron English. 

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