VEN (SOUTH BEND) — VEN’s senior sports editor, Arnold Rothstein, travelled to South Bend, Indiana recently to talk football with a former Notre Dame administrator, who asked that we refer to him simply as “Father X,” although technically Father X is no longer a priest.
Whereas VEN had hoped to talk on the record with someone from the Notre Dame admnistration, that request was denied for unspecified reasons, although we believe our criticism of the Notre Dame football program and bizarre hiring practices over the years contributed to their decision.
What follows is the first part of a three part series.
Arnold Rothstein — Thank you, Father B, for agreeing to talk with us today.
Father X — My pleasure, Arnold. And please …. it’s Father X.
AR — Sorry about that. Alright, then, Father X. Let’s get right to it. The Notre Dame football program and Brian Kelly — a St Mary’s girl — Lizzy Seeberg — commits suicide after allegedly being sexually assaulted by a starting football player; a Notre Dame student — Declan Sullivan — is killed filming practice after falling from a scissors lift in gale force winds; the recent arrests of 6 players on assault, marijuana, and gun possession charges; the Manti Te’o catfishing scandal; and now — as a result of academic cheating by six players over 2 years — including the starting quarterback — the NCAA is stripping you of 21 wins in the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Not exactly where you thought you’d be seven years in with Coach Kelly.
FX — Ha, ha, ha! Well, Arnold, it’s been quite a ride, that’s for sure!
AR — And we haven’t even touched on the disappointing, mediocre play of a program that routinely recruits 4 and 5 star players and is expected to finish every season in the top 25. Or the off-putting personality of the coach. His mistreatment of his players. His terrible coaching decisions. Instead of firing him, you guys extended his contract and then after he went 4-8 last season, you made him fire all of his assistant coaches.
I mean to many looking at it from the outside, the program seems to be in shambles. Can you walk us through the hiring process and why you decided to go with a coach who — quite frankly — I wouldn’t let coach a Pop Warner team.
FX– Well, I think that’s a little harsh, Arnold. But sure, I’m happy to walk you through the hiring process. First of all, you might not realize this, but our first choice to replace Charlie Weiss was not Brian Kelly — and I’m very serious about this– our first choice was Barrack Obama.
AR — Barrack Obama?! The former President?!
FX — That’s right, Skip. First the context. After Vatican II, pretty much the only things left for the Catholic clergy — basically — were the Eucharist, the cross dressing, the rules about sex and eating, and of course the cornerstone of the post-Reformation Church (and what draws most of us to the clergy in the first place) the hallowed tradition of ecclesiastic pederasty.
Unfortunately, however, by the late 90’s that was taken away, too, and in spectacular fashion I might add. I mean — as I’m sure everyone recalls — there were lawsuits, very bad press overall, and understandably — in the aftermath of all that — morale was very very low for many of us for a very long time. I mean you can take just so many cold showers (laughs). We were basically gay Protestants who couldn’t marry, imbued with the fundraising zeal of an Orthodox Jew. It was a very confusing time.
Then in 2008, seemingly out of nowhere, along comes Barrack Obama. It was a godsend! Like many of us, he is a closeted homosexual, like many of us he cares nothing about Catholic orthodoxy, and most important — like many of us he knows nothing about football! We were ecstatic! It was like hitting the trifecta, and you know how important the three in one concept is to us ( laughs ). I mean it was too good to be true, really.
AR — So based on that, you offered him the job of head football coach?
FX — We did. When he came to speak at our Commencement Exercises in May 2009, where he basically defamed everything the Catholic Church is supposed to stand for. (laughs) And no one cared! I mean why would we care? We heard YES WE CAN and thought the guy just walked on water! Oh, my, those were indeed some very heady times!
(End of Part One)