Typically, in social situations, there is a certain code of decorum that exists that we all follow. If the food tastes awful and the proprietor asks you how it is, you tell them it’s delightful. If your haircut butchers your lettuce, you tell them they should be trimming hedges at the Jardins du Chateau de Versailles. If someone asks you if you think their teacup chihuahua is cute, you ignore that it looks like what alien rats must look like and say you can’t believe you even get to be in the same room as that mutt.
Not my late grandma. Not Dorothy Quirk. No, no, no. She developed an honesty so pure, that you could not help but respect it. If she had enough of a party and wanted to go home, she’d flat out say, “I’m ready to leave.” If the after at the sports bar would not turn on her beloved Vikings, she would ignore their polite “no’s” until she got an OK fine. It was a changing of the guard that was wildly refreshing and left no room for interpretation.
That is a perfect synopsis of my main man, one Lane Monte Kiffin. In the land of Coach Speak (“We are taking it one game at a win, trying to go 1-0 each week”), Kiffin blows the doors off of that commonplace. Monday was a perfect example of that as he lamented a horrific missed call in the Ole Miss-Auburn game last Saturday that proved to be the difference in the final score. Whereas most coaches would give vague answers at press conferences (“the referees saw it one way and I saw it another”), chop up and snort lines of Tums, send a passive-aggressive tape clip to the league office, Lane did this:
Which resulted in a $25,000 fine from the SEC. The irony of being fined for the mistake of pointing out a mistake as point out perfectly by Alabama reporter at The Athletic Aaron Suttles. That tweet, of course, was then retweeted by who else?
So what was Lane to do? In the immortal words of Michael Quirk when coaching a travel baseball team that was freshly kicked out of a tournament due to a technicality and then was promptly threatened to “watch it” by an umpire, “what’re you going to do?! Kick me out?! You already did that!” If the SEC is already fining Lane, he may as well get any and all shots in, because what’re they going to do? Fine him?
God, that is just the Mona Lisa of trolling. It’s like enjoying a fine red in Tuscany. He’s mocking the fine, mocking the referees with the “review” and “stopping to get it right,” threatening to pay in pennies, bringing Knox(ford) into it, and he f***ing tagged the SEC on it, too. I know it’s a common refrain on Twitter to say, “we don’t deserve dogs,” but I think we don’t deserve Lane.
In a world of vanilla, bland, scared coaches, Lane dares to be different. He uses social media like all of us use social media, except he has a high-profile job and he puts his name to it. We have reached a place in society where we are all told to “respect the game” and to take sports seriously. Old talking heads get mad at bat flips, end zone celebrations, subtweeted side-eye emojis, and anything that isn’t a buttoned-up, ball-back-to-the-ref, tip-your-cap reaction of yesteryear.
Meanwhile, these people seem to have lost sight on what they are talking about when they say, “respect the game.” It’s a game. Games are supposed to be fun. That’s all Lane is doing here is having fun. Why can’t he enjoy holding referees accountable for their mistakes? When there is an err in coaching, Lane is held accountable. When his quarterback throws an interception, he is held accountable. When a drunk Phi Delta throws his half-empty Cope can on the field, he is held accountable. So why not the refs?
The only suitable way for this story to end is for Kiffin to follow through on his Twitter threat and deliver 2,500,000 pennies to the SEC office. For an extra touch, he should also do it a la Jalen Ramsey, but not a Brink’s truck, instead maybe an Orkin or Cook’s or whomever is the nation’s leader in rat poison. Grandma Dorothy would be proud.