The Locker Room Video: Like an Onion – From the Bird’s Nest
It came to me in an email Tuesday evening during Louisiana Coach Mark Hudspeth's radio show. I opened the email during a commercial break and saw a locker room scene. Outside of a player shown nude from the back, I didn't think much of it.
I never watched it again. Which means I never heard the audio until two days later.
All hell broke loose Thursday in Cajun Country when the contents of the video went public. And viral. And, by now, we all know what was in the audio.
Let me say, first of all, I didn't know there was such a song as "FDT." I had heard the chant on news clips, especially when the protests started. I thought it was just a chant. I guess I've gotten old.
And, now that we've all had a few days to digest this, here are some of my thoughts on the matter.
First, the response was predictable. Did anyone expect anything different? This video got out in one of the most conservative, Republican cities in America. It was an angry electorate. And, locally, they just got angrier when made aware of this video. While it's true the outrage wouldn't have been the same in a liberal city, or if this video disparaged the other candidate, the fact is, it happened the way it did. No one should be surprised at the reaction or blame anyone for feeling the way they feel. Trust me, I wasn't happy either.
The rest of this entire story is like an onion. So many layers to peel. Each layer has importance. And, if you concentrate on just one layer or two, there are points you are missing.
Now, I understand on social media, people just say stuff in anger. They have no filter, which is one of the issues about social media. But let me give everyone a reality check here. While this video was a black eye on the program, let's remember that two months ago, during the worst natural disaster on our area's history, these same players, and their teammates, and their coaching staff, were in Youngsville, LA, helping flood victims remove sheet rock, furniture and other debris from their homes. These are people who were in despair and these players, who worked tirelessly and did their best to put smiles on people's faces, did a tremendous service to this community. How quickly we forget.
Moreover, if you look at the six years under Mark Hudspeth, you'll find very few instances where players have gotten in trouble. And, it's not because arrests aren't reported. There are universities where there have been more arrests made this season than in Hudspeth's tenure as head coach. When problems have arisen, he's handled them. Check back and see how many players have been released from the team in six years. There is, in fact, discipline in the program. You just don't hear about it.
Now, having said that, there's no question Hudspeth could have handled the situation much better than he did. His quotes following a 3am conversation with Tim Buckley of The Advertiser, only fanned the flames. It was not a good idea to say the things that were attributed to him. Suggesting your fans might be a bit hypocritical is never the right thing to say. The subject was not the fans. It was the video. I understand there was a hard fought football game. I understand everyone was tired. I understand the frustration. I understand it was 3am and perhaps the statement would have been different in a different situation. But it happened. It shouldn't have. The prepared statement on Friday is the quote we had all hoped to hear the first time.
I believe Mark Hudspeth is handling the situation as far as his team is concerned and handling it properly. He is disciplining his players. He has done that consistently in the past. No, we don't have a right to know who the players are or what the discipline is. That isn't part of the RCAF or season ticket package. When I hear some of the things I've heard I am reminded the millennials aren't the only ones who sometimes feel entitled.
So let's recap so far. Players screwed up. Fans got angry. These aren't bad kids. Hud could have and should have handled it better with his statements. He's taking care of it. We aren't entitled.
These are the subjects that seem to be talked about the most. But there are a couple of others, which, for me, are even more disturbing.
First, is the locker room scenario itself. There's an old saying about "what you see here, what you say here, let it stay here when you leave here." This was badly violated in this case. Several players were seen videoing the locker room. And, there's only one way to control this and that is for coaches to ban cell phones in the locker room. Not an easy thing to do with 120 players. But more than one coach has this policy, including some on staff here. It's a shame it's come to this. But it's come to this.
I certainly haven't heard or seen everything concerning this incident. But, so far, I have only seen one angle of this video. This tells me (unless there are others I haven't seen) that it was one person who leaked this video. I hope the person has been identified and is part of the discipline being handed out. There should be no rest until this person is identified by the staff. I have no idea what would motivate someone to leak the video, but whoever it is, isn't a team player.
Moreover, the leaking of the video could be potentially harmful. Let's remember there is at least one player who was videoed nude from the back. To distribute this without his knowledge is not only bad judgment, it's downright illegal. And, anyone who decided to put the video on social media is at risk here as well.
And finally (and this bothers me as much, if not more than anything else), it has to be noted that "fans" are involved here. I received the video in my email within a couple of hours after it occurred. It was not from a player. Now, I did nothing with it (and as I said earlier, didn't hear the audio until 36 hours later.) But let's make no mistake about this. Whoever shot this video leaked it quickly. This video was then shared on social media by people who claim to be Cajun fans. I do not know everyone who shared the video. But I do know at least one fan is one who is disgruntled by the administration and by Hudspeth himself, given the record over the last (nearly) two seasons. I know this because many of his tweets use the hashtag #firefarmer, #firetjoe and/or #firehudspeth.
That's right. At least one adult who claims to be a fan just went out and tried to put the program in as bad a light as possible just to fulfill his own agenda. He isn't the only one who does things like this. That video was shared by others, and certainly shared by rivals of the school.
I, for the life of me, don't understand how fans can go out of their way to try to cannibalize their own team, school or program. But they are out there. Rumor, innuendo and outright lies are part of fan board fodder. Can't do much about that. But this takes that vitriol to a whole new level.
But I'm sure that's all Farmer, Savoie and Hud's fault, right?
I would hope everyone would realize the last two points, the release of the video which contained nudity and the attempted destruction of the program by a fan or fans,needs to get some attention here.
Because this is bigger, and potentially more destructive than a rap song.