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    Thursday, October 26, 2006

    My View: The Emperor Has No Clothes

    Some men grow old with dignity; others grow bitter. Unfortunately the latter applies to Bobby Bowden. Perhaps it is because the later part of his career is not how he envisioned it. He sees his legacy now tainted by too many losses to inferior teams and too much critcism from those he thought would never dare criticize.

    Perhaps we were wrong about the "Southern Gentlemen". Maybe this hardened personality was always there and we simply chose to ignore it. I do know that we now see a man who is eager to belittle fans. How dare fans who pay his salary criticize the great one. He sees the criticism of himself as unjust. It is as if he sees this in terms of an epic struggle akin to a holy war.

    Bobby Bowden has himself caused this examination of the man. He is now fair game. His legacy will not be written in glowing terms. It will be told in terms of a coach who had a lax discipline regarding player infractions where at other schools players would have been suspended or dismissed. It will be in terms of a man who thought he was above the law when he hired his son although Florida's nepotism law prohibits such actions. Never mind that he and the FSU administration circumvented the law by creating a sham procedure.

    On his call in show you see a man that is confident that he knows something that no one else knows. He knows that no one would dare fire the savior of the football program. And when fans call in to rave about him, you see his eyes light up.

    He refuses to believe that there are a significant number of fans and supporters that wish him to step down. He does not even want to read anything negative.His secretary censors any negative letters and only provides those that praise the great one.

    There are those who know when it is time to exit the stage. Men like Parshegian and Royal and Holtz and Schembechler. Somehow Bobby Bowden does not know when it is time. He is consumed with what the ancient Greeks called "hubris" or false pride. It has been time for a while now and yet he has been buoyed by sycophants and admirers who have isolated him from the reality of the situation. If he would dare look in the mirror, he would see that the emperor has no clothes.

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