By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Lovie Smith, USC’s Steve Sarkisian, Oakland Raiders Dennis Allen, and Penn State’s Joe Paterno. What do they have in common? All were fired either over the phone or via email.
Lovie Smith was let go via an unexpected phone call. This shocked a lot of people. Not only because of the way it happened but because it happened at all.
Sarkisian didn’t answer the phone call from Athletic Director Pat Haden because he was on a plane to rehab. So he found out in an email instead.
Dennis Allen had just returned to Oakland after playing a game in London. He was a head coach while on the 11 hour flight but was fired via a phone call once he got home.
Paterno was Penn State football. While he already said he was resigning at the end of the season, the administration fired him over the phone anyway.
Now Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger was fired via Skype while in Switzerland. At least his was face to face. Granted it was over a computer screen.
This doesn’t just happen in sports. Former Yahoo CEO was sacked over the phone by the Board of Directors.
It’s not that it’s cold or impersonal, it’s that it shows a lack of respect. While each case is different and each had it’s own set of circumstances, it still comes off as cowardly. If you are the one in charge and you can’t look someone in the eye and say, ‘we’re going a different direction’ then you have no reason to be in charge.
This is sports after all. The arena of competition, alpha males and pissing contests. So the best you can offer up is a phone call? Really?