Mike Leach may be living on a beach in Key West, but the Pirate still knows how stir the waters. Excerpt's of Leach's book, Swing Your Sword were released earlier week, and naturally enough it concerned the Leach-James-Tech Feud.
The fallout from the tale continued Thursday when ESPN suspended indefinitely Leach's co-author, Bruce Feldman.
Feldman, a 15-year veteran of ESPN, and a highly respected college football reporter, was basically suspended for working on a book that ESPN had given him permission to do.
Bruce Feldman and Mike Leach began working on their book long before Leach was fired by Texas Tech in late 2009.
Naturally enough the excerpts deal with the end of Leach's stay at Tech and his run-ins with Craig and Adam James. At the heart of Leach's defense is his charge that Craig James, an ESPN college football analyst, helped orchestrate a "smear" campaign designed to make it easier for Tech to fire Leach. Specifically, Leach charges that Craig James hired a PR firm to spread falsehoods about how Leach had treated his son, Adam James. What probably set ESPN executives off was the charge in the book that the PR firm was exclusively giving the mis-information to ESPN's Joe Schad, who ran with it without bothering to check its veracity and that the rest of the Mother Ship followed along.
The book is also filled with footnotes including University memos and court documents that back up Leach's version of events.
It didn't take long for members for the press outside the ESPN sphere of influence to come to the defense of Feldman.
John Taylor of NBCsports.com summed it up this way:
"So, the allegations made in Leach’s lawsuit, didn’t prompt ESPN to to indefinitely suspend Feldman or bar him from working on the book eight months ago, but the release of the book three days ago did? I guess, though, when you’ve been wallowing in hypocrisy for well over a decade, you get used to the stench."
Spencer Hall added a few words as well:
This whole thing probably ends with Feldman writing for the same people, and enduring the inconvenience of a suspension, and all of us forgetting it, but in the meantime you have to endure a guy who is literally the most dedicated and knowledgeable reporter we know getting suspended because talentless management can't handle the implications of their own decisions.
Of course Twitter nation blew up over the suspension as well.
Feldman has been banned from writing for any ESPN entity, is forbidden from appearing on any ESPN platform, is not allowed to Tweet from his Twitter account.
Leach, meanwhile, has a book signing date on July 19th in Lubbock. Might be kind of fun to drop in on that one.