Notre Dame radio analyst Allen Pinkett was pulled off the Irish broadcast for the season opener against Navy and was put on the first plane from Dublin back to the US.
Pinkett, a former Notre Dame running back, told the “The McNeil and Spiegel Show” on Chicago’s 670 The Score that having “criminals” on a team makes for a better product, reports Yahoo! Sports: “I’ve always felt like, to have a successful team, you gotta have a few bad citizens on the team,” Pinkett told the show. “I mean, that’s how Ohio State used to win all the time. They would have two or three guys that were criminals. That just adds to the chemistry of the team. I think Notre Dame is growing because maybe they have some guys that are doing something worthy of a suspension, which creates edge on the football team. You can’t have a football team full of choir boys. You get your butt kicked if you have a team full of choir boys. You gotta have a little bit of edge, but the coach has to be the dictator and ultimate ruler.”
Pinkett tried to clarify his comments by saying that by “criminals” he meant players who had minor brushes with the law or had been suspended. He also issued a statement apologizing Wednesday evening, but the damage was already done.
No word if Pinkett will be off all Notre Dame broadcasts this season, but it’s clear Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick wasn’t happy with the message and he said so on ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago: “That sentiment not only doesn’t reflect the values of Notre Dame, it doesn’t have any place in college athletics. In my statement, I said I thought it was nonsense, and I think that’s an accurate description of it. We wouldn’t be in varsity athletics at Notre Dame if that were part of what you had to do to succeed, and we have proven time and time again we can succeed with the sort of student-athletes who fit well into the fabric of the Notre Dame community. So we’ll continue to pursue athletics that way because we know it’s the right way to do it.”
Notre Dame has had some issues with suspensions early in the season. Quarterback Tommy Rees, running back Cierre Wood, linebacker Carlo Calabrese and defensive end Justin Utupo all will miss the season opener against Navy for disciplinary reasons.