Busting Brackets

Frank Martin being suspended opens idiot wormhole


Mar 4, 2014; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Frank Martin directs his team during a timeout against the Florida Gators in the first half at The Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks have suspended Frank Martin for the last game of the their regular season. This is after Martin’s actions towards a player during which he yelled some profanities that were caught by TV cameras.

So Martin cursed out a player, got caught, is suspended and that should be it, right? Apparently not. Because absolving one’s mistake through another’s is what this moment is all about, I guess — or at least that is what I am being told.

That’s from really respected, talented and always well researched, Dan Wetzel. Who, usually, knows what he is talking about. However, he is pretty wrong in every aspect of that tweet.

Wetzel is not the only one magically putting blame on South Carolina either. Scores of others have done the same.

I am not entirely sure what the endgame is with saying those types of things. Are we putting the blame for Frank Martin’s behavior on South Carolina? Are we saying they are some sort of enablers? I mean it was Martin who acted like a jerk, not the Gamecocks athletic department.

Trust me, I get it. South Carolina did hire a coach who has a past with bad behavior. But landing a new gig shouldn’t mean Martin — or any other coach for that matter — should be exempt from repeating the same mistakes.

Martin was, and still is, a very good college basketball coach. What he did with Kansas State is the stuff of legend. His passion for the game as well as his players is admirable. All of that is a part of the reason South Carolina hired him in the first place. Even knowing that he had a pension for going over the edge, the previous athletic director thought the reward of hiring Martin far outweighed the risk.

Notice how it was the previous A.D. that hired him. You know, as compared to the current one. A person who has no direct correlation of their own success linked to Frank Martin. Someone who didn’t hire him or can be called a hypocrite for suspending him.

However, even if the same guy who hired Martin was still there would not mean Martin could go off on mental terrorizing benders. The idea that, as Wetzel put it, “That’s who he is, why he’s won” is only tied to his passion is insane. I am pretty sure it also has to do with his ability to recruit, gameplan and having a high basketball IQ.

Plus, there’s not that thin of a line between passion and being abusive towards players. Cursing at a player who cannot transfer, talk back or do anything that wouldn’t immediately result in us either calling him disrespectful or him losing eligibility at the college level, is abuse.

This pattern of behavior by coaches is unacceptable. We can’t pick and choose which coaches are allowed to go over the line. If I am going to criticize Mick Cronin for his actions, there is no possible way I can give Martin a pass. Coaches running amok is an issue that needs to be dealt with.

I am glad South Carolina punished Martin. That’s despite the fact I like him, would hire him to coach my (fictional) team and think he is still a good coach. I also don’t think it is productive to use Martin’s suspension as a way to point the finger at South Carolina. What were they supposed to do in this instance? Just eat it because they hired him?

The first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one. South Carolina admitted that Frank Martin’s behavior is a problem. They then acted. Now it is up to Martin to do the same and adjust appropriately. Here is to hoping other coaches also admit to this same problem.

But you know what they say about hoping in one hand and pooping in another, right? After seeing the tweets from smart college basketball people today, I can only assume our hands are going to stink.