Look who’s talking now


If you heeded mother’s warnings of the strong silent type, then chances are you’ve kept your distance from athletic director Mike Garrett. Over the years, Garrett has been a man of no words few words that jumps in and out of the shadows at Trojan sporting events.

In the last decade of USC sports, if you were to pin a voice to its athletic programs, you would hear the excited Pete Carroll with his barrage of “win forever” and a touch of how great of a day it is to be a Trojan. You may also hear the authoritative scream of Tim Floyd, as he attempts to seek the attention and bully a one-eyed zebra that views only half the court. Or it may be a hint of arrogance from Lane Kiffin, returning from a Babaloo tour to tell Lucy “I’m home”. But what it won’t be is Mike Garrett, who maintained a public presence that most resembled  a limited communication campus mime.

Wave hello here.– Wave goodbye there.– Applaud on cue.– The end.—until now.

Mike Garrett broke his longstanding silence in a recent L.A. Times interview. That session provided the most words by the head of Trojan athletics since his Heisman acceptance speech of 1965. But he didn’t end it there, now launching a twitter account so you, the fan, can reach out and touch someone.

Obviously the AD has been coerced finally realized that a connection to the public is beneficial to relations. When storm clouds are forming, nothing calms the masses more than the soothing voices of those in charge. When armies gather against us, nothing raises the will to fight like words of a fearless leader imploring us to defend this house.  Unfortunately, it may be a little late.

Mike Garrett needed to speak yesterday. He needed to connect years ago. He needed to jump up and take a stand the instant the school’s name was being soiled. We were given silence, and with it came vulnerability and worry. Silence made for an easy target to be fired upon by public opinion. Those damages are irreparable, and social networking will not heal the wound.

The new Mike Garrett does raise my curiosity, though, in regard to the NCAA’s pending announcement. Why would he open up now, granting easy access to comments and backlash, unless his expectation is far less that what the rest of the Trojan nation is bracing for? Then again, maybe I just think too much.

Welcome to the 21st century, Mike. We’ll be chatting soon.

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~ by Anthony on March 4, 2010.

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