Roy Exum: Malone’s 2nd Chance?

Sunday, January 10, 2021 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

For all intent and purposes, there are three things I would love to see happen this week. First, I would like to witness a lesson in forgiveness. A UTC assistant football coach, Chris Malone, was too-quickly fired last week after he fell prey to an idiotic “brain spasm” and tweeted a deplorable racist laugh to his buddies.

UTC athletic director Mark Wharton promptly fired coach Malone rather than seeking a better solution, and in doing so, offended some university donors and further crippled ever-sagging ticket sales in any sport.

What’s worse is that Mark Wharton’s reaction left no room for a “win.” Mocs head coach Rusty Wright can’t just go out and pick a veteran line coach off some tree.

No university would ever kick a player off a team for sending a bone-headed tweet … instead the young men must run “gassers” (sprints) until they become “gaspers” (that’s when you have to crawl.) every morning at 5 a.m.

Darn-tootin’ gassers-to-gaspers work and the UTC football team could have some fun in it. I can easily imagine head coach Wright assigning Coach Malone as the first coach/player in the 5 a.m. “Post Office” class at UTC. Post Office? That’s what discipline drills are called at some schools, the longtime belief that it comes from the USPS. Actually, it was written by the ancients in about 500 BC.

But, no, the pledge, was actually carved into stone about 500 BC by the ancients. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Have you ever had to run 40 60-yard sprints in three feet of snow? It is said nobody ever crawls. It’s almost as bad as hearing the whistle in a driving rain with a wind chill about 40 degrees.

Here's the best part of redemption. As the Mocs line coach, it gives Coach Malone the opportunity to get his respect back. Oh, I fancy he would give a dandy speech to the entire team about how a moron can make just one mistake on social media can get you on TV, and in newspapers, and magazines, in all 50 states.

It is a small group who wants to watch a man bleed to death while being trampled by every no-count in a 100-mile radius. They want to condemn a UTC “maker of men” but a much larger crowd knows that the success rate of a “second chance” is what has built our nation.

Let me tell you that that the only way to make iron into steel is to heat, bang the impurities out with a huge hammer, and then heat it and beat it again. Repeat as necessary. I do not know coach Chris Malone, but his bio will show he’s been down a lot of the time and always been known for bouncing right back up.

Malone started for three years at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1995. Since then, he mastered the art of picking up some guys and dusting the grass off the backsides. At other times he may have learned a swift kick in a haughty senior’s rump is necessary and, sometimes, it is the ideal solution in team sport. The public’s perception of UTC has forever been as “Last Chance U.” Everyone knows that and right now Moc-ville needs friends.

I can guarantee you that Chris Malone is twice as good right now than he was last week. He’s been to moron school. He didn’t like it. But he learned. He endured. And while there will never be any expert candidate better than Chris Malone, smart wisdom is to hire him back this afternoon

Let’s take this scar and turn it a star; this gutter thought that was nauseating but when compared to a lifetime, fear not the negatives’ flash. Coach Malone has earned the right not to be judged on prejudice scales.

* * *

Just before giving him a ‘green light,’ get Mike Royster to take Malone’s Tweeter to the river and chuck the thing as far down stream as he can. Donald Trump’s “Tweets” helped get him beat. Then tell Malone if he gets caught tweeting, he will be fired for cause.

royexum@aol.com


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