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Greetings from The Booth!
I will start by saying I hate writing about the non-sports side of sports. The reason I watch sports is to escape the problems of the everyday world. The problem is that the everyday world has found it’s way into sports, and I can’t tell the difference between the two. It’s to the point now that I rarely watch a sporting event unless it involves the Washington professional football team (usually not a pleasant experience) or my beloved WVU Mountaineers.
Speaking of the old Blue and Gold, the Mountaineers’ legendary Hall-Of-Fame basketball coach Bob Huggins is now in hot water for (twice) casually using a homophobic slur during a recent radio interview on Cincinnati’s 700 WLW. In case you don’t know the backstory, Huggins was once the coach of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, who had a fierce rival with Xavier, also located in Cincy. During the WLW interview, Huggins weighed in on the Xavier fans–you can look up what he said exactly–using the anti-gay term. Four hours later, “Huggs” released a statement of apology, and WVU said it was “reviewing the matter”
It now looks like there will be no firing of Huggins by the University. Instead, he will lose $1 million in salary, serve a suspension, and have to complete a sensitivity training course before he is allowed back on the sideline. Reaction on social media fan boards was mixed, with some wanting everyone to “move on,” while some wanted Huggins fired outright. Many thought the punishment amounted to no more than a slap on the wrist.
I love Bob Huggins. He bleeds Blue and Gold. But there is no good excuse for what he said, and Huggins admitted as much. Today’s coaches have to be aware of the day and age in which we live. That being said, I don’t believe in cancel culture. Bob Huggins has done a lot of good for the University and the state of West Virginia. That has to be considered when arriving at a just punishment. It’s easy to come out of the woodwork as so many pundits have done and reach for a rock to throw. The greatest Man to ever walk the Earth once said, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Huggins has built enough equity to deserve a chance at redemption.
There are many who think that Huggs is a dinosaur, and that the game has passed him by. Those people now have some fuel for their fire. It does seem at times that Huggins is disinterested and devoid of energy as he sits on his courtside stool on game day, and has complained over and over about navigating the current landscape of college hoop as it applies to NIL and the transfer portal.
Huggins has since found a way, with the help of a wealthy coalition of West Virginians, to embrace the portal, and the Mounties have had one of the best off-seasons in the country. Until this incident, Mountaineer Nation was counting the days until basketball season in Morgantown. Now, we hold our collective breath hoping that the new players don’t jump ship. Time will tell.
It should be an interesting 6 months for Mountaineer fans…
Until the next visit from The Booth, GO EERS!