DALLAS -- No matter what you may think of Mike Leach or famous fathers or an athletic department that has employed not one but two high-profile coaches who won games, graduated players and still generated controversy, the facts in the latest circus at Texas Tech appear to be this:
Adam James, son of the ESPN employee and former Southern Methodist University star Craig James, was diagnosed with a concussion.
His coach mocked the prescribed treatment.
And in an era when professional and college athletic programs are finally being held accountable for both the short- and long-term effects of concussions, Leach's actions were telling and arrogant, leading to a well-deserved suspension.
Don't get caught up in the alleged details. The "shed" that James was confined to during practice was something between Cool Hand Luke's box and a place where the university keeps sportswriters. If it were a luxury box, it wouldn't matter.
In specifically outlining for trainers what should be done, Leach clearly showed his disdain for the diagnosis and/or James.
Coaches have no business getting involved in medical matters, particularly those involving the head. Concussions may be the most underreported of all injuries, which makes them all the more dangerous. When a coach makes a point of singling out players who seek treatment, he sends a message team-wide.
The message we're hearing now from former Tech players who have been in contact with coaches and current players is that James is "soft," a nearly slanderous accusation and one utterly beside the point.
Are some players simply not cut out for the rigors of D-I football? No question.
Do players occasionally fake injuries? Absolutely.
Are coaches frustrated by it? Without a doubt.
But this wasn't an ankle sprain or an upset stomach. This was a head injury. Two relatively mild concussions in a short span of time in young people can result in something called "second impact syndrome," which is fatal.
Mike Leach is a smart guy. Well-read. Varied interests. He should know about such things. He should also know they're not to be mocked.