Amazon.com: "Fumble: Bear Bryant, Wally Butts and the Great College Football Scandal", by James Kirby (1986)
Friday, July 11, 2008
The Fix Is In - Kenny Stabler To Return To Bammer Sports Broadcasting - Eventually
How it must have gone down... a few weeks ago...
[The room is a 20'x45' meeting room near the top of one of Birmingham's tallest office buildings. There are two Polycom phones on the conference table so everyone in the room in can participate. Early Times, Jack Daniels, and some homemade vokda are in sun tea jars at each end of the table - they're the ones with the built-in spigots). Cigarette smoke completely fills the top five feet of the air space.]
The president of the "unuversdy of ayallerbayammer" speaks first, after coughing for a full 15 seconds.
(Dr. Witt) "Hello..." (tap tap tap) "Can everyone hear me? I - I'm ..... I just want to begin this meeting - my first with more than one speakerphone - by saying that we, we as a group, need to reach a concensus, and we need to get to that point quickly... we have to do something that is in touch with all of our feelings, and we need..."
(Paul Bryant, Jr.) "Shut the hell, up, moron....... Let's get down to it. What do you PR people in New York have? What do the focus groups say?"
(New York) "Thank you, Mr. Bryant. And thank you for the barbeque from Fat Boy's. It was... err... good. Where is Prattville, anyway? Is that in Alabama?"
(PBJ) "Look, nobody cares about that... what do the focus groups say?"
(NY) "There is a very definite trend that the average Alabamian thinks that drunk driving is bad."
(NY) "What do you mean?"
(PBJ) "Do we have to fire the son of a bitch or what?!"
(NY) "That's not clear. We think an indirect approach is called for."
(Mal Moore) "I think Coach Bryant..."
(PBJ) "Oh GOD... would all the idiots in the room please SHUT THE HELL UP? How would the West Coast writers react to this strategy?"
(NY) "Mr. Bryant, with time, the West Coast, including the sports writers out there... will accept almost anything if we can just get some time. They're used to celebrities skating when it comes to the law. That is to say... if the University's reaction isn't immediate, and the action isn't definitive, then there's not much at all you'll have to change. Mr. Stabler will, of course, have to be absent for some period of time. Here, absent means out of the media spotlight - nothing else. He can do his regular Red Elephant Club thing... the $100 handshakes, the car shopping with the recruits' parents, whatever. But his continued participation in the University's sports media program will be predicated on the success of the "publicity dead zone" approach. There just can't be any headlines. When his case is adjudicated, the lack of coverage will enable lesser-educated people, and we're thinking the Tide fans, per se, to be part of the groundswell that can lead to a very light sentence, and, of course, our operatives will do all they can to lead the populace to this conclusion via television, newspapers, and radio. We think Mr. Stabler might be able to join the football telecasts very late in the season, as a guest, of course, if we all play all our cards right. However, on the parallel track that we also discussed, if your lawyers can get him off Scot free, then you can do whatever you want."
(SaBear) "Will he have any value to my recruiting during this 'publicity dead zone'?"
(PBJ) "HEEEEEY!!!! DIDN'T THE CHECK CLEAR?! THIS IS MY &#$@%@%$#* MEETING. If I want you to speak, I'll tell you to speak. New York, what about the South?"
(NY) "What do you mean? Which demographic?"
(NY) "What? Is that a poll or something?"
(PBJ) "No, IDIOT. PAUL Finebaum. The Birmingham radio talk show host. How do we handle Finebaum?"
(NY) "Oh, him. Of course. Just keep buying commercials. What is it... Crane Works? Keep doing that. Actually... we don't have any idea what this Finebaum character is all about. Can you give him season tickets, too?"
(PBJ) "Sure. I'll give him Whitt's seats."
(Dr. Witt) "That's not fair. I -"
(PBJ) "I'll tell you what's fair, moron! Now shut the hell up or I'll let Finebaum have your house on football weekends, too."
(NY) "Look. Here it is, plain and simple. Just wait a while, then say he's taking the year off. That leaves the door open for Stabler to come back. It puts the expectation in the public's mind that he's going to be back, whatever the outcome of his court case. Whether you actually bring him back or not depends upon whether you can get him to cooperate with the 'publicity dead zone' idea or not."
(KS) "I'm cooperating this time."
(PBJ) "That's what you said the other six times, retard."
(KS) "Well, I mean it this time..."
(PBJ) "Right. Listen, Kenny, go home and rip the phones out of the wall. Don't talk to the mailman, don't even talk to the paper boy. *WE* will deal with the judge. Do you understand?! Just SHUT THE #$?~# up!!! And give me the #$%~!#$^ car keys. If you do what you're told, I might let you come back. But if you screw this up again, I'll let that little judge down there put you in the slammer for a year. Do you get my drift, cowboy?"
(KS) "Yes sir, Mr. Bryant."
(PBJ) "Anybody have anything else?"
(MM) "What about Jimmy Johns?"
(SaBear) "Yeah, what about Jimmy? Can we keep Jimmy?"
(PBJ) "No, no, no, he's history. New York, that's it from here."
(SaBear) "But I think he can change... he told me last night he's willing to change... what am I going to tell his mom?"
(PBJ) "SHUT THE HELL UP, Saban. Goodbye, New York." [disconnects the conference call]
(MM) "Can we talk about Jim-"
(PBJ) "NO!!! Mal, make yourself useful, for a change. Go get us some sandwiches. Witt, go get the car."
(MM) "Is there a Subway on this floor?"
(SaBear) "There's a 7-11 about two blocks down th...."
(PBJ) "CHRIST you guys are IDIOTS!!! Just... GO BACK to to Tuscaloosa. Just go back. And don't do anything without talking to me first. Do you understand? What's the matter SaBear, did you lock your keys in the car again?"
(SaBear) "No, sir."
(PBJ) "OK then... get the hell out of here. Kenny, where are you going?"
(KS) "I gotta have a shot of something..."
(PBJ) "What... the booze here isn't good enough?!"
(KS) "The booze is fine, there just aren't any slutty broads."
(PBJ) "Look... when you get home, call me on my cell phone. I have some recruits I want you to go see."
(KS) "Yes, sir."