FanPost

AN OPEN LETTER FROM MARK MANGINO TO THE KANSAS FOOTBALL PROGRAM

Dear Jayhawk Nation,

As I've observed the Kansas football program from afar over the last few months, I've tried to refrain from comment and allow Coach Gill to do his job. In much the same way that Jeremiah Hatch's mother does her best not to comment on her former husband, who ran off with his 25-year-old secretary and whom I'm sure loves his new wife and family a lot more than he loves them, I think it would be poor form to criticize what Coach Gill is doing with the Jayhawks now.

But his recent decision to ban cursing at all practices, which he announced at a meeting of what I'm assuming were rich boosters who were all picked last for the football team as kids and are now trying to live vicariously through KU football by donating a ton of money to the athletic department, is the height of arrogance and bad management by someone who, with all due respect to Coach Gill, had so much sunshine blown up his ass after one good season at Buffalo that he now apparently thinks he's Jack Welch. To ban cursing at football practices is an unconscionable infringement upon our players' and coaches' right to free speech -- the very same kind of repression that defensive end Maxwell Onyegbule's parents came illegally to this country to avoid.

Beyond being a violation of free speech rights, though, Coach Gill's decision is an ill-advised attempt to deny what it means to be a football player. With the exception of tight end A.J. Steward, who once confided in me that he wet the bed until he was 16 years old, we're not dealing with little boys out there, we're dealing with men -- and part of our compact with them is that we agree to treat them like men and trust them with the same leeway in expressing themselves that we would afford any adult.

While perhaps not palatable to limp-wristed pansies like athletic director Lew Perkins, whose parents really wanted a daughter, cursing is a harmless, everyday fact of life in the game of football, a way for football players to blow off steam. When, say, offensive lineman Carl Wilson misses a block in practice because he's too preoccupied with how he's going to support his two out-of-wedlock children, a little cursing is a harmless way for him to express his frustration. By the same token, it's a necessary motivating tool for the coaches: If I can't inform Tertavian Ingram that if he pulls up on one more fucking route he's going to end up back in fucking Tampa dealing crack with his deadbeat fucking cousin, then I may not be impressing upon him the true importance of what I'm trying to say.

This seemingly minor decision could have a major impact on the mentality of the Kansas football team, whose fortunes I still care very deeply about, even the obvious mamas' boys who unlatched themselves from their mothers' teats just long enough to throw a stink and force me out of my job three months ago. I urge Coach Gill to reconsider this decision, and to stop using his team as a means of getting back at his profane, verbally abusive father. Coach, you and I both know this isn't going to make him love or respect you any more; if anything, it's just going to heighten his suspicions that you're a closeted homosexual. That's not what I want for you, and it's not what I want for this football program.

God bless the Kansas Jayhawks, and best of luck to all of you in the 2010 season. You won't have a prayer of winning the Big 12 North title until you grow some goddamn balls, but maybe there's a Fort Worth Bowl invite waiting for you down the road, and my thoughts and prayers will be with you all the way.

Yours,
Mark Mangino

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