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Wesley Hitt

That's our first reaction: Bret Bielema has no shame, or isn't smart, or is not a smart person who has no shame. There is a fourth option, of course: that Bret Bielema, flustered and cornered after a brazen attempt to add a rule slowing down offensive snaps, said something dumb.

We all say dumb things, right? Particularly when you are losing an argument so badly, and have been caught so red-handed, so very defeated in our disingenuous reasoning, that we might reach for the argument of last resort, and instead pick up the name of a recently deceased Cal football player?

You might not do that. Then again, you might, because maybe you're like most people. Most people suck at making arguments, which is why the people who can make them are paid to do so even when they're total horseshit, and swatted out of a decent conversation like a dizzied horsefly fresh off a toxic shitpile.

That isn't Bret. That's not many football coaches, mind you, who are often the furthest thing from rhetoric coaches, barristers, lawyers, attorneys, semioticians, orators, or politicians. Most of them are just what you are, specialists raised to the level of generalist, barely holding on by their fingernails on the onrushing train they were just lucky enough to catch. It's not that Bret Bielema's in over his head here: most people in positions of power are this close to drowning, and just trying to keep it all above water and only half-flooded

See? Doesn't that contextualize this, and make Bret Bielema seem a bit more relatable, nay even the tiniest bit sympathetic? That you should be forgiving of trespasses, and of the momentary slips of the tongue of a meathead working with tools he rarely handles like words, rules, and arguments? That you might acknowledge how repellent one comment can be, but also consider that in the end this might be an honest mistake by someone spinning their argument too quickly, and with no control whatsoever?

And isn't that's a lot better than our first instinct, which is to think that this is Bret Bielema being a total piece of shit in service of a petty rule he's personally responsible for shoehorning into the rule book to favor his brand of football? And that he'd be all too happy to not just invoke a recent death that happened during conditioning drills, and not during a game? We don't want to think that about someone, because we'd like to assume there's no one that completely shameless in this world.

We'd hope for better, particularly about a total stranger. That can't be Bret Bielema, who we'll grant a degree of non-judgment for the moment. Because someone who did that intentionally? That person would be a complete fucking reptile.