Adams: Get Kiffin game plan to handle apologies

If you read the lead story on the News Sentinel sports page Wednesday, your first reaction might have been: "That's old news."

I'm referring to the large, bold headline which read "Kiffin asked for public apology."

As astute followers of Tennessee football realize, this isn't the first time new coach Lane Kiffin has been asked to apologize. As they also know, this won't be the last time.

The most recent demand for an apology comes from the fine city of Pahokee, Fla., which - despite what you might have heard - has electricity, running water, Internet access and paved roads. Kiffin suggested otherwise following his successful recruitment of receiver Nu'Keese Richardson.

I can understand why the Pahokee Chamber of Commerce president would be offended by Kiffin's suggestion that Pahokee wasn't - well, let's say - as cosmopolitan as Palatka. Kiffin's quote, as it appeared in the Gainesville Sun: "For those of you who haven't been to Pahokee, there ain't much going on. You take that hour drive up from South Florida, there ain't a gas station that works. Nobody's got enough money to even have shoes or a short on."

You could argue that Kiffin didn't just offend Pahokee. He denigrated all of the rural South and the nation's poor as well.

But I don't think that was his intent. As a columnist, I can relate to the confusion. Readers sometimes miss my intent so badly, I question whether we're dealing in the same language.

My guess is Kiffin was trying to be funny. Unfortunately, Pahokee isn't laughing.

So what's Kiffin supposed to do? Return to Pahokee and make an apology on the town square, assuming there is a town square?

Please. He's a college football coach. He's trying to win games. He's trying to recruit players. He doesn't have time for apologies.

Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not insensitive to Pahokee's complaint, or to anyone else who feels as though Kiffin has insulted them. Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Mark Richt, B.J. Coleman, Bryce Petty, Al Davis, the SEC office, gas station attendants, and the entire state of South Carolina come to mind.

If I left out anyone, I apologize.

Kiffin can apologize, too. But he can't do it on an individual basis. There's simply not enough time for someone as busy as a football coach.

That's why I would recommend mass-produced Lane Kiffin I'm-sorry postcards, featuring a photo of the coach and his signature beneath the message: "If I offended you or your school, I'm truly sorry."

Although e-mail or Twitter would be more practical, the postcard would be more distinctive. It also would imply greater effort.

But what if that's not enough? What if some outraged city official or school administrator is so incensed by the magnitude of a perceived insult, that he demands a personal appearance.

That's when you dispatch your official Lane Kiffin Apologist. All you need is a 30-something, tall, blond guy who won't be unnerved by offering a sincere apology in front of a large, hostile crowd.

I know what you bean counters are thinking: "That could be expensive."

UT can pay Phillip Fulmer $6 million not to coach and include a $7.5 million buyout clause in Kiffin's contract. It can afford an official apologist. Besides, I'm not saying he has to be on staff. Pay him an appearance fee.

You probably wouldn't need him more than once a month.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 81

hotrodvol writes:

Alejo is an A-jole. Kiffin don't give that Gator the satisfaction.

MrBamSeydu writes:

Yeah, this Alejo character is a joke. He's a freakin' PRINCIPAL!!! Who cares what he says?? The football coach of the school has said he is over the whole situation and has a good relationship with UT, so who cares about the principal who is a Florida booster. Obviously he's going to be anti-Kiffin.

And as far as the comments on noone being able to afford shoes or shirts, he wasn't trying to offend. He was describing the poverty of the area and how rural it is.

BOTTOM LINE: Get over it Alejo. That was probably said months ago and we've moved on so you should too. We're still going to recruit the kids at Pahokee because we can. If you lock us out of the school, we'll go to their houses. Nu'Keese Richardson is from Pahokee and I'm sure he isn't one bit offended by anything Kiffin has said. If he came to UT, so will some of the others from Pahokee.

GerryOP writes:

Dang, John Adams does have a sense of humor! Good job John!

There is a Big Ol' Doofus out in Alcoa/Maryville/Swayback, WY/Hollywood/wherever-he-is-this-week who would do well at this job. Besides, it would not cost UT anything except airfare, UT is already paying him $6 mil!

MrBamSeydu writes:

PS: I forgot to thank Principal Alejo. He's just keeping us in the headlines, which is what Lane Kiffin said is all a part of the plan.

TommyJack writes:

Now that's funny right there, Adams.

chrisw2967 writes:

I can see Alejo now , going to a players house with recruiters from Tn sitting there and he walks in and ask them to leave the recruits home. I bet Alejo and Urbie has each other on speed dial.

RTR writes:

Both are in the wrong here IMO. One needs to be the bigger man here. It was childish to say those things and just as childish to deny the UT coaches entrance. But honestly this should not hinder UT too much on getting these kids.

snafu14u#241639 writes:

My only concern in this whole matter is that Kiffin doesn't seem to understand how to hold his tounge. Kiffin shoots off his mouth and then his brain kicks in hours later. On more than one occassion. I expect better conduct and common sense out of our football coach, I don't care how young or "talented". We are the University of Tennessee @ Knoxville and the standards are high. Kiffin needs to grow up and understand the implications of his actions. I support Kiffin, but he makes it hard at times. bonzaivol

old_number1 writes:

in response to snafu14u#241639:

My only concern in this whole matter is that Kiffin doesn't seem to understand how to hold his tounge. Kiffin shoots off his mouth and then his brain kicks in hours later. On more than one occassion. I expect better conduct and common sense out of our football coach, I don't care how young or "talented". We are the University of Tennessee @ Knoxville and the standards are high. Kiffin needs to grow up and understand the implications of his actions. I support Kiffin, but he makes it hard at times. bonzaivol

I have to say that I agree with your entire post. But you have to admit that most of these 'snafus' have been blown completely out of proportion.

DannyVol writes:

I can't believe they pay Adams to do this.

dvhill100 writes:

Funny article. Maybe we can get the PI from Trading Places, the one who bumps into the guy on the sidewalk and throws him to the ground with a polite "Excuse me."

Razor784 writes:

He called Alejo "that Florida Gators principal" on his sportstalk interview yesterday. That's hilarious.

volsfan74 writes:

I just realized theres 3 ways to make headlines in the Knox Sentinel kill, rob or say Kiffin owes you an apology! In my opinion A-hole owes all his past and present students an apology for suggesting they should attend the mosquito infested SWAMP known as UF!

dave1#220678 writes:

The funny thing Adams is that you and your buddy Griff have to site a Gainesville, FL paper using a quote that no media person from Knoxville bothered to write about 3 months ago when it "happened" in freaking Knoxville. CLK has apologized for the fax stuff comments and that was all that was attributed to him back then. Either you guys were all asleep 3 months ago when he said these other comments or he did not say them. I am going with both as the safe bet.

Volgrad777 writes:

I cant afford a "short" either Adams , since i dont know what that is. But im pretty sure Tebow wears one whatever it is.

smokyredbone writes:

Coach Kiffin apologised as soon as the fax comments were made public. He apologised to the school,town and the coach. This new statement he supposedly made that the Gainsville paper printed seems suspicious to me. In that statement Kiffin alledgedly said "aint" three times. Now, I'll bet CLK has not said aint three times in his life. I want to hear audio,not just some Gator paper saying it was said. I've seen and heard the comments about the school or the coach messing up faxes to schools other than the Gators and thats what Kiffin apologised for. This principle should be run out of town. The Gators won't sign all of his kids and to limit their opportunity for a free education is outright wrong. If other schools are given access and only Tenn is not being granted the same access, in my opinion that could be an actionable offense. The principle is the one that owes the school,town and the kids an apology!!! GO VOLS GET US SOME MORE OF THOSE RABBIT CHASING FOOTBALLERS!

tan007 writes:

I have said it before and now will say it again. Lane Kiffin needs to slow it down with his negative comments & show a little class. If it was an attempt at humor, it was a bad choice, I saw nothing funny about it. It wasn't blown out of proportion, it was a derogatory statement..plain & simple and totally unnecessary. It had absolutely nothing to do with the game of football. I am a UT fan but not a Kiffin fan yet.

Breedoni writes:

I'm a 30 year FL resident from Middle TN who bleeds ORANGE, living in a very non cosmopolitan place called Leesburg (Lake County). Towns like Immokalee, Pahokee, Belle Glade and for you older TN fans, Froostproof (Alvin Harper, Travis Henry) produce 100s of Div.1 talent. I'm not quite up on the numbers for recruits from Dickson, Waverly, Centerville, Burns, White Bluff, Charlotte etc. to make it to a SEC school in the last 30 years but is probably a fraction of 1% of the numbers from South FL. By the way, Jeff Demps is From Lake County and he's playing pretty good 'ball for the Gators.
My point: Do what it takes to get these players out of the South FL area. Send the Big Orange Caravan, paint the town Orange, Apologize, praise their citrus and sugar cane.
GOD it's awful living here as a UTK alum.

SignalMtnVol writes:

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think Adams was trying to be sarcastic?
If not, that'll be a pretty inflammatory column.

rootin4volz writes:

"But I don't think that was his intent. As a columnist, I can relate to the confusion. Readers sometimes miss my intent so badly, I question whether we're dealing in the same language."

Well, John...Perhaps that is your particular inability to articulate your intent clearly in your writing, which happens on more occasions than not. Maybe if you'd quit trying to be such a commodian and stick to the point, clarity could perhaps win out. Eh?

VOLinATL writes:

I believe he needs to apologize as well, but not in person. As we have seen as nauseum, Coach Kiffin is not a a very good public speaker, so maybe a scripted video message would suffice. Then, maybe some public speaking lessons wouldn't hurt...

Psychovol writes:

Fulmer would be a great appologist he's been doing it for years.

volnbig11land writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good morning Vicki

old_number1 writes:

in response to rootin4volz:

"But I don't think that was his intent. As a columnist, I can relate to the confusion. Readers sometimes miss my intent so badly, I question whether we're dealing in the same language."

Well, John...Perhaps that is your particular inability to articulate your intent clearly in your writing, which happens on more occasions than not. Maybe if you'd quit trying to be such a commodian and stick to the point, clarity could perhaps win out. Eh?

Rootin4Volz,

Wow, You must be a mind-reader (or maybe I am). Another poster said 'and Adams gets paid for this?'. But We are the stupid ones, according to Adams. John, I think you owe all of us an apology for being so insensitive to your readers!!

bkgunter writes:

Adams: Your mangled prose and twisted logic are the causes of readers' miscomprehension. Please don't project your ineptitude onto us.

sampears writes:

in response to Razor784:

He called Alejo "that Florida Gators principal" on his sportstalk interview yesterday. That's hilarious.

I noticed that too....had to pull over and catch my breath!

volfan#207874 writes:

in response to smokyredbone:

Coach Kiffin apologised as soon as the fax comments were made public. He apologised to the school,town and the coach. This new statement he supposedly made that the Gainsville paper printed seems suspicious to me. In that statement Kiffin alledgedly said "aint" three times. Now, I'll bet CLK has not said aint three times in his life. I want to hear audio,not just some Gator paper saying it was said. I've seen and heard the comments about the school or the coach messing up faxes to schools other than the Gators and thats what Kiffin apologised for. This principle should be run out of town. The Gators won't sign all of his kids and to limit their opportunity for a free education is outright wrong. If other schools are given access and only Tenn is not being granted the same access, in my opinion that could be an actionable offense. The principle is the one that owes the school,town and the kids an apology!!! GO VOLS GET US SOME MORE OF THOSE RABBIT CHASING FOOTBALLERS!

Psssst, SRB. The word is spelled princiPAL, not princiPLE. (Referring to the egomanic at poke-a-hockey hs.) May God forgive me for jabbing the high school. I'n sure there are many fine students there. The way Kiffin described the area of the town? city? community? of Pahokee accurately describes the area that I grew up in during the 30's 40's and on into the 50's. Long live Harrison Chilhowee Baptist Academy in Seymour, TN.

govolshw writes:

Adams you are still an idiot

volnbig11land writes:

in response to BigVolMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

See my earlier post for a possible answer as to her agenda....

GainesvilleVol1 writes:

It's going to be a long hot, slow summer with stuff like this to read. I can't bash Adams though, not really much to report otherwise. Anyway, mabye the card could be one of those with the recorder so Kiffin could offer up the apologizes in his voice.

"I'm sorry you live in a rat hole without running water or electricity, keep on buying those lottery tickets" or something like that. It would show his sensitive side.

GO VOLS!!!

HotlantaVol writes:

in response to volnbig11land:

Good morning Vicki

Now that's funny!!

volnbig11land writes:

in response to HotlantaVol:

Now that's funny!!

hahaha, thanks!

RockinTop writes:

LOL...it really is amazing the stupid things people say.....take wlvol above for example....not rooting for your teams success?? Lane or no Lane?

John....I "get" your article. It is ridiculus that Lane personally appear and anyone with a brain knows this. :O

Did I just say that Pahokee doesnt have a brain?? NO, I was jesting just as Lane was. People use sattire all the time and again blow things completely out of proportion.

Issue an apology in the media, again, Pahokee get over it....and lets all move on. If that isnt acceptable, then dont recruit there, who cares. The US is a big piece of real estate.

Note to Boosters meetings: Dont allow media in anymore.

Go Big Orange!

HallowedHill writes:

LOL, they call John Adams "sensation-happy Knoxville News-Sentinel sports editor John Adams." Next thing you know someone will be calling for John to apologize.

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football...

Volunatic writes:

How is it that the Gainesville Sun gets the "scoop" on quotes by Kiffin, unless they are just making it up?

Volunatic writes:

in response to Volunatic:

How is it that the Gainesville Sun gets the "scoop" on quotes by Kiffin, unless they are just making it up?

Sorry, I mean "the gainesville Sun".

Basketball_Jones writes:

I usually enjoy Adams column but he is just stirring the pot on this. Bow it out your --- Adams. You complained Fulmer was too "Andy Griffith" and now you complain of Kiffin. Go back to the bayou with all the other snakes, gators and bugs. You've worn out your welcome

golfballs03 writes:

Funny article. Regardless, why does Kiffin have to apologize for speaking the truth - even when the truth can sometimes hurt.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Now that's funny right there, Adams.

Yep, It's a shame no one has told that area their opinion anyway.

Bet the principal loves this attention (Gator sign gone) like a cured man misses polio.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to TCHDWN10C:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Would Dupree standing in s shopping cart suffice as an apologist at Pawhokee?

Orangeblood13 writes:

Mr Adams once again you make us all sick. How in the hell you keep your writing job will forever be a mystery

jerk

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

the voice of reason that knows all. time to turn the light off in the basement and save moma's electric.

I think Kiff has stood behind all he has done in his career, doesn't phase him.

go back to your hole

pdowned writes:

GO VOLS!!! Even if the Gators beat us this year, at least it looks like we are going to put up a fight, even if it's only off the field!

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

The bottom line is....get the media out of booster events...PERIOD.

Let the UTAD give the media what they want to be reported AFTER the event....that way jokes on rivals can be jokes...Kiffin can work up Big Orange Nation with jabs at Myer and Saban and no one will get their panties in a wad.

Everyone needs to stop being so sensitive. It didn't bother me that Spurrier used to crack on us..."can't spell citrus without ut"...it didn't make me mad. It was Spurrier being Spurrier....it was a Gator booster meeting...who cares. I am sure they all had a good time. That is all this was meant to be. The media reported it. Kiffin apologized. This should have been over 3 months ago.

illinoisvolfan writes:

Has anyone noticed that the only person who is truly praising this article is gator4life? It can make a guy wonder...

ladylyn writes:

Funny!

TommyJack writes:

don't remember squat about Spurrier making apologys to TN and others for YEARS of insulting remarks.....

Volunatic writes:

in response to DCflorida1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Apparently you should try to keep steve spurrier out of yours.

jakethevolguy writes:

Did you ever tell a teenager that he couldn't do something? Well, how did that turn out? Alejo probably did UT a favor by implying "I'm not letting UT in here so, don't talk to them". Now every kid on the team will try to schedule a visit. lol!!

watchdog writes:

Shoot, Kiffin's only sin here is not knowing better than to leave that stone unturned. He didn't say a thing that wasn't true - the problem is that a bunch of people barely getting by down in Pahokee don't necessarily want or need the public reminder of what life's like there.

You want to know about Pahokee? Read this article - I'm confident telling you it'll be the best thing you read all day, apologies to the Sentinel here.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/...

Tell me after reading that, that Pahokee ain't dirt poor. Just one person, the guy who wrote this ESPN article, turned it into a powerful story. Lane didn't do them the courtesy of pointing out the positive in a little backwater place like that, in a nice little easy-to-print format. He'll learn to be more media savvy. You know he *sees* the good, though, because we're there. Recruiting.

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