Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin suffered big misstep with media

Two steps forward and one step back. At least, this is the way every day seems to me. All of us try very hard, but occasionally, we do something that is wrong or offensive.
I could not help but think of this principle several weeks ago when Vanderbilt head football coach James Franklin made some unfortunate comments about his hiring practices when it comes to selecting assistant coaches. He was talking in an informal way on a Nashville radio station when he made his comments.
As published in The Tennessean, he said:  "I've been saying it for a long time. I will not hire an assistant coach until I’ve seen his wife. If she looks the part, and she’s a D-1 recruit, then you got a chance to get hired. That’s part of the deal. There’s a very strong correlation between having the confidence, going up and talking to a woman, and being quick on your feet and having some personality and confidence and being fun and articulate, than it is walking into a high school and recruiting a kid and selling him."
So, in order to be hired by Franklin, a coach has to have a smokin’ hot wife? That is what he meant by the term "D-1 recruit." He said he was joking when he made the comments, but if he has been saying this for a long time, I have to wonder if this is not partly true. After all, many people try to use humor to put across their ideas.
After receiving a talk from his boss, Franklin apologized. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that he was sincere. However, he apologized by Twitter, which has always struck me as the last resort when it comes to giving apologies. Twitter comes across as a way for people to say they are sorry in the most benign way possible and not get their hands dirty.
Of course, my big concern with Franklin’s comments is how he emphasized the physical attractiveness of a woman when determining her quality as a wife. His comments seem to indicate that a man without an extremely attractive woman is somehow deficient in some way.
Unfortunately, his comments represent a common mistake when it comes to determining beauty. Physical looks is just one component when determining beauty. I am sure most of us have met somebody who is very physically attractive, but after getting to know them better, we learn there is absolutely nothing beautiful about them.
However, the attitude put forth by Franklin can lead us down a slippery slope. This leads to the objectifying of women and leads generation after generation of females into having to live up to this distorted stereotype of what beauty should be.
True, Franklin is just a football coach, and who cares what he thinks about beauty? Still, his comments show how this mentality manifests itself in all aspects of life. After all, this concept of beauty is repeatedly thrown in our faces.
Certainly, we see this in advertising. When we watch a car commercial, we often see a beautiful woman standing beside the vehicle being described. If a company is selling toothpaste, then undoubtedly, there will be a vivacious young woman convincing us that our lives will be a misery if we do not use the brand she uses.
I could go on and on, but I think we all get the point. We have to be very careful when determining who or what is beautiful.
Additionally, it struck me odd how quickly the Franklin controversy blew over. It seems the Nashville media often grades Vanderbilt sports on a curve so they let a lot of things go. If somebody like University of Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley had made these comments, the controversy would have been much longer lasting.


Romeo said...

Franklin is a good coach who put his foot in his mouth. Good will come out of this. He will grow.

Anonymous said...

You're right about the Nashville media. If Dooley had done this, they would still be writing about it.