Guest Column by Barry Leffler
Butch Davis should remain the Head Football Coach at Carolina.
Until it is proven Davis knew about John Blake and his egregious wrongdoings… the coach should stay right where he is leading the great young men who represent our hometown university.
I have known Butch Davis and reported on him since his days as an assistant coach in Miami during the 80’s and 90’s when I worked in local television there. I have seen firsthand how he cleaned up a scandal-plagued program, emotionally and physically scarred by cheaters and wrongdoing. Davis took control and cleaned it all up. He did it the right way… and I believe he is doing it the right way at UNC
Locally, I have also seen firsthand his commitment to our community and how he pours his heart into giving back and giving of himself to help countless charities and nonprofits many of us hold dear. The dozens of causes Davis and his family support strengthens the fabric of the community.
I also support the University and how it has handled this awful period for the school.
The decision by Chancellor Holden Thorp to not make any rash decisions about Davis and his status until all the facts have been determined is wise. Duke University is paying the price (literally, in multi-millions of dollars) for jumping to the wrong conclusion about its Lacrosse coach and players. Had Thorp been running the ship at Duke… those accused of wrongdoing would have been saved a lot of pain and suffering.
Baddour has invested an incredible amount of time in a commitment to ensuring the investigation is handled properly and without outside influence. His dedication to understanding what went wrong and fixing broken systems is admirable.
I have the upmost confidence that Thorp and Baddour will do the right thing in regard to Davis’ employment once the facts are determined once and for all.
So if the current “Notice of Allegations” are all true, does that add up to enough to warrant the dismissal of the coach? My opinion is “no”.
If the final findings determine that Davis did indeed know about what John Blake was doing and covered it up, should he be fired. My opinion is “absolutely”.
And that leads me to a question of even greater importance: Does everyone have the right to express his or her own opinion in a public forum such as this one? Do we want to live in a community where we can express ourselves openly and freely without retribution? Should those with a differing opinion have the same rights to rebut and express them?
As the co-owner of WCHL and Chapelboro.com, I feel it is imperative to provide platforms where members of our community can express themselves… even if those opinions are controversial. And just as important is providing the platforms for those with a contradictory opinion to argue, discuss and debate. My hope is that these exchanges will be civil and handled with respect. Respect not necessarily for the author but respect for the right to offer views… even if they differ widely from our own.
Earlier this week Art Chansky published an opinion column on Chapelboro.com calling for Davis to be fired before the season. Agree or not… Chansky was not spouting racism or anti-semitism or other hate-based speech. He was not attacking a private person.
I don’t agree with what Chansky wrote. I don’t think the Ohio State case is comparable.
But he is far from the first person in our community who thinks what has gone on with the UNC football program is egregious enough that the Coach and Athletic Director should lose their jobs over it.
This topic is being discussed in every sports bar in town… make that every bar and restaurant in town. Not to mention the groups by the pool, over the grill… and, of course, online. How could Chapelboro.com as a community forum not be part of this conversation? How could we here at Chapelboro and WCHL be relevant to you if we didn’t take on the tough questions? Residents were equally passionate about whether to move the library to University Mall. Chapelboro wasn’t online yet but I would hope that had it been, it would have offered a platform for all opinions.
In the last 24 hours I received some questions about why WCHL and Chapelboro would allow Chansky to express himself via our platforms.
At the end of the day, whether Chansky is biased… or bitter… or a bad person… is irrelevant.
What truly matters is that we provide the opportunity for differing viewpoints to be heard… and for rebuttal to take place.
I am now offering that rebuttal. I have told many people (including Art Chansky) how Butch Davis brought accountability and respectability to my alma mater when he coached Miami. I believe in him.
I believe also that this is a great place to live because people are passionate about their towns, their teams and, yes, their liberties.
Please continue the discussion the “Comments” section below.
We welcome your opinion on this and any other topic. To write a guest commentary… or be considered for an on-going Local Buzz column, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.