Sun Dec 06 09:03am EST
Ousted Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis opened up to five Irish-centric reporters Saturday for his first post-termination interview with the stated goal of leaving South Bend as "a man of integrity" with "a positive message." Accordingly, topics covered included his unqualified support of the ND program and the new coach, the charity in his daughter's name, the exaggerated reports of his salary, his pending move back to his comfort zone in the NFL -- and just for good measure, one ripe adultery charge against his greatest foil (emphasis added):
Q: Is it frustrating to you Pete Carroll, for example, portrayed in one way…
CW: Let me ask you this question: You guys know about things that go on in different places. Was I living with a grad student in Malibu, or was I living with my wife in my house? You could bet that if I were living with a grad student here in South Bend, it would be national news. He’s doing it in Malibu and it's not national news. What’s the difference? I don’t understand. Why is it okay for one guy to do things like that, but for me, I’m scrutinized when I swear. I’m sorry for swearing; absolve my sins.
Congratulations, coach: I would say Pete Carroll allegedly living with a grad student in Malibu is now national news, to the extent that unconfirmed personal gossip fits the category. (Emphasis, of course, on allegedly.)
Weis is certainly not the first person to accuse Pete Carroll of some extracurricular activity, but he is the first whose allegations demand a public airing after being delivered on the record to credible news organizations. Predictably, it also prompted a swift denial from Carroll in the middle of the night:
"It's untrue, it's irresponsible and it's incredible he'd be talking about me like that," Carroll said of Weis.
Carroll doesn't exactly need a shot at his sparkling image right now, just hours after his team's third loss in five games took its worst regular season in eight years to a new low. Talk about kicking a man while he's down -- but hey, that's what you get for the "Bush Push" and holding Weis' offense out of the end zone two years in a row in 2007-08, pal.
[UPDATE, 1:58 p.m. ET] Weis caught up with the L.A. Times to insist that the comments were intended to be off the record and were taken out of context:
"So, in no way was I trying to take a shot at Pete. I feel if I offended Pete, I will run Pete down and apologize. ... In no way do I have any idea what's going on in anyone's life other than the fact that rumors on the Internet can affect coaches' lives in a very, very negative fashion."
Later, in a telephone interview, Weis said, "In no way would I be disrespectful to that guy," and "All I know is that he kicked the crap out of me five times."
If that's the case, Weis' attempt to illustrate the dangers of vicious Internet rumors inadvertently created a vicious Internet rumor that hit the blogs, the L.A. Times, the Worldwide Leader and even the Old Grey Lady within a matter of hours -- in other words, a wild success. He's reportedly left a message for Carroll, which is a conversation I'd really like to hear.
[UPDATE, 3: 12 p.m. ET] Rivals colleagues inform me the offending quote has been removed from the original link in this post. If you click there and don't find it, that's an after-the-fact omission.